Throwback Thursdays: Dre Skull on Shelly Thunder’s “Break Up”

May 19, 2011

Words by Dre Skull


This week we’re passing the Throwback Thursdays baton to the first of many guest video selectors we’ll be tapping for expert recommendations in this space: Dre Skull. The owner of eclectic Brooklyn-based label Mixpak Records and a multi-faceted producer who’s worked with Sizzla, Natalie Storm and rapper Lil Scrappy, among others, his latest release is the new Vybz Kartel single “Go Go Wine.” He’s the sole producer behind the upcoming Kartel album Kingston Story, due out in June.

Shelly Thunder is a Jamaican-born deejay who rose to prominence in the 1980s after moving to New York City. You can definitely hear the Jamaica/New York connection in her first single “Shock Mi A Shock” which reached number one on the US Reggae charts soon after its debut in 1985. I first came across Shelly Thunder on a cassette dancehall compilation a friend gave to me which included her smash hit “Kuff.” Hooked, I searched out her full length album Fresh Out The Pack and dug a little deeper. While “Kuff” remains a favorite, the only music video Shelly ever filmed was for the single “Break Up” off of Fresh Out The Pack. Like “Kuff,” “Break Up” has Shelly commanding respect and serves as an anthem for women not taking any bad behavior from their men. I think her strong, positive vibe on these two tracks represents a big part of her attraction as an artist. Pro tip: the last scene in the video features a cameo appearance by Doug E. Fresh playing Shelly Thunder’s new love interest.

A few years after Fresh Out The Pack (which also featured the KRS-One produced “No Future In Frontin”) was released, Shelly Thunder found religion and changed directions in her life. However, she continues to make and play music. Her most prominent credit since her conversion was appearing on Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill album on the track “Forgive Them Father.”