Never let it be said I have a closed mind, though. I just sat down and checked out four of his LPs in a row. And… yeah OK, I was wrong to malign him – he definitely has his moments!
So here is my amateurish list of things I now know about him:
1. His vocal catchphrase is “Wab wab wab!” This is more effective than it sounds. It’s not as good as U-Roy’s trademark “heuuurgh!” but is a gazillion times better than Red Rat’s pathetic “oh no!”.
2. He’s at pains to mention how he’s lyrically versatile, but isn’t really. In fact his strength is in being instantly recognisable. Actually, banging on all the time about versatility becomes another catchphrase and so defeats the object, but it’s not like the public demands that Tiger chat about particle physics over Belle and Sebastian instrumentals.
3. “Bam Bam” is his best tune by a long way.
4. He always mentions Admiral Bailey first when he namechecks a list of foundation deejays.
5. He goes on about the Jamaican tourist industry a lot. I dunno if he believes in the trickle down effect or what, but you never got Saxon MCs busting out verses on the topic of poor quality hotdogs near the British Museum and how we need to protect the income tourists bring into the country.
6. He never mentions ganja or Jah.
7. His worst lyrics combine “one potato two potato” with “Swing low sweet chariot”. Thus wasting his chance to ride the “Full Up” riddim. Barrel scraping akin to whichever grime MC it was who came out with “oggy oggy oggy” when stuck for inspiration.
8. Whenever he mentions slackness it’s always his concerns about the effect that raw lyrics will have on the children.
9. Tiger + Jammys = righteous combination.
10. His 1989 “Tiger A Tiger” LP includes a bunch of boom bap hip hop bizniz. Usually this gets the needle off the record sharpish, but here it’s surprisingly effective.
Bonus clip of the man in action: