Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gappy Ranks in SF

Gappy Ranks – San Francisco July 14, 2010.

With camera flashes blasting, and a 150 or so amped reggae fans thrusting hands in the air, British reggae artist Gappy Ranks (the stage name of Jacob Lee Williams) got his first taste of San Francisco crowds last night. Apparently he was chuffed, because he stuck around for a good 45 minutes, running through his catalog, inviting women on stage to be serenaded, and interacting with the audience throughout his set. If you haven't heard of Harlesden, London-based emcee Gappy Ranks, don't worry; he's a relatively new name -- but one impressive enough to convince Greensleeves Records (home to Barrington Levy and Yellowman) to sign him. His set at Paradise Lounge's reggae club Coo Yah served as San Francisco's introduction to a raspy singjay (a combination rapper/singer) with a lot of potential. But despite Gappy's electric performance, women were the center of attention for most of last night.

Cooyah (Jamaican slang for "look here," "check this out" or "pay attention!") has been occupying Wednesday nights for nearly four years at various locations in SF. Originally held at Bruno's on Mission Street, in 2010 Cooyah took up weekly residence at the Paradise Lounge. The place is regularly crammed, a success that female DJs/promoters Daneekah and Green B earned with sweat equity -- and good music.

Daneekah Barty is from Mooloolaba, Australia, while Green B originally hails from Boston. Both women are in their late twenties and have played every major reggae party in S.F. and the East Bay since arriving five years ago. At their weekly night, the two "Cooyah ladies," as they call themselves, trade music sets and toasts on the mic. They pack the dancefloor with fresh tunes from artists like Gyptian, Tarrus Riley, Mavado and Vybz Kartel, whose current hit "Clarks," about the British footwear, got played twice last night to rapturous crowd approval. Last night Green B and Daneekah were joined by Sonoma's Blessed Coast Sound - DJ Ryan I and emcee Lionize - who had a hand in putting together Gappy's tour. The guys took over for the ladies around 11 p.m. and quickly changed the vibe from bubbling roots reggae to harder dancehall-rap remixes.

Read the rest of this post at SF