Veteran Dancehall deejay Cham is in celebration mode as he marks the 21st anniversary of his debut album, Wow… The Story, which he released at age 21.
The entertainer took to Instagram a few days ago to tell his fans that he would be sharing highlights of the history of the album, which was produced by ace producer Dave “Rude Boy” Kelly for his Madhouse label, released on 24 October 2000. The album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart on November 17 that year.
“Double CD number one titled In the Beginning and Another Level being CD number Two,” Cham stated.
“For the next month I will be telling you stories about the making of all the classic records on this album. The first double CD album in Reggae and Dancehall history,” Cham explained.
Cham began his series by explaining how the album’s first single The Mass came to fruition.
“The mass is the first song that I recorded for Madhouse Records and Dave Kelly in 1995. I remember it like yesterday. I went on the bus with my mom the morning and that time she worked at a garment factory on Slipe Road; and she paid my bus fare. I got off the bus and went straight to Penthouse Records – that’s where Dave Kelly used to work out,” the 42 year old recounted.
“Got in the studio, she opened the grill, let me in; he went around his drum pad, put his headphone on. I went in a corner just sit and let him do his thing. He was there for like two hours, just bopping his head; I can’t hear nuttn because he has his headphone on. After two hours he took the headphones off and said: ‘tell me if yuh like dis. And I heard ‘err, err, err, err, hi,’. The minute I heard it, I knew that it was fire,” he continued.
Added Cham: “He (Dave) said, well if we can come up with something good on it, then I would have a chance to get a record out on that. And right there we started vibing.”
Cham also explained how sounds aligned to the Catholic Church came to be incorporated into the Dancehall track, how it got its interesting title, and how one of Jamaica’s greatest vocalists was brought in to sing the chorus.
“We came up with the idea ‘Firebun fi di man…. Lightning and tunder fi di man dem weh pray to di pope” ahhhhhh’, and di whole cathedral vibe… That’s how it got the title The Mass. So right after I finished recording, he said that he had an idea, he was gonna have Wayne Wonder sing the chorus, which was ‘ahhhhh’, and if you know, we grow up on Wayne Wonder, so to have Wayne Wonder singing on my chorus, my song, my first real single that’s really gonna come out there, I knew that it was gonna be fire,” Cham explained.
“And that’s how everything started. That’s the beginning of the beginning. So the Mass is the beginning of the album wow the Story,” the Calabar High School old boy added.
The Lawless artist also sought to tell his fans exactly what the lyrics of the intro were, as he said it has left many people baffled over the decades.
“A lot of people always say they didn’t understand what was being said in the intro. So the intro said: ‘To all those people not living right, wooe for them’”, he sang.
All but one of the songs on the album were produced by Dave Kelly, the exception being Desperate Measures which was produced by his brother Tony Kelly.
Disc number one on the album comprised The Mass, Many Many, Que Sera/Hottie Hottie Crew, Funny Man, Gallang Yah Gal/We No Sorry, Boom/Can I Get A, Boom Tune, Ghetto Pledge, Babylon Bwoy, Ma People and Man and Man.
Disc two comprised Who, Heading to the Top, On A Roll, Flossing every Day, More featuring Foxy Brown, No, High Rsollers featuring Shaggy, Smooth Operator featuring Mr. Easy, Another Level featuring Bounty Killer and Mama’s Teaching.