Super Cat - Si Boops Deh

Techniques, 1985

  1. Boops

  2. Experience Lover

  3. Learn Fi Ride

  4. Jah Bible

  5. History

  6. Big And Ready

  7. Cry Fi Di Youth

  8. Tell Me What You Fighting For

  9. Trash And Ready

Truly blessed we are to have not one but two Boops albums from the Wild Apache Super Cat. This being the first of the two, packing the original Boops tune itself, one of the most lyrically copied tunes in Jamaican music history. The lovely fella at Reggae Dancehall Vault decided that it was the number one most copied tune of the 80's, and when it comes to the point that Lovindeer has an entire album dedicated to boopsie lyrics, it becomes hard to doubt. Though "connection" and "keeping a dance" certainly come close. The tune is, of course, brilliant, not the best showcase of Super Cat's lyricism or style, but it satisfies the dancehall formula: great riddim, great riddim riding, and a fresh and interesting topic. For those who don't yet know, the boops is the sugar daddy, and the tune idolizes the "single sugar daddy to multiple sugar babies" relationship, all very noticeably in third person, as the Cat was a much humbler deejay in his early career.

Super Cat's style is super legato, super monotone, and super smooth, and you can definitely hear the shift towards monotone deejaying in many but not all of these tunes. Sometimes he sounds mellow and closer to Early B's style, other times as militant as Tonto Irie. Learn Fi Ride, History, and Cry Fi Di Youth are almost entirely done on a single note, juxtaposed against some very forward-thinking and bubbly Jammy's riddims. The version of Answer on History is the highlight, extra dubby with hints of clave creeping in and very few skanks. Echoes of the future can also be clearly heard on Big And Ready with its dompy digital drum and bass, as well as Cry Fi Di Youth which is a very sparse mix which almost favors the early 90s style.

As with all top shelf deejay albums, the real appeal of this set is in the lyrics. If your only exposure to Super Cat is Don Dada, you may not have expected this, but it is true. At this time in history Super Cat was a culture deejay, with nuff Bible lyrics and nuff respect for his brethren entertainers. Named names include his Stereo Mars brethren Nicodemus and Burro Banton, as well as other stars from the time - Early B, General Trees, Sassafrass, Josey Wales and Brigadier Jerry. Titles alone reveal the tone of this album and there is so much lyrical content to dig into once you put them on. History is truly brilliant, one of the best reggae tunes of all time. At the beginning it may come across as a carbon copy of Brigadier Jerry's hit Jamaica Jamaica, but very quickly Super Cat begins to recount Jamaican history, beginning from Christopher Columbus's heritage and then right through to Barry G. In the midst of all this is an excellent reserve of bims, which Super Cat flings out with such consistency that you may believe it to be a pre-recorded soundbite hooked up to a big red button he has next to him in the recording booth.

Si Boops Deh is an excellent showcase of everything great about dancehall, especially in 1985, with the style straddling the former and latter halves of the decade instead of doing its own thing with traditional production as the likes of General Trees' "Heart, Mind & Soul" or Early B's "Wheely Wheely". Here we have not only the Sleng Teng riddim amongst fresh human riddims but also a good assortment of other fresh digital sounds, not least of which is of course the titular Boops. It also ought to be mentioned that Trash And Ready, while a little on-the-nose, is a certified Sleng Teng banger.

My picks: Boops, Learn Fi Ride, History, Cry Fi Di Youth

Bim count: 27

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