The Unlikely Return of Super Cat, Reggae’s Last Don Standing

Previous October in Brooklyn, a minimal immediately after 10 P.M., boxing champ Cletus Seldin—known locally as “The Hebrew Hammer”—successfully defended his NABA super lightweight title, defeating Brazil’s William Silva with a knockout in the 7th spherical. The K.O. was the cue that the members of the Wild Apache band—an all-star workforce of some of Jamaica’s very best musicians, pulled with each other from bands like Ruff Kut and Metropolis Heat—had been waiting around for. They took up their instruments and begun to perform.

The location was Barclays Heart the situation, an party dubbed the TrillerVerz III. It was an extravaganza combining four independent boxing bouts with a unusual live performance headlined by the legendary reggae deejay Super Cat, and the to start with of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s famed Verzuz sequence to relaxation on a solo performance. It could be argued, though, that Super Cat—born William Anthony Maragh in the hard Cockburn Pen part of Kingston, Jamaica—could hold his individual in a Verzuz from any of his friends. His lyrical fight from Ninjaman at Jamaica’s yearly Sting Competition in 1991 was the stuff where dancehall legends are made.

When Cat stepped onto the stage at Barclays—in a crisp, cream-and-black pinstripe fit with gold one-way links and a diamond-encrusted pet tag in area of a necktie, and a matching white borsalino tilted on his head—it had been 8 many years due to the fact he previous carried out reside. He performed a handful of reveals in 2013 right before that, it experienced been an additional ten a long time. Around all those two a long time, Tremendous Cat sightings were few and considerably in between, and musical releases were minimal to the occasional however really-prized dub plate.

Image: Martei Korley

Cat is some thing of a Very last Gentleman Standing in reggae audio, one of a kind even among the Mount Rushmore of reggae’s excellent performers. Owning reduce his enamel as a live deejay for different sound programs in the ‘70s and releasing his to start with 45 in 1981—the really calendar year Bob Marley passed— Cat is a person of a literal handful of reggae artists continue to carrying out who bridges the period of roots reggae and electronic dancehall. There are a several singers, like Junior Reid, Cocoa Tea, and Barrington Levy, who have created hits in both eras and however at times touch the stage. There is the famous roots band Third Planet. And, amid deejays, there is Super Cat.

A slate of headlining appearances adhering to the Verzuz implies that Tremendous Cat is completely ready to mount a comeback. To start with, Cat touched the phase at a multi-day Beach Retreat Weekend in the Florida Keys more than Thanksgiving Weekend. Then he introduced his impending effectiveness at Reggae Enjoy Fest, a veritable Buena Vista Social Club of fellow dancehall veterans (together with Shabba Ranks, Dawn Penn, Barrington Levy, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Cutty Ranks, and Junior Reid) scheduled to acquire spot Might 27th at Radio Town Audio Hall.