SISTER NANCY: M.C. BE HER AMBITION

Sister nancy
Sister Nancy: Bam Bam
Roof Over Me Head
Only Woman D.J. With Degree
From One Two (Techniques, 1982)

There’s a new record store in my neighborhood, Strictly Grooves, and I couldn’t be more excited since it’s the kind of used store that’s right up my alley: strong soul, Latin, jazz, etc. representation. I’ve been picking up a slew of stuff there on just my first two trips, including this Sister Nancy LP. This is the origin of “Bam Bam,” by far, her best known song/single and arguably one of the few dancehall songs that hip-hop fans will know, if any. I wanted to know a little more about how this song got so big and when I posed it to the Soulstrut cloud, I got this back from AKallDay:

“i was a teenaged intern at Profile records in 1994 and we had a dancehall division and Bam Bam was on several of the compilations which were heavily pushed at the time, alongside cutty ranks, super cat, shabba ranks etc.”

So clearly on a wider radar back in the early 1990s and once folks began sampling it, that only served to increase its radar (but arguably, it was already “out there” even before that).

The album features a rather lengthy bio on the back, noting that she was one of fifteen children, including her older brother, DJ Brigadeer [sic] Jerry who she credits as being the inspiration for her own entry into the scene. I was also struck about how the bio highlights her education in Industrial Training: “if she has the opportunity to go to America or England, she will finisher her automobile mechanic training.”1 Perhaps that why the album also includes the highly specific boast: “Only Woman D.J. With Degree.” Big bout yah, Sister.

I also included “Roof Over Me Head” because it’s done over one of my favorite riddims: “Gonna Fight” by the Heptones.2

  1. One of the hits off this LP was, of course, “Transport Connection“.
  2. And “Bam Bam” was over Winston Riley’s “Stalag” riddim; he produces Sister Nancy’s LP.

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