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Shabba Ranks: Pirates' Anthem

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From Holding On

'Tis no surprise that the preeminent name on the dancehall reggae stage would be so plugged in to the liveliest pirate scene in the world.

Shabba Ranks made a name for himself not just because of his talent - he also spoke of the streets through his music, often in ways much more extreme than anyone's ever dared.

Such a combination's served to give Shabba two Grammys for his work so far, which was incredibly prolific during the late 1980s and early '90s. "Pirates Anthem" was released in 1991, the year before Ranks won his first Grammy.

The song is in support of the British pirate scene - the first to congeal  in the 1960s as shortwave and offshore stations, UK pirates have always been about providing musical alternatives.

The entire scene itself was borne out of the complete government dominance of British radio - and if it weren't for the pirates, the British government may never would have opened up the radio to private licensees.

It was UK pirates who gave Europe its taste of rock music. They've always been on the cutting edge. The scene flourishes to this day, on FM and as a major force in the ever-growing realm of electronic music.

Shabba Ranks, being one of the preeminent DJs truly from the streets, knows this is true. That's why it's a fitting tribute.