25
Feb 08

Blog ’92: WALK AND SKANK

FT10 comments • 2,286 views

11. SL2 – On A Ragga Tip

Last week, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not to play ‘On A Ragga Tip’ during my set at a certain excellent clubnight this Saturday. A reasonable request: of all the tracks on Rave’92, this and ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ are probably the ones I’ve heard most at the sort of nightclubs I go to. The combination of chart success, the nonsensical (but still karaoke-friendly) lyrics and free reign to merrily flail away on the dancefloor knocking over everyone’s pint has ensured both tracks have never really departed from the collective consciousness, let alone sunk into obscurity.

Unlike the majority of Rave ’92 I have no firm memory of my initial reaction upon hearing ‘On A Ragga Tip’, other than perhaps mild relief that Rage’s ‘Run To You’ had finished! I wouldn’t embrace reggae (i.e. Shaggy) until much later that year, and the nonsensical but inoffensive yabbering failed to distinguish this track as worthy of special attention or avoidance. Soon enough I was happily bobbing up and down shouting ‘WARRRD! WARRRD!’, but it was only when I started DJing that I realised that even people who didn’t listen to rave would dance like mentals to this song. 

A while back I received an mp3 of Jah Screechie’s ‘Walk And Skank’ – the extended toasting-fest that SL2 heavily sampled. I found myself waiting for the cheerful plinking piano even though I knew it wasn’t coming, and started to appreciate exactly how good SL2’s bosh-up was. They picked the best bits of a lazy reggae rant and turned them into a bouncing electronic pop song (MUCH harder than it looks*). The momentum is infectious, and the different sounds chop and change enough that you’d need a severe case of ADHD to get bored.

However all this praise doesn’t necessarily earn ‘On A Ragga Tip’ a place on my playlist this weekend. There are so many other cracking rave tunes I’d love to see people dance to that deserve an outing. But then again, sometimes you need a sprinkle of familiarity to win the trust of the dancefloor (in readiness for the seven-minute-long Dr Gore 2000 track you have lined up next). In any case, a good DJ should always keep something solid in reserve in case everyone buggers off to the bar, and this is as classic as rave gets.

Watch the video to ‘On A Ragga Tip’ on YouTube

*About four years ago I had the ambitious notion of inventing a new genre, combining the rave music I loved with the ska-punk played by the band I was in at the time. Despite being incredibly familiar with ‘On A Ragga Tip’ and its relatives, I still didn’t twig that this ‘skrave’ obviously already existed, and felt monumentally stupid when someone pointed this out. Luckily I had already thought up another seven projects by then and quietly dropped the whole business.

Comments

  1. 1
    katstevens on 25 Feb 2008 #

    Bonus wikipedia fact! Contrary to urban legend SL2 are not named after the Slough postcode area nor their members Slipmatt & Lime, but from the particular brand of Technics turntables they used. BORRR-ING.

  2. 2
    SteveM on 25 Feb 2008 #

    Yes I never need to hear or dance to this song again. But I often feel cold and alone in this respect.

    There’s always the arguably-as-good ‘Way In My Brain’

  3. 3
    Alan on 25 Feb 2008 #

    this is what the remix is for. Search:SL2 Meets Modified Motion Remix nao plz.

  4. 4
    Ben on 25 Feb 2008 #

    More than A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, more than Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, more than Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’, when I think of student clubnights, I think of this song.

    Bizarrely, I too can’t bear to hear to it at a clubnight, yet I still really enjoy it every time it comes up on random shuffle on my Generic Portable Music Player.

  5. 5
    Matt on 25 Feb 2008 #

    Although I don’t mind “On A Ragga Tip”, I’m always a little disappointed that it’s not their “DJs Take Control” (a double A-side with “Way In My Brain”)

  6. 6
    Matt DC on 26 Feb 2008 #

    This is still great but use other bosh please.

  7. 7
    Mark G on 27 Feb 2008 #

    Ay ay, away, a wah-ah-ah ay

  8. 8
    Marcello Carlin on 27 Feb 2008 #

    Teenage Fanclub really ought to have covered this.

  9. 9
    Tom on 27 Feb 2008 #

    I agree that it is time to turn the spotlight on other bosh – but it wasn’t that long ago that early 90s rave was “out” and I’d have died of delight to hear it. We’ve never had it so good ect ect

  10. 10
    BloggerDude on 9 Oct 2009 #

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read….

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