Toppa Top 10: Reggae/Dancehall’s Greatest Lady Deejays

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9. Shelly Thunder
shelly-thunder-deejay

Shelly Thunder is probably most known for her massive ‘80s dancehall hit “Kuff” that lyrically struck back at the male-dominated dancehall scene, encouraging women to smack a man who steps out of line. Born in Jamaica, Thunder spent her formative years in Brooklyn, cutting her teeth as a deejay on the borough’s burgeoning sound system scene. She recorded her first hit “Shock Mi a Shock” over the Sleng Teng riddim with producer and fellow Jamaican expat Whitfield Henry for his NYC-based Witty label. She would score other hits with Henry including the seminal “Kuff” before signing to Chris Blackwell’s Island Records where she dropped the successful crossover dancehall LP Fresh Out the Pack. Since then, Thunder has changed up her vibe but remains active musically as a gospel reggae singer and minister. —Saxon Baird