Who Knew? Dancehall Legend Red Rat Reveals How He Appeared On All The ‘Filthy’ Riddim’s Hit Songs – DancehallMagJanuary 15th, 2021
Former Main Street Dancehall artiste Red Rat has revealed that he was the person ad-libbing and making cartoonish sounds in most of the tracks on the Danny Browne-produced Filthy riddim (commonly referred to as Traffic Blocking) in 1998, which was sampled by US rapper Nicki Minaj for her Megatron track in 2019.
During an Instagram Live session with Billboard songwriter and producer, Kirk ‘Koolface’ Ford, Red Rat reminisced on his days at the Main Street studio, which was also home to Junior Tucker, General Degree, Goofy, Buccaneer, Hawkeye, Lady G, Mad Anju, and Crissy D.
“I can gi yuh one riddim weh most people hear it and don’t even recognize certain tings, but a di first mi a seh dis now pan a platform on a live,” the Shelly Ann artiste said.
“Yuh si Filthy ridim, if yuh listen every song pon Filthy riddim, my voice inna it yuh nuh – every song. Traffic Blocking ‘wah’. Yuh si dah ‘gwaan’ deh? A me. ‘yeh, yeh yeh yeh yeh’, a me. ‘Teck it easy yuh pupum cheesy’, a me. Suh every song – no mi a tell yuh, but nuff people nuh know,” the St. Ann native added.
The riddim was the stuff of which legends are made, as almost all the songs were hits. Lady G shone with Breeze Off and so did Lady Saw with Don’t Even Stress Dat. Crissy D also did well with Big Timer. Tanya Stephens also starred on the riddim with Draw Fi Mi Finger.
Spragga Benz did a song for the girls with She Nuh Ready Yet, as did Buccaneer with Teck it Easy. Red Rat and his fellow Main Street artiste Hawkeye, came with comedy with Ah Fi Who Gyal, and Vex If You Waan Vex respectively.
In continuing his recollection about the Filthy riddim, Red Rat, whose given name is Wallace Wilson, then made another revelation which made his interviewer burst out laughing.
“I can’t believe I am even going to say this on this damn live. Yuh si even Goofy song Poop, a me did a meck di poop sound dema me did a meck dem,” he said, as he became overcome with laughter.
“Mi did deny it fi years, but… yuh si all a di song dem inna Main Street days, any riddim, my voice always inna dem,” the Tight Up Skirt artiste added, as he discussed the controversial recording which was deemed not fit for airplay.
Red Rat said his presence on the songs of his colleagues back then, was neither strange or irregular. It was something that was typical of Main Street artistes to get involved in each other’s creative processes and input their ideas, as under the tutelage of legendary producer Danny Browne, they all lived like one big family. In fact, he credits General Degree with giving him the moniker Red Rat.
Red Rat broke onto the music scene in 1996 and is known for tracks such as Big Man Little Yute feat. Goofy, Good Boy, and Charlene. His 1996 debut album Oh No….It’s Red Rat! Was reportedly one of Greensleeves Records’ best-selling albums.
“Suh dat a weh mi used to like wid di whole Main Street dynamic so when we used to produce songs. If shams have a riddim everybaddy in deh a help everybaddy… if me have a riddim everybaddy n deh, same vibe.”
The same sentiments were expressed by Red Rat’s former Main Street stablemate Hawkeye, two days ago on the Toronto-based The Entertainment Report Podcast. He said that even TOK had ad-libbed on one of his songs Ooh Ha Ha also in 1998.
“The good thing about it too is that we as individual used to help each other with lyrics and lines. So if Degree a deejay suppm an him put it a way and me feel seh bwoy, mi have a wittier way or a badder way and wi mention it, him wi say ‘yow dat bad’”, Hawkeye explained.
“So it was a combined effort. Everybody was contributing to everybody else lyrics and stuff. Not all di time it happen, but you know nuffa di time yuh get a one line and a one word weh badder dan your word weh you did have. Suh a suh we used to dweet,” Hawkeye told programme host Muscle.
When American-based rapper Nicki Minaj Minaj sampled the Filthy riddim for her Megatron single in 2019, Dancehall fans on social media instantly associated it with Traffic Blocking a single on the riddim, which was General Degree’s biggest commercial hit to date.
In 2019 during an interview with The Gleaner, following the Megatron release, General Degree said, as with his other records, the deejay said it was born out of a little fun.
“Whenever Danny had a rhythm, him would call everybody on the label and ask us to come through, and I remember going in then going back the next day with Traffic Blockin… Dem times, there was no such term as ‘traffic blocking’. People would say ‘blocking traffic’, but true me waan rhyme wid ‘stocking’ and ‘whapping’, dat’s how me come up with the term traffic blocking. I made it up as a joke…,” he said at the time.
Degree, also said the song has transcended generations.
“When I travel, as soon as I say ‘traffic blocking’, everybody knows that song…. From the day it was released until now, it remains my closing song anywhere I go in the world, and I still get the same response over and over again like it was just released,” he said.