Words by Jesse Serwer—
Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam” is a song with a uniquely charmed life. Not a particularly big hit in Jamaica upon its release (“One, Two,” released around the same time in 1982, was far bigger), it found its way to cult classic status in New York, where it became a Caribbean party staple and eventually caught the hip-hop world’s attention. In the early ’90s, it was sampled by Main Source for “Just Hanging Out,” Too Short for “Blowjob Betty” and remixed by DJs including Stretch Armstrong.
In 1998, its appearance in a pivotal, Jamaica-set scene of the movie Belly solidified the place of “Bam Bam,” produced by the late Winston Riley, among the most recognizable dancehall songs worldwide. However, it wasn’t until that time that Nancy, by this point an accountant living in New Jersey, learned of her song’s second life.
Now, you can also find it in a somewhat risque new commercial starring former Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. “Bam Bam” plays throughout the ad, as a gradually disrobing Kerr eventually finds her way into the shower “naked” but for a pair of Reeboks she’s forgotten she had on.
Since the commercial’s release in March, “Bam Bam” has found its way to the top of the iTunes reggae chart. Yes, that’s right. “Bam Bam” is currently No. 1, ahead of the latest hits from Chronixx and Soja, or anything by Bob Marley. Watch the commercial below, and for more insight into “Bam Bam” and its history— watch our webisode with Sister Nancy, shot at the Soho House in NYC.