Sister Nancy at the time was a young, and primarily unknown artist outside of Jamaica, but her debut record originally released in 1982 contained a track that would be sampled in well over 100 different songs since its release.
Focusing more on the record One Two, the 10-track LP is a fantastic dive into the Dancehall Reggae performances of slowed-down grooves and heavy focus on the bass and percussive pieces. Sister Nancy who was born Ophlin Russell is the center spotlight and is the main MC throughout One Two.
Her introduction is a powerhouse on the title track, “One Two” where Sister Nancy is able to rip lyrically with confidence and protruding strength. The shining jewel is how the movement is always present in One Two and there is rarely a period where the feet stop. While “One Two” opens to be a shuffle rather than controlling performance, the following track “Ain’t No Stopping Nancy” becomes a favorite for its grasp that Sister Nancy displays.
“Ain’t No Stopping Nancy” has this pushing groove on the bass from Errol “Flabba” Holt and these piano keys that pluck along like a playful bounce. When Sister Nancy finally jumps into the frame, she shouts almost immediately using scat singing and onomatopoeia to fill gaps between her verses and lines.
She begins, “Said, there ain’t – ain’t no stopping Nancy, Bang! Bangadang! Because I’ve been DJ’ing from I was 15 years old. Tell them, heel them!” As the instrumentation adds more percussion and bass into the mix, Sister Nancy uses this to orchestrate and add vitality to her first verse.
Illustrating, “Ain’t no stopping Nancy now, me lawyer say, there ain’t no stopping Nancy now. I tell and I say, my father is a farmer, everyday him gone plow.” Sister Nancy continues on, “And when him go a yard, him gone. Buy pick-a-pow, hey. Him and me mother start yeah, me tell them, him and me mother start, yeah.”
Of course, eventually, One Two comes to the track that made Sister Nancy into the instantly recognizable influence, “Bam Bam.” Sampled at the end of Ye’s “Famous,” used in “Bam” by Jay-Z, and even “Lost Ones,” by Lauryn Hill. The original from Sister Nancy immediately forces a smile to the face. Her vocals are precious here and bump into the speakers almost as if it was a birth of a sound.
The beauty of One Two shows that even through age, the power of performance and the story of Sister Nancy continues to be one of success after so much time. But even when the sun fades, “Pegion Rock” is one last splash of sunshine over the listener.
The percussion here is important to focus on for a moment as the snare becomes reverbed and echoes behind Sister Nancy’s glowing vocals. The pure distinction behind the low-tuned bass and the percussion bounces energy from Sister Nancy and back to the band. Flourishes of horns flash like oil in a hot pan and create a roar of life into the mix. One Two uses “Pegion Rock” as a method to blast one more ecstatic thrill before disappearing into the Kingston streets once more.