The Mayan
1038 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, California 90015
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There is no wrong time to play 'Bam Bam.' Every summer belongs to 'Bam Bam.'... A perfect song. The New Yorker In the words of her iconic 1982 single Bam Bam, Sister Nancy is one inna three million, an artist whose talents truly come from creation. Regarded as the first female star in the male-dominated world of Jamaican dancehall, Sister Nancy continues to blaze new trails 35 years after the release of her first and only album. Recently recognized by Pitchfork as The Best Dancehall Song of All-Time, Bam Bam has been sampled, quoted and referenced in tracks by Lauryn Hill, Wiz Khalifa, Too Short, Kanye West and Jay-Z.

Born Ophlin Russell, Nancy grew up in Kingston, Jamaica Papine district, in a large family that included dancehall pioneeR&Brigadier Jerry. Her familial ties afforded her an opportunity granted few, if any, Jamaican girls at the time: To deejay (or chat) songs on sound Systems, the local DJ crews that form the backbone of dancehall culture. After learning of her talents from artist General Echo, Winston Riley of Kingston storied Techniques Records label brought her into the studio to record her first single, Papa Dean, in 1979. Returning to the studio to complete what would be her first and only album, One Two, in 1982, Nancy lent her voice to a haunting, minimalist version of Riley Stalag riddim, a popular instrumental track voiced by countless artists since 1973. Co-opting a lyrical refrain (Bam bam bi lam, bam bam, what a bam bam) from Toots the Maytals identically-named 1966 hit, Nancy created an anth of female powerment, repurposing the skepticism she encountered as the lone woman on the sound syst circuit into a supremely-confident mission statement. One Two, the title cut from her album, would become her signature hit in Jamaica, leading to international tours and collaborations with dancehall then-reigning king, Yellowman. Little heard at the time of its release, Bam Bam would find its audience in New York, first in the city Caribbean Diaspora and then in hip-hop.

In the early 1990s, it was sampled by golden-era rap acts Main Source and Pete Rock CL Smooth, and r ixed into a hip-hop version by legendary radio DJ Stretch Armstrong. It wasnt until Nancy herself relocated to New Jersey, where she would take a job as a bank accountant, later in the decade that she became aware of her song and her own iconic stateside status. Hype Williams 1998 film Belly c ented Nancy place in the pop culture canon, in an unforgettable scene in which Bam Bam soundtracks the movements of the stunning Jamaican feme fatale, Chiquita. That same year, Lauryn Hill echoed Nancy Bam Bam chorus on Lost Ones, from her Grammy-winning and career-defining album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, passing Nancy patois inflections on to a new generation of listeners. Since then, the samples, covers and plac ents including a 2014 Reebok TV campaign featuring model Miranda Kerr have become ever more frequent. In 2016, Nancy received the ultimate co-sign, or at least some really great exposure, when Kanye West used Bam Bam prominently on Famous, arguably the most controversial song and video of his always-provocative career. The New Yorkers Carrie Battan went so far as to dub Bam Bam the Song of the Summer for 2016, describing it as a perfect song and a reggae classic that only grows more lustrous with age.


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