Ranking Joe interview with DJ Carlos Culture

Foundation Roots Reggae Artist coming from Sound System Culture - Dub Chronicles Part 4

May 6, 2020

Ranking Joe - Studio One

Reasoning with the legend Ranking Joe I found out how he started DJing over music. It was using a telephone unplugged from the reciever and plugged into his dad's sound system and there his voice would come out over the speakers. When his dad was away he would play his dad's instrumentals and "toast" over the beats. He went on to Stur  Gav Sound System, Emperor Faith Sound System, Time1 and Ray Symbolic Hi-Fi with Jah Screw and others along the way for the long time DJ still relevant and working out with veteran and a new wave of dub producers. He has students include Burru Banton, Charlie Chaplin and Daddy Freddy. We talked about all that and more. Joe has like 5 singles one of the newer ones is "Push The Machine" with Joe Ariwa and his very latest "Police" with Iron Dubs. Check it out the visuals. 

Reggae DJ Ranking Joe was born Joseph Jackson in Kingston on June 1, 1959. Launching his recording career right around the time that the reggae/dub movement began sweeping the world during the mid-'70s, renowned producer Coxsone Dodd took Joe under his wing as he landed a DJ spot with a soundsystem called El Paso Hi-Fi. With Dodd overseeing Joe's early sessions, a debut single was issued in 1975 (under the name of Little Joe), "Gun Court." From there, Joe branched out and worked with a variety of other reggae producers (including Bunny Lee, Watty Burnett, and Derrick Howard), which resulted in forming a new soundsystem which included U-Roy, and a name change to Ranking Joe. It was also during this time that Joe developed his trademark: a vocal style that showcased his talent for reeling off speedy tongue twisters. Beginning in the late '70s, Joe recorded hits for other artists (including Sonia Pottinger's "Shine Eye Gal"), in addition to issuing his own albums (Weakheart Fade Away, Dub It in a Dance, Saturday Night Jamdown Syle, Round the World).

The dawn of the '80s saw Joe join in with one of the era's most acclaimed soundsystems, Ray Symbolic Hi-Fi (with Jah Screw), whose popularity spread far outside of Jamaica, resulting in a sold-out tour of the U.K. in 1980. Despite showing great promise, the soundsystem broke up a year later, which resulted in both Joe and DJ Screw teaming up and working as a production team for other artists (including being one of the last producers to work at King Tubby's infamous old studio, Dangerous Dub). After relocating to New York City (the Bronx, to be exact), Joe continued to produce recordings for other reggae artists, including Frankie Paul, Black Uhuru, Dennis Brown, Glen Washington, Glen Brown, The Meditations, King Tubby, Shinehead, and Papa San. The late '90s/early 2000s saw Ranking Joe resume his own recording career once more, issuing such further solo releases as Fast Forward to Africa, Ghetto People, and 3 the Roots Way. Ranking Joe's influence can be detected in such modern-day reggae artists as Beenie Man, Pan Head, and the aforementioned Papa San, among others.