Words by DJ Autograph—
During the 90s Dave Kelly’s Madhouse records and its sub labels dominated the dancehall scene with hit riddims such as Showtime, Bruckout and Stink. Cham, then going by Baby Cham, rose through the ranks of the dancehall as a Madhouse artist voicing some classic material on Kelly’s riddims.
In the late 90s, Kelly began experimenting with hip-hop infused dancehall, resulting in riddims like the Bug and the Clone. On Cham’s debut album from 2000, WOW The Story, he took his experimenting one step further. The two-disk offering was divided into two distinct halves, one danchall and the other Dave’s hip-hop laced production. The experimental disk spawned a couple minor hits, notably “Heading To The Top.”
Meanwhile, on her third album, 2001’s Broken Silence, Foxy Brown showcased more of her own writing skills and infused dancehall and Caribbean flavor into her sound (she is of Trinidadian decent for those that didn’t know). Two of those dancehall-infused tracks, “Oh Yeah” featuring Spragga Benz and the Dave Kelly-produced “Tables Will Turn” featuring Cham became major tunes in the club.
“Tables Will Turn” gave Cham, then relatively unknown in the US, a crossover hit years before he had a US chart-worthy single with “Ghetto Story.” The video for the song starts with a spinning, animated replica of the actual 12 inch pressing of the single on a turntable, which segues into the appearance of Foxy’s then boyfriend Spragga Benz, who introduces the video. Other cameo appearances come from Sandra “Pepa” Denton of Salt n Pepa and Mr Wacky himself, Gerald “Bogle” Levy. Cham, meanwhile, showcases his dancing talents throughout the video.
This year has seen the resurgence of Cham, with tunes such as “Wine,” for Cashflow Productions, and the Coppershot Productions-crafted “Drop it (Like You Doing It).” One can only wonder what he and Dave Kelly have in store for us this year. Whatever it is, you can bet on the material adding to the classic Madhouse catalog.