Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Snow 'Informer (radio edit)'

Chart Peak: 2
YouTube
The exciting dancehall-hip-hop sound of Snow comes from Toronto, Canada... 'Informer', a massive No.2 hit in Britain in March 1993, is an autobiographical account of a time the police wrongfully accused Snow of a stabbing murder.
Yes they do specifically mention that it's the radio edit on the sleeve, though as far as I know it was edited for length rather than language since any rude words would likely as not be inaudible to most British listeners. This edit definitely does include the lyric "look up me bottom" (which even got a cheer on Top Of The Pops) although I have heard other versions that cut the word. Chris Moyles played such an edit once, pointing out blanking the word made it sound more obscene than it actually was.
Of course, 'Informer', edited or otherwise is not an easy record to take seriously, Few people's image of a reggae-rap crossover artist would be a white man from Canada, but here he is reeling off Jamaican patois. He even received the ultimate accolade of an unfunny parody by Jim Carrey. If anything, the notion of a white man making what would be considered underground black music was even more controversial in the days before Eminem, but to give him his due Snow didn't pretend to be anything he wasn't; obviously his very stagename foregrounded his ethnicity and he adopted a nerdy visual image. Whatever it is, 'Informer' isn't a novelty record and to my admittedly inexpert ears it doesn't seem particularly inauthentic either. It is a bit silly, but that's intrinsic to the musical style. It's not wholly surprising that it was his only Top 40 hit though.

There is a slight irony that although this song is about being falsely accused of a crime, at the time of its original North American release Snow was actually in prison for an assault that he presumably did do. By the time of the UK release he was able to come here and promote the track though.

Available on: Top 100 90s

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