Four The Hard Way – Old Skool Session

by Apr 13, 2020Report

Raggamuffin music, usually abbreviated as Ragga, is a subgenre of dancehall and reggae music that originated in Jamaica during the 1980s. One of the reasons for Ragga’s swift propagation is that it is generally easier and less expensive to produce than dancehall and reggae performed on traditional musical instruments. Actually Wayne Smith’s “Under Mi Sleng Teng” is generally recognized as the seminal Ragga song after which similar electronic riddims soon followed. Ragga is mainly used as a synonym for dancehall reggae or for describing dancehall with a deejay chatting rather than singjaying or singing on top of the riddim.


Recently Flourgon, Daddy Lizard, Courtney Melody & Johnny P, four artists who came to prominence during the second half of the ’80s, performed on an old skool dancehall set with BBC1Xtra DJ Seani B at Big Yard Studios in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jamaican dancehall artist Michael May got his nickname Flourgon, which became his stage name, due to his love of dumplings. After being tutored by Charlie Chaplin, he gained experience deejaying on various Kingston sound systems. He then started his own — Sweet Love, which featured Buju Banton early in his career. Flourgon often performed with his brother, the deejay Red Dragon, and with his close friends Daddy Lizard (also his brother-in-law) and singer Sanchez. He released several Jamaican hit singles in the late 1980s and 1990s, recording for producers such as Winston Riley, Steely & Clevie, and Philip “Fatis” Burrell, both solo efforts and in combination with other deejays and singers such as Red Dragon, Freddie McGregor (“Bless My Soul”), Sanchez (“Madly In Love”), Ninjaman (“Zip It Up”), and Thriller U (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”). Flourgon made international headlines in 2018 when he sued pop superstar Miley Cyrus for using the hook of his song “We Run Things” without permission.

Junior Lee Bryan, better known as Daddy Lizard, is among a group of entertainers, including Flourgon, Sanchez and Red Dragon, who attracted esteem to the community through his achievements in dancehall music during the 1980s. He worked with producers like Winston Riley and Donovan Germain to release classics like “A Fi Fly Out” and “Boonoonus”. His 1987 collaboration “Jump Spread Out” featuring Flourgon, should not be excluded, as this Bobby Digital production is still a popular one in the dancehall.

Dancehall singer Courtney Melody began singing while still in high school in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He woodshedded at Black Spider Records before hooking up with Stereo One Sound System, where he worked with Ricky Stereo, Boy Blue, Daddy Freddy, and had his first record, “Screechy Across the Border,” released. It was played by reggae DJs worldwide and covered in the USA by Little Kirk. A stint with Technique Records produced the local hits “How Long Will Your Love Last,” “Key to Your Heart,” and “Exploiter.” Melody had one international charter, “Bad Boy,” in 1986, which started a run of dancehall hits (including “Turn Them Back”) and furthered Courtney Melody’s reputation as an influential figure in the dancehall scene.

In the 1980s, John Morgan aka Johnny P came to prominence as the number one deejay with Winston Riley’s Techniques sound system. He recorded “She Young And She Green” in collaboration with singer Thriller U for Winston Riley, which the duo then followed with “Stick By Me” for King Jammy. However the song that made him a star was the cautionary “No Free Ride”, recorded with Steely & Clevie as producers in their own right. At the time collaborations of singers and deejays were very popular and Johnny P was involved in many of them. Although known for his combination tunes with artists such as Scotty, Cocoa Tea, Foxy Brown, Johnny Obourne, and Michael Palmer, Johnny P also had a series of solo hits that included ‘Mind You Get A Lick”, “Yu Breath A Badda Me”, “Every Posse Follow Me”, “Expensive And Dear”, “Wet Liner”, “I Love The Father”, “Face Out, Dollars Out”, “Man Idiot”, “One Ton Of Fluff” and “Natty Dread Checking”.