Ten things I have recently discovered about ragga MC Tiger

I’d always dismissed Tiger as both annoying and generic. Droid and Martin consider this to be further evidence of my incurable dibby dibby soundbwoy-ness.

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:


  1. LOL Droid and Martin are indeed correct.

    Like most artists from the 80s, Tiger was an on-stage phenomenon. He was the original energy god. Find footage of him live or a live recording of him on Black Star sound system (there is a 4 the hardway clash from 1985 involving Black Star that is one of the all time classic sound system tapes and Tiger is the standout deejay.) His first LP is a classic. How on earth could you call Tiger generic??? Listen back to a Silverhawk tape, his dubplates cause DAMAGE. He is one of the greatest most original deejays ever to touch the mic, PLUS he could sing (his initial foray into music was as a singer). It’s a shame his career was stopped short because of the accident.

    Still, I saw him just recently at the Reeewind event here in BK with a whole heap of veterans and he’s still a lot of fun and entertaining.

  2. number 11, he appears on Paul STN’s absolute favourite record of all tim: She Give Me Hiccup by Tiger and Gregory.

  3. Glad to see you’re finally coming around John. Bam Bam aint his best track though. Id say its between “no wanga gut, ‘crying fool’, ‘robot’, ‘bad boy style’, ‘presto’… actually, theres too many to mention.

    I don’t think you’ve got the best LPs, the Ras one (mi name tiger), and the penthouse one (deadly) are fantastic did you get the techniques set?

    Ive never heard him do straight singing on vinyl – that yellowman v tiger LP is the earliest thing I have by him and there’s a few I-Roy style cuts on there that sound nothing like him…

  4. you completely forget that Tiger’s got humor (unlike most musicians/dj’s etc.nowadays) and also you forget to mention When, an absolute killer dancehall classic (Steelie & Clevie production)

  5. John hates ‘When’…

    When I said above Id never heard Tiger do straight singing – I forgot about ‘Loveline’ on Spiderman. Great tune.

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