Words by DJ Ayres
DJ Ayres is the founder of the The Rub and along with his co-selectors Cosmo Baker and DJ Eleven has made the Brooklyn monthly something of a nightlife institution in New York. Though he’s made his name with an anything-goes approach to club music, anybody who knows him (or his mixtapes for clothing brand 10Deep over the years) knows he is a serious scholar of reggae. When we got the opportunity to um, chop it up with Cutty Ranks (check the following post!), we knew we had to feature the legendary deejay in a Throwback Thursdays–and that Ayres would be the man to break a classic Cutty vid down to its very last compound:
Back in the early to mid-nineties, Cutty Ranks, Super Cat, Buju Banton and Beenie Man were killing it with the crossovers, charting in Jamaica and London, even having their videos played on MTV. “Limb by Limb,” “The Return” and especially “A Who Seh Me Dun” with its “six million ways to die, choose one… you wan’ test the rocket launcher?” intro were ubiquitous in the dancehalls and hip-hop parties alike. Cutty, a former butcher, was chopped up all over bootleg remixes, especially drum n’ bass. In fact, the third element of jungle is Cutty Ranks’ voice, just after the Roland TR-808 and The Winstons’ “Amen Brother.”
To be truthfully frank, “The Stopper” wasn’t on my radar until a little bit later, when someone played it at an afterparty in Toronto and a lightbulb went off for me. The “Dibby-dibby DJ” and “Cutty Rankin a boom boom boom” lines are so unforgettable, along with the rolling hand drums and awkward pause-tape style stops. Equally memorable are Cutty Ranks double-breasted suit and dancers, who obviously kept their wardrobe from the Soul II Soul video shoot the week before (or possibly stole their outfits from Freddie on A Different World). I guess it made perfect sense when dancing in an abandoned building to a beat called the Funky Punany.