Cecil Campbell (born October 9, 1957), better known by his stage name Ini Kamoze (pronounced /ˈaɪni kəˈmoʊzi/) is a Jamaican reggae singer. He is best known for his signature song, “Here Comes the Hotstepper”, which was released in 1994, and subsequently topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also reached number one in Australia and New Zealand, and number four in the UK Singles Chart.
He made his first single, “World Affairs,” in 1981. Ini Kamoze released a 12-inch single called “Trouble You Trouble Me”. His self-titled debut album was released in 1984 as a six track mini-LP on Island Records. In the album notes he describes himself as a “pencil thin… disentangled… six-foot vegetarian”. The album includes the song “World a Music” which was to be sampled by Damian Marley on his 2005 hit, “Welcome to Jamrock”. The album was recorded with and produced by Sly and Robbie, with whom he also toured internationally along with Yellowman and Half Pint. By 1988, however, Kamoze had effectively disappeared from the music scene following lukewarm reactions to his intermittent releases.
Ini Kamoze then founded his own label, putting out a compilation album called Selekta Showcase, which featured a popular Kamoze single titled “Stress”. Four years later he released his next album, 16 Vibes of Ini Kamoze, which sold well.
In 1994, Ini Kamoze released the song which would become his signature, “Here Comes the Hotstepper”. Adopting another nickname from the song title, Kamoze would become known as the “Hotstepper”, from the patois for a man on the run from the law. Recorded with Philip “Fatis” Burrell, and was featured initially on a compilation of reggae music called Stir It Up, produced on the Epic label. It was not an entirely new composition, having its roots in the song “Land of 1000 Dances”, which was first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962 and reprised in 1963 by Fats Domino. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the fashion-industry satire film, Prêt-à-Porter. “Here Comes the Hotstepper” remains Kamoze’s only U.S. number one hit (see Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1994).
Ini Kamoze’s career after this high-water mark featured the album Here Comes the Hotstepper which was released in 1995, and featured the production work of Salaam Remi. Both the riddim (known as “World Jam”) and the hook of Damian Marley’s 2005 hit, “Welcome to Jamrock” were sampled from Kamoze’s 1984 track “World-A-Music”, giving Kamoze co-writing credits. His dub version of “Here Comes the Hotstepper”, otherwise known as “I’m Steppin’ it Hotter This Year”, released in 1993, remains a dancehall anthem.
In 2006, Ini Kamoze recorded and released a double album, Debut. On which he re-recorded a number of his tracks, and it was released on the 9 Sound Clik label, with which he was closely associated. The artist’s most recent album release is 2009’s 51 50 Rule, an all-new studio release. The CD had tracks such as “Rapunzel” (feat. Maya Azucena) and “Hungry Daze.” The album also had some guest features from Sizzla (“R.A.W”), and Busy Signal (“Ta Da Bang”). This was his second album released on the 9 Sound Clik label.