Red Rat


Once in a artist comes along who challenges convention the stream roller boundaries. A larger-than-life personality with the talent to match, Red Rat is a dancehall phenomenon. This explosive young deejay has been hailed as one of the most versatile performers to emerge from Jamaica.With the release of his wicked new album, 'I'm A Big Kid Now', crossover success is just a whisker away.

Wallace Wilson aka Red Rat was born on the 17th January in the tourist area of St. Ann's Bay. While many artists claim to have music in their blood, Red Rat is the real deal. His father played for both the Vegabonds in England and Bryon and the Dragonnaries. Three of his brothers also entered the family business; Richard Barr - a bassist (for Diana King and Jimmy Cliff), selector Shinehead and drummer, Genius who is now a member of Red Rat's backing band, M.O.B.

Although part of a large family, Red Rat retained his creative independence and it would only be a matter of time before he struck out on his own. Incredibly, his first performance was at the age of four; "My brothers used to play cabaret shows in hotels. They called up and I started singing. I think it was a Michael Jackson song, yeah, 'ABC'!" The audience went wild and Red Rat was hooked.

Fast-forward eight years, to a fledging schoolboy star Red Rat could often be found in the studio after school. But with his feet firmly on the ground, he took his father's advice to complete his education. After graduating from high school, Red Rat was free to pursue his dream and he did so with tenacious determination. Recording under the name MICE, after his school football couch pointed out the resemblance, he secured himself a guest appearance with his brother's band KRU, deejaying on their single, "Can't Live Without You". Spurred on by his first taste of professional success, Red Rat began searching for a deal. Family connections proved useful and he orchestrated an introduction to top-flight procedure and CEO of Main Street Records, Danny Browne. Immediately impressed with Red Rat's musical flair, h e offered him the chance to record for the label and he voiced his first song, "Itsy Bitsy". Red Rat is full of respect for the man he credits as his mentor; "He's like a father to me. I give Danny props for showing me the business and teaching me a whole lot." At the same time, a change of name was suggested by General Degree; Mice had already been claimed so the mouse became a rat.

1996 witnessed the transformation from small-time talent to major-league star with his first release. This was the break Red Rat had been waiting for. A string of singles followed, among them "Shelly-Ann" and "Dwayne", capitulating him to the top of the worldwide reggae charts. The buzz surrounding the young deejay was growing fast; at last here was an artist who brought a much-needed freshness and vitality to Dancehall. Drawing on musical influences as diverse as Eminem, Michael Jackson, Alanis Morrisette and Bob Marley, Red Rat had hit upon a winning formula, combining dancehall flavours with more commercial sound; "I listen to all types of music because I don't want to limit myself, but don't forget where you're coming from. You have to know where you're coming from to know where you're going." He is equally down-to-earth when it comes to his image; "it's all about fun. I'm a fun person to be around. It's not a put on, what you see is what you get."

In 1997 he released his eagerly anticipated debut album, 'Oh No…. It's Red Rat'. It rapidly became one of the biggest selling records in Greensleeves' history. Universally acclaimed, Red Rat was credited with redefining his genre. Unashamedly amusing and catchy, 'Oh No….' dispelled the myth that reggae could not be accessible. A succession of hit singles taken from the album including "Big Man Little Yute" (with fellow Main Street artist Goofy), "Tight Up Skirt", "Wrigleys" and "Cruise" (featured in the movie 'The Big Hit') had musical youth the world over shaking their body.

Red Rat played a series of worldwide dates that took him as far a field as Costa Rica, African and most memorably for him London's Notting Hill Carnival, where he ripped up he Radio One and Kiss 100 stages.

His reputation as dancehall's premier talent has led to musical collaborations on both sides of the Atlantic. As part of the Main Street Crew (that included Buccaneer and Goofy) he teamed up with British rapper Phoebe One, on her Top 25 hit "Doin' Our Thing". This year has seen Red Rat get down and dirty for some x-rated antics with US hip-hop act, Next; guesting with Renee Neufville on "On No No", taken from their album 'Welcome to Nextasy'. On an R&B tip, he has charmed his way into MOBO award-winning artist Kele Le Roc's affections, on the soon-to-be-huge Curtis Lynch Jr. track, "Thinking Of You", a brilliant re-working of the Sister Sledge classic. Especially close to Red Rat's heart is the forthcoming posthumous tribute to US rapper Tupac Shakur. "And Still I Love You" is a love poem originally written by Tupac, arranged and performed by Red Rat.

Now it's time for Red Rat to take center stage once again, with the release of his long-awaited second album, "I'm a Big Kid now". Almost entirely produced by Red Rat himself (not content with international fame, he is setting up his own production company, Brat Productions), it is a trilling roller-coaster ride of wickedly witty lyrics and addictive rhythms. "Island Boy" is a dexterous collaborations with the mighty Treach, from platinum selling US hip-hop group Naughty By Nature and the sweet sexy voice of protégée diva Italee. Red Rat cavorts from track to track, shooing out the one-liners faster than machine gun. From the morning-after-the night-before anthem "Spookie" to the story of a voracious man-hunter in "Buddy She Want", 'I'm A Big Kid Now' is bursting with potential crossover hits and is set to repeat the massive success of Red Rat's debut. He may be a big kid, but look what he can do.

Biography provided by Greensleeves Records.

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