“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
Shabba Ranks’ “Mr. Loverman” is, most simply put, a sex song. And the cleverness of this piece is that whereas it’s oozing with implicit raunchiness, the lyrics themselves are SFW, especially by today’s standards.
For instance, “sex” is only mentioned once, as part of a longer term that reads “sex-perienced’ which, to note, is not an actual word. And beyond that there isn’t really any explicit lingo featured on this piece at all, with Shabba rather relying on adult-oriented metaphors and innuendos.
For instance, when he is referred to as a “champion lover”, that designation of course is not speaking to his romantic proficiency but instead sexual effectiveness.
And yes, there’s even a narrative featured herein, which could be easily lost to most listeners, as it is overshadowed by the catchy hook and Ranks’ thick patois. And that is some lady coming all the way from England, presumably to Jamaica, in search of a man who can satisfy her needs, if you know what Shabba means.
So the vocalist proceeds to advertise himself, being “Mr. Loverman” and all, as someone who will undoubtedly get the job done.
When was “Mr. Loverman” released?
The origins of this song actually date back to a dancehall track via a female vocalist, that being 1988’s “Champion Lover” by Deborahe Glasgow (1965-1994).
Shortly thereafter, Glasgow and Shabba Ranks collaborated on a remix of said tune which that time around was titled “Mr. Loverman (Champion Lover Remix)”. And it is that piece which eventually led to 1991’s “Mr. Loverman”, a track released through Epic Records, which stands as Shabba Ranks’ signature hit.
Shabba Ranks can be considered the primary pioneer artist who helped popularize Jamaican dancehall music in the United States (and perhaps West overall). For instance, he won two consecutive Best Reggae Album Grammy Awards, in 1992 and 1993, respectively for these albums:
- “As Raw As Ever”
- “X-tra Naked”
To put those achievements in context, all of the artists who took home that same award in previous years are more along the lines of traditional reggae acts, such as Ziggy Marley and the late Peter Tosh.
“Mr. Loverman” was not featured on either of the two aforementioned albums. It rather appears on another LP Shabba Ranks put out in 1992 called “Rough & Ready Volume 1”. That same year, it also made an appearance on the soundtrack to Deep Cover, which is a Laurence Fishburne action film.
More Facts about “Mr. Loverman”
This song overly impressed on the Billboard Hot 100. Here, it was a top-40 hit. Furthermore, it peaked at number 2 on the US Dance Singles Sales chart, as well as on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs listing.
Additionally, upon its 1993 re-release, it respectively reached third and fifth place on the UK Singles Chart and UK Dance Chart.
In all, “Mr. Loverman” was more successful in the continent of Europe than in any other continent. Some European countries where this song met with huge success include these:
This track’s music video was actually directed by Fab Five Freddy, a long-standing recognizable member of the hip-hop community.
In “Mr. Loverman”, the iconic “champion lover” hook is held by another female reggae artist beside Deborahe Glasgow, that being Chevelle Franklyn. The collaboration remains Chevelle and Shabba’s t only collaboration to date.
To note, the vocalist screaming “Shabba” on the track is actually Maxi Priest. The said Maxi Priest vocals were sampled from a song he and Ranks dropped called “Housecall (Your Body Can’t Lie to Me)” (1991).
The credited writers of this piece, besides for Shabba Ranks, are Mikey Bennett and Hopeton Lindo.
Bennett also contributed to the production of “Mr. Loverman”, in that regard working alongside Clifton Dillon.
It has also been noted that David Morales, a musician from NYC, contributed heavily to the success of this tune. This is because he is the one who remixed it and made it more palatable to Western audiences.