The thanksgiving service for the life of Reggae singer, Andrew ‘Sluggy Ranks’ Gregory, which was held on Sunday at the J Barone funeral home in Brooklyn, New York, has been described as “a real celebration”.
Family and friends, many of them from the music business, turned out to pay their respect to a talented entertainer who played an important role in carrying reggae music forward.
Among the celebrities oresent at the home-going for Sluggy were Bobo General, Screechie Don, Sammy Dread, Tuffist, Junior Demus, Tony London,, Major One, Jah Life, Willow Wilson, Pac Man, Preacher, Lee Major, Wayne Goodaz, Puppy Ranks, Steve Austin, Starr, Philip ‘Fatter One’ Thompson and Delroy Crooks, all representing the entertainment fraternity.
Sluggy’s manager and partner, Danita Howard-Swaby, took things in her stride, despite her apparent grief and did Sluggy proud, as did the rest of his family and loved ones.
Good friend, Bobo General, posted on Facebook, “Just coming from Sluggy funeral it was beautiful had fun.It was like a celebration. Respect to all a Sluggy real friend who showed up.”
Jennifer Morrison added, “Bobo what a Celebration of life .At one point I forgot I was at a funeral service.Slug Master we will never ever forget you.Blessing to you .BoBo General…..LIONHEART ****MAUH !!!!”
Good friend Nicole Nikki Robinson commented, “Yesterday I paid my official respect to Sluggy Ranks. It was great that they brought him back. Although he was love by everyone all over, Brooklyn had a special ? as we all grew up together! It was great seeing u all- Screechie Day, Bob General, Jr. Demus, Pac Man, Bobo General, Lee Majors, Steve Austin, Puppy Ranks, Sammy Dread, Jah Life, Major One, Star, Delroy Crooks, Percy, Chi Chi & Pat, & many more… Big Up Mini Mart Crew, Terorist Crew, 37th Street Crew, Third World HiFi Crew, Reggea Lounge Crew, Biltmore Crew, Love People Crew, President St Crew, 90′s Crew, 50′s Crew, Flatbush, New Lots Crew, Brownsville Crew….”
Sluggy Ranks was involved in a car accident on Sunday morning, July 29, and succumbed to his injuries. He was 44.
At the time, producer Phillip ‘Fatter One” Thompson of D-Phil Productions, told chatychaty.com that he was stunned by the death of the reggae singer, who he hailed as a ‘great talent’.
Thompson, whose outfit is based in New York, had been working with Sluggy on new material and had just put out a single, entitled I Will Rise Again. There were plans for an album and, according to Thompson, “things were looking up for the singer”.
“Right now, I am devastated,” Thompson had stated in an interview. “The last time I spoke to him was the Thursday before he died and I was telling him to just take it easy because the songs were mixed and things were really looking bright. Then the next thing is a phone call few days later to hear that Sluggy was dead. It really shake me up bad,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson, he was told by Sluggy’s manager, Danita, that there were six persons travelling in the vehicle at the time of the accident on Stony Hill Road in St Andrew. Sluggy Ranks was reportedly the driver and the only person to have died. Another artiste, Jah Jah Ranks,who was also in the vehicle, is still listed as critical at the Kingston Public Hospital.
Danita and the music fraternity have been constantly requesting prayers for Jah Jah Ranks.
Thompson stated that Sluggy had been living in New York for many years and made his name as one of the greatest vocalists of that time. However, he returned to Jamaica a little less than two years ago.
“But Sluggy and I go way back, so when I decided to put out this new riddim, Sluggy was one of the persons I had to draw for. I love his voice…he’s a great talent,” the D-Phil CEO said.
The riddim is called Rebirth and Sluggy Ranks’ song is entitled I Will Rise Again, in which Sluggy promises to do just that.
“Sluggy will rise again. Death is just an interruption. It will not stop that. There is a second single which was being mixed at the time of Sluggy’s death, called Totally Impossible and it is a song that speaks to everybody. “Sluggy was a good yute and he will be missed,” was Thompson’s last word on the subject.
Sluggy Ranks, born Andrew Phillip Gregory was raised in Rae Town, Kingston in Jamaica, where he attended Clan Carthy Primary School and Vauxhall Secondary school. Sluggy relocated to the United States in 1981, where he resided in Brooklyn New York. His distinctive voice and talent quickly caught the attention of producers such as Jah life, Park Heights, Whitty, Super Power Records and King Jammy’s. His collaborations with these producers gave him dance hall hits like 95% Black, Rough Wine, Lightening & Thunder, Wages of Sin, Sodom & Gomorrah and Ghetto Youth Bust.
A mainstay at Don One dub studio, Sluggy was known for hard-edged yet conscious lyrics and his trademark “EEE” ad-lib. Although he could charge top dollar to put his voice on dubplate, Sluggy was always willing to work with a small sound to help another “Ghetto Youth Buss.” Anytime he took up the mic in a live dancehall session, excitement was sure to follow.
He adopted the name Sluggy Ranks as a means of “shooting the slugs of destruction, murder and chaos with righteousness, unity and forgiveness”.
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