Throwback Thursdays: David Morales + The Bad Yard Club

May 29, 2014

Words by DJ Autograph

In the early 90s dancehall and hip-hop artists were collaborating on a regular basis. Lt Stitchie, Super Cat, Mad Cobra and Spragga Benz amongst others had major label record deals and tunes with major hip-hop acts at the time. I knew a lot of R&B (what Jamaican didn’t), a decent amount about hip-hop (thanks to selectors like Delano, Collin Hines and Alric & Boyd) but not a lot about house music, which was also starting to fuse with reggae and dancehall in various ways.

In 1993, house producer David Morales teamed up with esteemed Jamaican musicians Sly Dunbar & Handel Tucker to form David Morales & The Bad Yard Club. Together they released Morales’ first album The Program which featured guest appearances from Papa San amongst others. It’s also worth mentioning that Chevelle Franklyn sang background vocals on this album, and another notable name from the reggae/dancehall world, Colin ‘Bulbie’ York, was an engineer on the project.

The two singles from that album that were on heavy rotation in Jamaica and elsewhere were “Gimmie Love (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo),” a track which topped the Billboard dance charts; and “The Program,” both featuring Papa San.

I recall seeing the videos for both songs almost every week around that time during the international segment of JBC’s (the Jamaica Broadcast Comrporation for you non-yardies) music program at the time. I can remember thinking the video for “Gimmie Love” was very futuristic at the time—it was filled with special effects like Papa San being super imposed to stand in David Morales’ hand at one point—and how cool it was that David had floating squares he’d use to select different girls and things. I thought Papa San wasn’t even present for the shoot until I got to the end of the video and saw him dancing in the rain with the rest of video’s cast. Another thing about this video that made it fun to watch was the females. I was a pre-pubescent boy at the time this video came out. I’ll just leave it at that.

The video for “The Program” was very different but just as interesting to me at the time, for much the same reason. This video was shot in Park Slope, a Brooklyn neighborhood that has changed a lot since that the early ’90s. If you know the area, it’s interesting to see what it used to look like over 20 years ago as David and crew walk down the street and post up in front of surely long-gone stores and bodegas.

It occurred to me while revisiting these two videos how ironic it is that, in all my visits to New York during this period, I never visited Brooklyn, the borough I now call home. Go Figure.