In a world which still tries to force the evil and false philosophy of white supremacy down the throat of the people, they would have us believe that Bob Marley is bigger than Reggae because of his white father. The truth is, while Bob Marley gained international fame and fortune from reggae music, he pales in comparison to some of the real geniuses of Reggae music.
Today we look at Steely and Clevie.
Tenor Saw was no doubt at the top of the pack during the digital dancehall era. Although Saw died prematurely at the tender age of 24, he left a mark in dancehall that can never be replaced, not even by his closest sound alike King Kong. Saw had more sound alike then any other dancehall artists.
While Sugar Minott is the main person responsible for Tenor Saw’s success, a lot of credit must be given to two of the greatest dancehall producers of all time, they are the duo known in dancehall as Steelie and Clevie.
It was Tenor Saw’s dancehall classic, Pumpkin Belly, on the Sleng Teng riddim, that inspired Steely and Clevie to go digital in the mid-1980s at the studios of Lloyd “King Jammy’s” James. There, they worked on a number of hit songs before formally launching as Steely and Clevie.
The early hits included Sorry by Foxy Brown, Ram Dance Hall by Tiger, Singing Melody’s Shower Me with Your Love, Murder Dem by Ninja Man, Caan Dun by Shabba Ranks and Cocoa Tea’s Come Back Sonia.
Later came Trailer Load and Ting A Ling from Shabba Ranks, When by Tiger, Mama by Baby Wayne, Double Trouble by Beres Hammond, Love Of A Lifetime by Junior Tucker, Love Is The Answer by Garnet Silk, Call The Hearse by Bushman, I’m Still In Love With You by Sean Paul and Sasha and No No No by Dawn Penn.
I’m Still In Love With You and No No No represented their love for rocksteady music from the 1960s. Both became hit songs in the United States; the latter, first done in 1967, dramatically revived Penn’s career and earned her a contract with a major US label.
They had promising careers prior to Steely and Clevie. Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson was a keyboardist with the hot Roots Radics Band, while Cleveland “Clevie” Browne is a member of the respected Browne musical family and played drums with the In Crowd band.
A double compact disc retrospective on their work, Steely and Clevie: Digital Revolution was released by VP Records in 2011. It contains 42 songs they worked on between 1989 and 2003.
Steely died from a heart attack, at age 47, in September 2009 in New York City
Clevie continues to be one of the most sought after producers today.
So why aren’t Steelie and Clevie talked about by Jamaicans the way Bob Marley is? Because their mothers and fathers were both Black so they never got the stamp of approval from white people. Unfortunately, most Black people (especially in Jamaica) only value what white people tell them is valuable.