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Mr. Vegas

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He catapulted to the top of the Jamaican charts in 1997 with the dancehall boomshots “Heads High” and “Nike Air”, his distinctive vocals fusing melodious singing with precision deejaying (rapping). Since then he has built an international fan base with hit singles like “Pull Up”, “Tamale” and “Hot Gal Today” but it is on his latest CD “Constant Spring” that Mr. Vegas’ spectacular sing-jay approach and cleverly crafted lyrics dazzle with the intensity of an evening in, well, Las Vegas.

Born Clifford Smith in Kingston, Jamaica, he was given the nickname Mr. Vegas by his cousin for the neon pink shorts he wore on the football field; in addition to his athletic skills Mr. Vegas also demonstrated musical talents early on. However an unfortunate dispute over the ownership of a DAT resulted in Vegas being hit in the jaw with an iron pipe; after the assault Vegas’ mouth was wired shut so he was forced to create a unique method of vocalizing through his teeth. That style was first heard on “Nike Air”, the song that initially positioned Vegas on the dancehall charts. Characterized by uplifting lyrics aimed (especially) at young women, he followed “Nike Air” with another affirming and very appealing tune “Heads High” which reached number one in Jamaica, hit the British Top Ten and found its way onto several urban stations across America.

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