Words by Jesse Serwer—
Jamaican pop upstart Samantha J is 16 years old, which means she was born just around the moment Red Rat dropped “Tight Up Skirt,” the 1997 dancehall classic sampled and referenced in her debut single, also called “Tight Up Skirt.” The track, released by producers Washroom Entertainment this summer, has drawn enough hype for the previously unknown songstress that she debuted the video for the track yesterday via MTV Buzzworthy, an online channel that hasn’t “buzzed” much about Jamaican music in the past.
Already people are comparing the track to Rihanna’s career-launching “Pon Di Replay,” and both tracks have clear similarities in their (successful) distillation of bashment vibes for the pop market. Besides for the Red Rat sample, the tune’s refrain connects with dancehall through phrasing that evokes the classic Tempo riddim (originally produced by King Tubby), but it’s true market is tweens in Beats by Dre headphones, and Top 40 dancefloors. The video—a colorful, Jamaican spin on Britney Spears’ career launching “Baby One More Time”—also bigs up Red Rat (Samantha is listening to the original “Tight Up Skirt” on her headphones, and has a picture of him in her notebook) and dancehall as a whole, via vintage dance moves like the Bogle.
We think “Tight Up Skirt’ is a great look for dancehall, and Jamaican music culture in general. And, also for the rarely-seen Red Rat, whose calls for bookings and Spotify spins surely just went up 1,000%.
Watch the video below, stream the tune here, and tell us if you agree.