Saturday, March 10, 2018

Jamaican Dancehall's Bam Bam Riddim (information, examples, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Jamaican Dancehall's "Bam Bam" Riddim (also known as "Murder She Wrote" riddim.

This post also includes information about the meaning of the Jamaican Patois term "riddim" as well as information about Toots & The Maytals', Sister Nancy's, & Pliers' versions of this riddim.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all of the singers and musicians who are featured in this posts for their musical legacy. Thanks also to all of those who are quoted this post and thanks to the publishers of these YouTube examples.
Click for a 2012 pancocojams post entitled "Dancehall Reggae Murder She Wrote (Song & Riddim Mix). That post showcases a "Murder She Wrote Riddim Mix" which lists the records that are featured in that mix.

This post doesn't showcase all of the records that have the Bam Bam riddim.

" "Riddim" is the Jamaican Patois pronunciation of the English word "rhythm," but in dancehall/reggae parlance it refers to the instrumental accompaniment to a song. Thus, a dancehall song consists of the riddim plus the "voicing" (vocal part) sung by the deejay. The resulting song structure may be taken for granted by dancehall fans, but is in many ways unique. A given riddim, if popular, may be used in dozens—or even hundreds—of songs, not only in recordings, but also in live performances..."Riddims are the primary musical building blocks of Jamaican popular songs.... At any given time, ten to fifteen riddims are widely used in dancehall recordings, but only two or three of these are the now ting (i.e., the latest riddims that everyone must record over if they want to get them played in the dance or on radio).... In dancehall performing, those whose timing is right on top of the rhythm are said to be "ridding di riddim"...

African in origin (see clave (rhythm) and bell pattern),riddims can generally be categorized into three types. One of the oldest types of riddim is the classical riddim providing roots reggae, dub and lovers rock with instrumentals, such as Bam Bam, produced by Sly & Robbie. The second type is the ragga riddim backing raggamuffin and dancehall songs, such as the Juice riddim, produced by Richard "Shams" Browne. The third type is the digital riddim, such as Sleng Teng, produced by King Jammy.

So-called digital riddims refer to riddims created around the time that Jamaican producers incorporated drum machines and synthesizers into reggae-music production. Nowadays, however, most dancehall and soca riddims are created by electronic instruments, so, in essence, almost all are digital."


Bam Bam
Toots and the Maytals
Produced by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires
Album The Sensational Maytals

Hey, can you hear that?
Ohhhh, can't you hear that?
Let me hear you play now

I want you to know that I am the man
Who fight for the right, not for the wrong
Going there, I'm going there
Talking this, I'm talking that

Soon you will find out the man
I'm supposed to be

Help this man!
Dee-dee-dee, dee-dee-di-di-dee
And don't trouble no man
And you should trouble me again!
Don't you bring a bam bam

What a bam bam, bam bam
See that? Bam bam
(It will bring a bam bam)
Can you see that?

About "Bam Bam"
"Recorded in 1966 with new Maytals contributor Byron Lee, “Bam Bam” won the first ever Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition

It was later re-interpreted in a dancehall style by Sister Nancy, whose version became a classic reggae anthem which was itself covered, referenced and sampled by numerous artists."

Excerpt #1:
""Bam Bam" is a song by Jamaican dancehall recording artist Sister Nancy. The song's chorus was inspired by the 1966 song of the same name, by The Maytals and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires.[1][2] The song's instrumental samples the 1974 song "Stalag 17", by Ansell Collins, a well known riddim, alternatively known as a backing track used repeatedly.[3][4] The song has been labeled as a "well-known reggae anthem" by BBC and a "classic" by The Observer.[5][6]

In 2016, Billboard called the song "a strong contender for the title of most sampled reggae song of all time."[2] When asked her opinion of the many songs that have used her voice over the years, she responded: "I don’t know if I hear all of them. They sample it so much times but none of them is my favorite. The reason why I say that is they know how to contact me. They know I live in the U.S. and nobody try to contact me to do it in person. They always sample the tune. If they had contacted me and I would do it for them live then I would have a favorite."[2]

In 2014, Sister Nancy's daughter pointed out that her song, “Bam Bam”, was playing on the TV during a Reebok commercial and thus she finally decided seek legal advice and guidance on properly obtaining rights to her own music. For 32 years Sister Nancy did not receive any royalties for her song. At the end of the settlement she was unable to receive compensation for all 32 years of unpaid royalties, however, she did receive compensation for the last 10 years and then obtained 50% of the rights to her song “Bam Bam”. [7]

In 2015, the song topped the iTunes Reggae Chart.[8]

Released 1982
CD single CD maxi Vinyl 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1982
Studio Channel One Studios
Genre Reggae, dancehall
Length 3:16
Label Techniques Records
Winston Riley Ophlin Russell
Producer(s) Winston Riley"

Excerpt #2:

Sister Nancy - Bam Bam
[Spoken Intro]

[Verse 1]
A me seh one ting Nancy cyaan understan
One ting Nancy cyaan understan
Wha' mek dem a talk 'bout me ambishan
Seh, wha' mek dem a talk 'bout me ambishan
'ca me seh some a dem a ax me whey me get it fram
'ca some a dem a ax me whey me get it fram
A true dem nuh know it's fram creation
A true dem nuh know it's-a fram creation

Bam bam, ey, what a bam bam
Bam bam dilla, bam bam
Bam bam dilla, bam bam
'ey what a bam bam, seh what a bam bam

[Verse 2]
Dis woman neva trouble no one
I'm a lady, I'm not a man
MC is my ambishan
I come fi nice up Jamaica

So bam bam, what a bam bam
Bam bam dilla, bam bam
Bam bam dilla, bam bam
'ey a me seh what a bam bam
Tell'em seh me seh what a bam bam
'ey ya, tell'em, tell'em

About Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam"
Now a classic reggae anthem, this song celebrates Sister Nancy’s success as a woman in the male-dominated dancehall scene of the 80s. Nancy was the first woman to perform at Reggae Sunsplash, a Jamaican reggae festival, and the first woman Jamaican DJ to tour internationally.

The song’s catchy hook has been sampled, remixed, covered, and interpolated in several songs after its release. This hook is in fact sampled from the 1965 song of the same title by the Maytals."

Excerpt #3:
From the discussion thread for Bam Bam - Sister Nancy published by chinita41 on Sep 23, 2008

1. Shazzkid, 2017
"What came first, this version or the Chaka Demus and Pliers version"

2. LJTV, 2017
"Toots and Maytals 1965 did this song. Afterwards, it was sampled much like James Brown Funky Drummer"

3. paul connelly, 2017
"they are two different songs chaka demus done a cover of toots and the maytals bam bam, this is sister nancy's own song called the same name but different song altogether."

INFORMATION ABOUT PLIERS' "BAM BAM RECORD" [first released in 1990?]
Excerpt #1:
"Pliers (born Everton Bonner on 4 April 1963, Kingston, Jamaica), is a Jamaican Reggae singer best known for his collaborations with deejay Chaka Demus under the name Chaka Demus & Pliers. He is one of the Bonner brothers all of whom are reggae artists, including, Richie Spice and Spanner Banner.

Pliers started his career performing under the name 'Blues Melody', acquiring his more famous moniker due to an apparent similarity to fellow singer Pinchers.[1]

He had a number of early hits, working for producers such as Coxone Dodd and Winston Riley, but never achieved huge success as a solo artist, in contrast to the immense success of his partnership with Chaka Demus.

His solo song "Bam Bam" was featured on the fictional radio station K-Jah West in the soundtrack to the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."

Excerpt #2:
Chaka Demus & Pliers are a Jamaican reggae duo made up of deejay Chaka Demus (born John Taylor) and singer Pliers (born Everton Bonner), known for their hits "Tease Me" and "Murder She Wrote". As a duo, they enjoyed more commercial success with mainstream pop fans after their collaboration began in the early 1990s than either had in their previous solo career.[1]


Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Reggae, dancehall
Years active 1991–present

Excerpt #3:
Selected comments from the discussion thread for Chaka Demus & Pliers - Bam Bam, published by Luis Frade, Feb 28, 2008 [Note that the song "Bam Bam" was recorded by Pliers alone and not by Chaka Demus & Pliers. However, that duo recorded "Murder She Wrote" which has the same riddim. [These comments are numbered for referencing purposes only and listed in chronological order, with the oldest comment given first, except for replies/]

1. Troy Sealy, 2009
"Its the "What A Bam Bam Riddim". More than one artist sings on the same riddim, or an artist sing more than one song on the same riddim."

2. SaMga92, 2013
"The original song is "bam bam" by the legendary "Toots and the Maytals"!"

3. CALICOTV301, 2014
"Why does this have the same beat as Murder She Wrote?"

4. DeeEmStyles, 2014
"Because dancehall reggae songs are made under various beats called "riddims". Many artists do songs under a riddim."

5. Jada Prendergast, 2014
"because in jamaica, you have 'riddims' which are beats dancehall artists use, its only recently that artists start to make their own riddims, there is less music on the same riddims now
back in the day this would be a popular riddim, and the people know what song is going to play even though they are on the same riddim"

6. Jack-O P, 2015
"1990: "Bam Bam" is the B-side of the "Murder She Wrote" vinyl-single. "Murder She Wrote" features both Chaka Demus & Pliers. But "Bam Bam" has only one singer: Pliers. The instrumental "Riddim" in this song is arranged by Sly & Robbie. The original song "Bam Bam" by Toots & The Maytals is released in 1966."

7. spoose1, 2015
"what about sistah nancy?"

8. Jack-O P
"She made a dancehall version (I think in 1982) with different lyrics."
Here's a comment from that discussion thread that differentiates "dancehall" from "reggae":
"its not reggae ,its dancehall.....reggae is bob marley dennis brown etc.. but dancehall is beenie man elephant man vybz kartel bounty killa etc...but ragga , reggaeton, reggae, dancehall soca...we love dem all, because its the west indies, THE MUSIC OF GREAT PEOPLE...YEAHHH.... NUFF LOVE..."

Reminder: This is not a full listing of all the records with this Bam Bam Riddim.

These examples are not given in chronological order based on the release date of these records.

Example #1: Chaka Demus & Pliers - Murder She Wrote

culturaroots, Published on Nov 2, 2007

Example #2: Sister Nancy - BAM BAM

johnreign, Uploaded on Dec 7, 2007

I heard this song while playing skate and decided to upload

Example #3: Chaka Demus & Pliers - Bam Bam

lmfrade, Uploaded on Feb 28, 2008

Example #4: Bam Bam Mix (Chaka Demus/Pliers etc..)

BootCampWuTang, Uploaded on May 28, 2008

Bam Bam Mix (Chaka Demus/Pliers etc..)
UPDATE March 10, 2018: I deleted a comment that is no longer showing on this discussion thread and added these comments which attempt to identify some of the songs on this mix: [Additions and corrections are welcome]
1. zob658, 2008
"whats the one at 4 minutes"

2. siiimond, 2008
"BUju banton them a bleach"

"Does someone know what's the mix at 4th minute? thank you"

4. bramptonman, 2008
"I think it's (Bam Bam- Pliers)"

5. ajy2k8, 2008
"i like it after 2:37 murder she wrote"

6. BlazinMami4upapi, 2009
"the song starting at 4:30 is called shelly anne by red rat."

7. Richard Rey, 2009
"actually its called oh noo by Red Rat"

8. slabbabwoy, 2009
"wha dis first tune?"

Simone, 2009
"love like this before - faith evans :)"

Example #5: bum bum ( bam bam ) riddim mix - vp records 1992 digi dancehall( delroy wilson, ricihie steps,)

Kingstoned - soundzzM Published on Apr 17, 2009

Example #6: Toots and the Maytals - bam bam

cometepare1, Published on May 17, 2010

Example #7: Bam Bam - Shaggy & Toots

geejamrecordings, Uploaded on Dec 1, 2010

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