Dancehall Icons- Eek-A-Mouse

Eek-A-Mouse was always a unique performer with an often branded biazzre or ludicrous style. Eek-A-Mouse was far from just a novelty act, credited with the creation of the singjay, Eek-A-Mouse is a true dancehall innovator. His impact is still felt in dancehall today and his timeless songs with live on forever. 

Eek-A-Mouse was born Ripton Hylton on the 19th of November 1957 in Kingston. Eek-A-Mouse began his career in music whilst he was still at college, with his first two roots reggae singles ‘My Father’s Land’ and ‘Creation’ (both released under his birth name) being produced by his mathematics teacher, Mr Dehaney.

These singles were not as well received by the Jamaican public as Eek-A-Mouse had hoped. Not discouraged he continued releasing singles and working with local soundsystems, still working under his real name.

At the time, he was only known as Eek-A-Mouse to his friends, as that was the name of the racehorse that he kept throwing away his money on. The name stuck and by 1979 he had adopted it as stage name.

That same year Eek-A-Mouse went into the studio with Joe Gibbs and produced his first sizeable hit record “Once A Virgin”.

Quickly followed up by the hits ‘Wa Do Dem’ and ‘Modelling Queen’, and his debut album ‘Bubble Up Yu Hip’ in 1980, Jamaica was quickly being taken over by Eek-A-Mouse fever.

Before 1980 had ended, Eek-A-Mouse had joined forces with Junjo Lawes and remixer Scientist. Backed by the Roots Radics, Eek-A-Mouse recorded ‘Virgin Girl’, ‘Noah’s Ark’ and rerecorded ‘Wa Do Dem’. The rerecorded version of ‘Wa Do Dem’ did the trick and established Eek-A-Mouse’s unique sound, which mixed deejaying, singing and some sometimes disconcerting noises.

Eek-A-Mouse stole the show at 1981’s Reggae Sunsplash with the island reeling after the loss of Bob Marley, Eek-A-Mouse’s unique sound proved to provide the island with the emotional release it desperately needed.

Eek-A-Mouse saw out 1981 with the holiday hit ‘Christmas A Come’.

1982 was the year of the Mouse, with Eek-A-Mouse releasing a slew of hit records with ‘Wild Like A Tiger’, ‘For Hire and Removal’ , ‘Do You Remember’ and ‘Ganja Smuggling’ all being released in 1982. Eek-A-Mouse also released the genre classic ‘Wa Do Dem’ album which compiled most of these hits and more.

Eek-A-Mouse also went on to prove there was more than his unique style to his act on ‘Operation Eradication’ which was inspired by the tragic vigilante killing of his close friend and fellow deejay Errol Scorcher.

Yet another classic Reggae Sunsplash performance followed in 1982.

‘Skidip’ was released before the year was out, which was less hit driven than it’s predecessor, but still added to the impressive catalogue of music Eek-A-Mouse was starting to build.

More hit singles followed in 1983, as well as the release of another classic album ‘Mouse and The Man’, which was again produced by Linval Thompson and backed by the Roots Radics.

‘Mouseketeer’ followed in 1984, produced by Junjo Lawes, including several hits, whilst taking on contemporary issues and addressing the fans’ number one question on ‘How I Got My Name’.

1985 saw Eek-A-Mouse release his first album in the US with ‘Assassinator’. With quite depressing and dark themes it is quite an odd album to experience due to Eek-A-Mouse’s at time biazzre delivery.

Eek-A-Mouse eventually found his international audience amongst the rock crowd, with his first serious attempt to address this audience coming on ‘The King and I’ which was recorded in the UK with producer Cliff Carnegie.

It was on 1988’s ‘Eek-A-Nomics’ when Eek-A-Mouse started to get an even bigger reception from this crowd, bolstered by the hit single ‘The Freak’ which was Eek-A-Mouse’s own version of the Addams Family theme song.

Eek-A-Mouse signed to Island Records in 1989 and even secured a role in the new film ‘New Jack City’.

1991’s ‘U-Neek’ album followed on Island, which would be Eek-A-Mouse’s first and last album on the label, with Eek-A-Mouse trying even harder to crossover into the rock crowd on this album, highlighted by a cover of Led Zeppelin’s own attempt at reggae ‘D’Yer Maker’

U-Neek also spawned the hit single ‘You’re The Only One I Need’ which was the real highlight of the album.

It wasn’t until 1996 that Eek-A-Mouse would release another album with ‘Black Cowboy’, after a few years of relative quietness on the scene.

Eek-A-Mouse will always be remembered for his unique style, his catchphrases and timeless hits. Whether you love or hate his style you can’t discredit the impact he has had on dancehall, birthing the singjay style which has since become one of the most popular forms of dancehall. Eek-A-Mouse is a dancehall innovator and icon; and is often not treated as such, often being discredited for his sometimes biazzre style. Eek-A-Mouse changed dancehall and his influence on the sound and direction of dancehall can never be discredited, he is an icon in the truest sense. 

Check out more of Eek-A-Mouse’s music below

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