(Def Jam, 1995)

Throughout the early to mid-90s, the marriage of hip hop, reggae and dancehall was an impressive one. It gave fans of all three genres so much classic music that is still played out to great response to this day. But on the other side of the spectrum there was a fair bit of novelty, with fake Jamaican patios going on a lot of records in those times. This certainly wasn’t one of those records though.

‘Kill Dem All’ from Kali Ranks (born Dean.R Moulton in Jamaica and raised in Brooklyn, New York) was the B-Side to Onyx’s Live!!!’ 12”. It was lifted from the documentary film The Show and is a very fine example of how Jamaican artists sound right at home over thumping hip hop tracks.

Kali Ranks released his first record in 1992, ‘Name Brand’ under the name Sasston Productions. He has made music with Lauryn Hill, Black Rob, Ruff and a few other artists over the years, but nothing has come close to this tune.

The title refers to Kali killing them all lyrically, and he certainly does that. He has a slightly gruff delivery but is right at home on the beat provided by Aaron Pomeroy and Andrew Massop with additional vocals from Element 9.

It was a unique tune as it didn’t really follow the typical style of toasting over classic hip hop break-beats and instrumentals. Instead listeners are blessed with a dope guitar sample, deep bass tones, thick drums and a pure East Coast hip hop aesthetic.

It was often a favourite in the clubs and on The Wednesday Nite Jam radio show in Wellington in the mid-90s. The track also appeared on many mix-tapes worldwide.

Kali Ranks is still recording music and a new single with Onyx is to be released in 2018.

More info:
Onyx – Live!!! and Kali Ranks – Kill Dem All on Discogs

DJ Jazzywhut


Check DJ Jazzywhut in session at JMS Promotions and ONEROOF – A Winter Hip Hop Showcase, Friday 17 August @ Meow, Wellington