Ini Kamoze – Wings With Me

16th October 2023 · 1980s, 1984, Music, Reggae

Jamaican dancehall star Ini Kamoze started out singing roots reggae long before he topped the charts with his signature song Here Come The Hotstepper.

I got into reggae alongside punk in the mid-to-late ’70s but my old friend Ben, who had gone to live in America in his late teens, discovered it several years later in San Francisco and New York.

By then reggae was evolving into dancehall and ragga, and it was his turn to introduce me to a new generation of Jamaican musicians like Yellowman, Shinehead and Ini Kamoze.

The latter would hit paydirt in the mid-90s as a muscular dreadlocked gangsta with Here Come The Hotstepper (“Murderer!”). It was quite the transformation.

A decade before that, Ini Kamoze was weedy and stick-thin, singing roots reggae like this.

Kamoze had made his recording debut in the early ’80s with a 12″ single called Trouble You A Trouble Me” on Taxi and found immediate success, going on to tour with Yellowman and Half Pint.

His career divides into several distinct period, the first having petered out by the late ’80s after a handful of hits – Shocking Out, Call The Police, Taxi With Me – and he abruptly disappeared from the music scene.

He returned in 1994 with a new, more aggressive image, and exploded back into the charts with Here Comes the Hotstepper (initially released on a reggae compilation album), aided by its appearance on the soundtrack of Robert Altman’s film Pret-A-Porter.

Produced by Salaam Remi, it was released as a single in 1995 and topped the US singles chart, reaching no.4 in the UK. He was all set for megastardom.

But once again he took a decade-long break soon afterwards, before reviving his stop-start career in 2006.