Spragga Benz

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About Spragga Benz

Jamaican dancehall artist Spragga Benz has so much charisma that he practically leaps out of the speakers any time a hit like “She Nuh Ready Yet” or “Tings a Gwan” comes on. Building on a swell of regional acclaim in the early ’90s, the toaster used his booming voice and savvy ear to help build links between dancehall, American rap, and other styles. Carlton Grant was born in Kingston in 1969; as a kid, his lanky build earned him the nickname Spaghetti, which later morphed into the stage name Spragga. In 1992, he got his first chance at toasting as a member of the L.A. Benz sound system when Buju Banton urged him to freestyle over a couple tracks in a dubplate recording session—a one-off that led to “Love Mi Gun” and “Jack It Up,” singles that showed off Benz’s inimitably elastic vocals. After a brief partnership with Columbia Records in the mid-’90s, he went on to explore a variety of styles, releasing a 1999 soundclash album alongside Beenie Man, a 2000 full-length coproduced by New York house innovator Todd Terry, and singles featuring rappers Foxy Brown, Wyclef Jean, and KRS-One. Benz’s easy charms continue to shine on his 2019 comeback album, Chiliagon.

Kingston, Jamaica
May 30, 1969
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