Monday, 6 December 2010

Ricky Ranking and The Rebel "I" - A Banana Klan Community Story

Rebel "I" and Ricky Ranking Brixton 2008

So it started in Amsterdam (where else lol) I was there DJing at a club on a Friday night back in 2001. When I finished I saw a text from my good friend DJ MK saying that he's touchin down in 'Dam in the morning to DJ for Roots Manuva at a gig at The Melkweg that night. Do I wanna roll with them? he asked so I said yeah, I'm up for that bell me when you land. The next morning I got up early, changed my flight round and headed out for breakfast waiting for his call.

Ricky Ranking, DJ MK, Roots Manuva and Rebel I
Slime And Reason Tour 2008

I'd been waiting outside the famous Barneys Breakfast Bar for ages, my breakfast eaten, my coffee was cold and my spliff was now a dead roach in the ashtray. I was pissed off at waiting even though it was a sunny morning and I was feeling pretty lean off the White Widow I'd been smoking.
Finally MK called me and told me what hotel they were at and said he'll meet me in the lobby. The phone was down before I got a chance to cuss him. I knew the hotel where they were staying and I made my way down there. As I walked towards the entrance I saw him walking out the lobby like he was on a mission. "We've lost Ricky, We Can't Find Ricky" MK said. "Who's Ricky?" I replied.
"Ricky Ranking!" MK said amazed I didnt know who he was talkin bout
"Ricky Ranking?... What Ricky Ranking from Nasty Rockers?" I replied stoned and confused
"Yeah, he's known Rodney for years" he said "Thought I told you that?"
"Oh,didn't know that... Let's go find him then"

Ricky Ranking, Banana Klan Godfather

Ricky Ranking is a legend, make no mistake about that. He started in the sound system business in the late 70's on the Small Axe 2 sound. He earned his stripes performing at various dances for sounds like King Tubby's. But it was when he joined Brixton sound Nasty Rockers that he established himself as a star MC in the UK London dancehall scene. Soon he found himself in the recording booth and "Rocking The Dance" became a massive dancehall hit followed by "I Can't Get Enough Love" which hit number 2 in the reggae charts and stayed there for 6 weeks.
More hits followed and tours with the late great Sugar Minott's Youthman Promotion and shows with Pablo Gad, Twinkle Bros,and not forgetting legendary dancehall nights with Brigidier Jerry and Josey Wales and the famous jams with Supercat at Balham 200 and Nitty Gritty at Jubilee Hall and countless classic performances at dances for Nasty Rockers and Taurus Hi-Fi and Coxone Sound cemented his position as a microphone Don Dada.

Ricky Ranking with dancehall award in 1980's

Ricky Ranking performing on Coxone Sound Clapham 1986

Fast Foward a few years from the Amsterdam trip and I'd seen Ricky along with the whole Roots Manuva/Banana Klan family at various shows and tours over that time. Since I was down with the Klan Lords and knew them from the 90's Hip Hop scene I soon became a member of the Banana Klan and Roots then asked me to DJ for Ricky.
So when we would meet up we'd get into a reasoning and he'd school me on the history, the dancehall clashes, the road stories from legends he'd rolled with and I learned so much all the shit I didn't know that put the Sound System puzzle together. I had all the Riddims and Versions and knew how to drop them but Ricky fine tuned me into getting the sequence of selection at a dance to perfection.
We'd also talk about getting together to make music and record some sessions but with so many commitments on both sides we've only managed to get a couple sessions recorded. The legendary Banana Klan Community Session 2008 Part's One and Two are posted links to follow. As for me and Ricky...well the story is to be continued. Peace.

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