SINGER Sluggy Ranks, who had a brief chart run in the 1980s, died on July 29. The 44 year-old Ranks (real name Andrew Phillip Gregory) was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Stony Hill, St Andrew and was later pronounced dead at the Kingston Public Hospital.
His family have not yet announced a funeral date.
Originally from Rae Town in central Kingston, Sluggy Ranks’ biggest hits were 95% Black and Lightning and Thunder which were recorded in the 1980s. Typical of most dancehall artistes, he did songs for top producers of the day, including Whitfield ‘Whitty’ Henry, Hyman ‘Jah Life’ Wright, and Lloyd ‘King Jammys’ James.
For a brief period during the 1990s he was signed to the American independent label, Profile Records.
Some of Sluggy Ranks’ other songs were Rough Wine, Wages of Sin and Ghetto Youth Bust. Most of his popular recordings were done while he was living in New York City.
He also recorded four albums, including Ghetto Youth Bust, produced by James for Profile, the label that launched the platinum rise of rap group Run DMC in the 1980s.
Producer Phillip Thompson of D-Phil Productions in New York paid tribute to Sluggy Ranks, hailing him as a “great talent”.
Thompson told the Jamaica Observer that he and Sluggy Ranks had been working on new material, including the recently released song I Will Rise Again on the Rebirth beat.
According to Thompson, “Things were looking up for the singer.”
Singer Sammy ‘Sammy Farquarson’ Dread said he knew Sluggy Ranks for nearly 30 years, mainly from their time performing on the New York dancehall circuit.
“Sluggy was a nice youth, wicked singer, do some tough tune,” said Sammy Dread from his New York home.
Thompson says a thanksgiving service for the life of Andrew Phillip ‘Sluggy Ranks’ Gregory is being planned for New York City.