The annual "Flashback Night" has revived classic Caribbean sounds in South Florida for the past five years. After a packed edition last year at Cafe Iguana Pines, the event returns this year even bigger and better, at Revolution in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The guest performer of honor, as well, is a true coup for the night's promoters: Shabba Ranks.
These days, the connection between hip-hop and dancehall is a given, but a lot of that early marriage between genres can be credited to Ranks. Though toasting, or rapping, over reggae "riddims" had started in the '60s, he was one of the first to ride it to international commercial success. Ranks' rise to fame in the '80s paralleled that of hip-hop artists like KRS-One, and he used collaborations with them to ride a crossover wave. Interestingly, Ranks can also be indirectly credited with the birth of reggaeton. His 1991 track "Dem Bow" provided the early riddim of choice for the urban Latin genre, and its reverberations can still be heard on the radio everywhere today.