|Red Rat (real name Wallace Wilson) stormed the charts and created quite a buzz in the dance halls around the globe when he emerged on the scene in 1996. The teenage dancehall star had instant success with singles like "Shelly Ann", "Tight Up Skirt" and "Dwayne", and it was reported that U.K. teens in the throes of Red Rat rapture forced performance venue escapes a la Elvis Presley. After the release of his second album "I'm A Big Kid Now" in 2000, he withdrew from the music scene for 2 years because of his daughter Taiye, as he wanted her to know who her father was. In 2002 Red Rat and his manager, Delroy Escoffery of D'Empire Management, founded Rat-A-Kastle Records, and he started doing back some songs as well as producing other artists. While awaiting his forthcoming album, Greensleeves (the label that released Red Rat's two massive selling albums) unleashes a compilation set in their "Monsters Of Dancehall" series, which gives the true fans the biggest selection of one of the most original stars of Dancehall, covering Red Rat's entire recording career from tracks taken from his albums to hit singles "Bruks Mi Ducks" featured on Greensleeves' "Ragga Ragga Ragga" & "Sampler" series. Also outstanding cuts from Rhythm albums including "Curfew" and "Bun Dem" through to "Left Foot In" produced by Curtis Lynch Jnr and the current air play hit "Wine Pon Me" produced by Miami's Blackout Movements.|
"Yo you [skin] red and you look like a rat!" In 1996 Wallace Wilson was about to emerge on the International stage as one of Jamaica's most versatile and exciting performers when he heeded then label mate Degree's point-blank observation and Red Rat was born.|
Wallace Wilson aka Red Rat was born January 17th into a musical family in tourist area of St. Anns Bay, Jamaica. His father used to play guitar for Byron Lee, while his older brother plays bass for Jimmy Cliff and Diana King. Another brother used to play drums for Dennis Brown. Incredibly, his first performance was at the age of four, "My brothers used to play in the hotels. They called me onstage and I started singing a Michael Jackson song, yeah 'ABC!'" The audience went wild and Red Rat was hooked.
Red Rat's recording debut "Can't Live Without You" with his brother's band brought him to the attention of Danny Browne the producer/musician CEO of Main Street Records. Impressed by the young performer's musical abilities and natural stage charisma, Browne mentored Red Rat allowing him to nurture his talent and gain valuable experience alongside Main Street artists such as Degree, Buccaneer and Papa San.
While still in school Red Rat recorded his first single "Itsy Bitsy" for Browne's Main Street Records, however on his father's insistence he decided to put his career on hold until completing his education. In 1996 after graduating from Meadowbrook High Red Rat under the watchful eye of Browne moved full steam ahead releasing a string of hit singles including "Shelly-Ann" and "Dwayne" that catapulted him to the top of Reggae charts Worldwide while showcasing his unmistakable voice, unique sense of humor and his unforgettable trademark "Oh-No!"
Red Rat's debut album "Oh No....It's Red Rat!" quickly became one of Greensleeves Records greatest selling albums with hits such as "Tight Up Skirt", "Cruise" (featured in the movie 'The Big Hit') and "Big Man Little Yute." The album's success, steady radio play and demand for his outrageous live performances led to shows all over the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.
"I'm a Big Kid Now" followed in 1999 with more hits and critical acclaim. His musical diversity and mainstream popularity led to a series of collaborations with artists such as Treach of Naughty by Nature, Kele Le Roc and British icons Groove Armada. Following the success of his sophomore album Red Rat decided to take a break from recording to spend time with his daughter Taiye while producing other artists.
The buzz from fans anticipating a new album inspired Red Rat to return to the studio. Red Rat immediately began recording new tracks in Holland, Germany, the U.K., Jamaica and the U.S. with chart-topping producers including Scott Storch, Salaam Remi and Cool and Dre. The tracks from the forthcoming album reflect a new direction for the artist, who has once again redefined his style. Fans won't be disappointed; the slamming hype and humor are all there, and so is a more seasoned and mature Red Rat.
Red Rat is a versatile Dancehall/reggae entertainer, who is currently residing in Miami working on a new album. We managed to get hold of him for an interview to catch up and feel his vibe as a more grown up artist with the release of this Monsters of Dancehall (Best of) album.
Q: What does it mean to you to be on Greensleeves fourth Monsters of Dancehall release, with names like Beenie Man and Elephant Man?
A: Meh feel honoured I in Monster release and that Greensleeves feel I be a force to reckon with. It's a great privilege for me.
Q: Who is Shelly Ann?
A: Shelly Ann is a friend of mine from school.
Q: Your image is like no other in the dancehall scene, with its very high energy. Is it hard to maintain this demeanour when fans expect it?
A: Only I can be Red Rat and my fans love me for that. You have to stay true to yourself, for your fans to respect you.
Q: Your website has been going since 2002. Do you feel it's helped develop you as an artist to your fans?
A: Definitely. Music and the Internet are wat it bout these days, you know? Websites help artist to develop and this be true to me. It's a new age of music. You know what I mean?
Q: Have you got any new artists on your record label with a buzz?
A: Yeah, we have lots of artists. I have this girl, Stacious who one best new artist in Jamaica. She a stunning artist. Check her out. I'm always working with other artists.
Q: Where is your focus at the moment?
A: Meh focus man, its 100% in Red Rat.
Q: Which up and coming shows are you looking forward to playing at?
A: I look forward to all my shows. I love performing to meh fans. It's my job you know, I go out and give it everything to please the fans.
Q: Where does all your humour and energy come from?
A: It come from my late father, who recently passed away (god bless). He was the same way, a very funny man. I love meh music and that comes out in me when I perform.
Q: You have said in the past that your most memorable performance was Nottinghill carnival. Is this still the case or have you had a greater experience due to the increase in your popularity?
A: Ya man, it still be. As well as my first show in Africa and Costa Rica. They be the shows that stand out in my head the most. I never forget them.
Q: What kind of audience do you envision when you write your songs?
A: Meh not really sure. I just want to make it as clean as possible, so all generations can appreciate it man, you no?
Q:: Is there any one you haven't worked with and would like to?
A: Ya, loads. Eminem, Dre, Michael Jackson; there be lots man.
Q: Any one at this particular time?
A: Ya, I'm looking to do some work with Akon. That is in pipeline but we just have to see what come along.
Q: I'm going to ask you a few quick fire questions, ok? Books or Magazines?
Q: Adidas or Nike?
Q: Sean Paul or Shaggy?
Q: Jamaica or America?
Q: Thank you for speaking with us Rat. Your fans will appreciate it and hopefully enjoy the compilation album. Respect.
Biography & interview provided by Greensleeves Records|