AT the recent staging of the 64th Grammy Awards, a bit of Jamaican flavour made its way onto the main stage during the performance of Colombian singer J Balvin’s In Da Getto.
In Da Getto heavily samples In De Ghetto, a 1993 hit single by DJ/remixer David Morales featuring the Bad Yard Club and Delta Bennett. Bennett, whose vocals are heard throughout the performance, hails from Vineyard Town in east Kingston. She currently resides in Florida.
The Bad Yard Club was an outfit comprising Jamaican musicians and producers Handel Tucker (keyboards) and Sly Dunbar (drums). Both share co-writing credits on the song.
Tucker, whose credentials consist of several names in contemporary reggae, shared excitement about his work being showcased on the Grammy stage almost 30 years after it was recorded.
“Wow, it’s amazing. The sample is interesting and it has a nice vibe. People are really relating to it,” Tucker told the Jamaica Observer.
The original In De Ghetto featured the vocals of Bennett, who most persons had no idea was Jamaican. The song, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Dance Music Club Play chart, was among five songs recorded for and included on the debut album The Program by David Morales and The Bad Yard Club in 1993. It was released by Mercury Records.
Tucker recalled working on the project.
“David Morales is a DJ and he had a deal with Mercury Records, so they sent him to Jamaica to work with me and Sly. David had worked with us before, he remixed one of our projects, Housecall (Your Body Can’t Lie to Me) by Shabba Ranks and Maxi Priest. David said: ‘I’m here and I didn’t come with any samples or ideas. I want what you guys have’. So, we brought in Papa San. Stanryck was under my umbrella with me at the time,” said Tucker.
“And then I said to Sly that I’ve always wanted to merge the slow kette vibe over the whole double rhythm thing of dance music. So, we got this guy, Harry T, and we made this instrumental. Patra said to me one day that she had a friend named Delta who could sing and she wanted me to give her an opportunity because she can sing. When the project came up, I contacted Delta. We took David Morales around to Vineyard Town and introduced him to Delta and I told him I wanted her on the project. She came late to the session at Mixing Lab studio but I gave her this idea ‘dance inna de ghetto’. We had the part about rucumbine inna di ghetto, slide and wine and that was the original track... We had all of the songs that we did in Jamaica featured on the album, The Program featuring Papa San and Stanryck; Stanryck also did Sunshine and Beautiful Thing; there was Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo) with Papa San, and In De Ghetto with Delta.”
The Program featuring Papa San and Stanryck shot to number one on the Billboard Dance Music Club Play chart in December 1993. A few months earlier, Gimme Luv (Eenie Meenie Miny Mo) achieved similar success.
A remix of In De Ghetto was released in 1996 featuring the vocals of dance music sensation Crystal Waters and it went to 20 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart and number 35 on the Official UK Singles chart.
Born in Brown’s Town, St Ann, Tucker attended Knox College. He started out performing in bands on the hotel circuit, and later formed his own band Scotch Bonnet. He also joined The We the People Band and later the 809 band. He ventured into production in the mid-1980s when he worked on songs by ET Webster and his cousin, singer Junior Tucker’s Don’t Test album for Virgin Records.
Tucker’s magic touch is also evident on Maxi Priest’s Bonafide album; Shabba Ranks and Maxi Priest’s Housecall (keyboard); Flex by Mad Cobra (keyboard); and Diana King’s debut album Tougher than Love (production credits). He also wrote the track Just a Little Bit Longer for Maxi Priest.
In Da Getto by J Balvin and Skrillex was released on July 1, 2021. Released via Universal Music Latino as the fifth single from J Balvin’s album Jose.
The song hit number one on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart, number one in Colombia, number two on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, and number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted in France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. It has, so far, been certified 2x platinum Mexico, gold in France, and Portugal, platinum in Spain and Italy.
Tucker said the paperwork for clearance in J Balvin using the In De Ghetto sample was taken care of.
“Yes, everything is above board and done before the release,” said Tucker.