The UK maintains a long-running and close relationship with Jamaican music. Numerous songs from the island of Ja hit the charts and the airwaves throughout the 60s and early 70s, and those songs impacted the next wave of UK musicians, especially the 2 Tone roster and The Clash (and, by extension, Elvis Costello, who wrote his first hit, the reggae-tastic “Watching The Detectives,” after listening to The Clash’s debut album for 12 hours straight). Everybody grew up with the music.
It’s a different story in the US, where most people would find it difficult to name a second reggae artist after Bob Marley (go ahead, I’ll wait … not really, I know many of you music geeks can do it). Still, every few years a track catches fire and rises to the top of our charts and hearts. More often than not, it’s the last we’ll ever hear from that artist, but that one-hit wonder will appear on summer soundtracks until the end of time. Which brings us to Ini.
Ini Kamoze worked with some of the most popular Jamaican artists of the 80s, but by the end of the decade had virtually dropped out of sight. In an attempt to regain commercial success and break out worldwide, Kamoze began working on a sample-heavy track which prominently featured a hook from the 1965 hit “Land Of 1000 Dances” by Cannibal & The Headhunters. Wise choice.
When released in 1994, “Here Comes The Hotstepper” would hit #1 in the US and give Kamoze his lifelong nickname, The Hotstepper (a.k.a. one on the run from the law). The song guaranteed him success in the reggae world, but he never hit the pop charts again.
Let the riddim kick. Hit it!