Ranking Joe Biography

Ranking Joe

Ranking Joe Biography:

Ranking Joe was born Joseph Jackson on July 1, 1959, in Kingston, Jamaica. He grew up surrounded by the island’s unique beats and rich musical culture. The sounds of ska, rocksteady, and early reggae music inspired him from a young age, laying the foundation for his career.

He attended secondary school with the likes of Winston McAnuff, Earl Sixteen, and U Brown, and they all would perform at concerts, but it was his father, who operated a sound system, that initially inspired him to pursue a career in music.

His breakthrough started in the early 1970s, which was a golden era for Jamaican music. First by making his mark as a DJ, he perfected his craft by toasting over beats from some of Jamaica’s top producers and sound systems. The distinctive style he had, characterised by a rapid-fire delivery and very witty wordplay, quickly gained attention, which in turn earned him the name “Ranking Joe.”

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, he had established himself as a leading figure on the dancehall scene. Collaborating with producers like Bunny Lee, Joe Gibbs, and Coxsone Dodd, he unleashed a steady flow of hit singles that showed his lyrical skill and, when performing, his dynamic stage presence.

U-Roy and…
The traditions of Jamaican sound system culture influenced Ranking Joe’s music. He drew inspiration from pioneering DJs and toasters, mainly U-Roy, whom he looked up to as a mentor, but also the likes of Dennis Alcapone and Big Youth, who revolutionised the genre with their innovative techniques and socially conscious lyrics. His own style included a combination of humour, social commentary, and cultural pride, all reflecting the diverse influences that shaped his musical identity.

Still today, his lyrics address issues facing Jamaican society and society in general, including poverty, inequality, and political corruption. His music, which serves as a platform for amplifying marginalised voices and calling for social change, is a testament to the power of reggae as a vehicle for change through activism and empowerment.

Hit Songs
Ranking Joe’s discography has a range of hit songs that have left a unique mark on reggae. Some of his most iconic tunes include “Weakheart Fadeaway,” taken from the album of the same name and released via Greensleeves Records. This tune became an anthem and showcased his lyrical skill. Released in 1978, this song remains a timeless classic today and a firm favourite for reggae playlists worldwide.

The “Weakheart Fade Away” album also featured “Natty the Collie Smoker,” which is a vibrant celebration of Rastafarian culture and the religious use of cannabis. With its infectious beat and catchy chorus, this track became a chart-topper and helped further his reputation as a master of the genre.

“Youth Man Promotion,” released on Sugar Minotts Youthman label in 1979, served as a plea for social justice and empowerment, highlighting the struggles faced by Jamaica’s youth. This song really struck a chord with listeners and became a rallying cry for change.

In 2013, Ranking Joe Records released “Love Jah,” a spiritually uplifting track that underscores the significance of faith, love, and unity when overcoming challenges in life. His vocals and lyrics touched audiences, inspiring hope and resilience.

The album “Stand To Order” first featured “Bad Boy Stepping” in 2016, and both a limited-press vinyl and a digital release of the album and single followed. Fusing an up-to-date reggae influenced dubstep beat with Ranking Joe’s lyrical content and delivery, it showcased Ranking Joe’s incredible skill as an artist, giving a message to the people about putting down the gun and that a gangster’s life is not the way forward. DJ Pauze’s radio show, The Unique Reggae Mix, often spins both the vocal and dub versions, which have become firm favourites on Pauzeradio.

These songs represent just a small part of Joe’s huge catalogue, all of which continue to pull audiences and influence generations of reggae artists today.

Ranking Joe remains an active force in the world of reggae, continuing to perform and record new material. His passion and commitment for music are obvious. Whether on the stage during live performances or collaborating with other artists in the studio, he continues to uphold reggae’s tradition while pushing its boundaries.

His journey from early life in Kingston to international fame is a testament to the power of reggae as a force for unity, liberation, and social justice. His spirit and creative genius continue to vibrate with audiences worldwide, ensuring that his legacy will endure for many generations to come.

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Ranking Joe Biography written by Gav Pauze / Pauzeradio PR Services.

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