Kamoze’s single topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 as well as record charts in Denmark and New Zealand, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart when featured in the Prêt-à-Porter soundtrack.
In 1994, Kamoze released the song which would become his signature, “Here Comes the Hotstepper”.
Adopting another nickname from the song title, Kamoze would become known as the “Hotstepper”, from the patois for a man on the run from the law.
The song was originally recorded with Philip “Fatis” Burrell and later remixed by Salaam Remi, and initially featured on a reggae music compilation Stir It Up, released on the Epic label.
“Here Comes the Hotstepper” was not an entirely new composition, having roots in the song “Land of 1000 Dances”, which was a number one R&B hit for Wilson Pickett in 1966 and was first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962 and reprised in 1963 by Fats Domino.
The remixed version of the track also incorporates the bass line from Taana Gardner’s 1981 single “Heartbeat”.
The song appeared on the soundtrack to the fashion-industry satire feature film Prêt-à-Porter.
“Here Comes the Hotstepper” remains Kamoze’s only US number one hit (see Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1994).
Both the riddim (known as “World Jam”) and the hook of Damian Marley’s 2005 hit “Welcome to Jamrock” were sampled from Kamoze’s 1984 track “World-A-Music”.
The opening line — “Out in the streets, they call it merther” — has been sampled in countless drum and bass and dubstep tracks.
His dub version of “Here Comes the Hotstepper”, otherwise known as “I’m Steppin’ it Hotter This Year”, released in 1993, remains a dancehall anthem.
Kamoze is the son of a tough police superintendent dubbed “The Scorpion”, and a factory worker mother.
He was born in a seaside shack in Oracabessa, Jamaica.
His mother, in a fit of anger over not hearing from his father, placed the infant in a cardboard box and left him at the gate of another female acquaintance (of his dad) in a Kingston ghetto called Jones Town.
The woman, Miss Ette, still claims him as her little son.
As a young boy, Kamoze was sent to live with his grandfather, where he showed great promise and was touted to become the doctor of the family.
Kamoze moved to the politically charged Spanish Town area and took to the Rastafarian way of life.
Years later he would point to this as what saved him, after asking an acquaintance from his old neighborhood for seven youths he ran with and learned that six of them had met violent deaths.
Encouraged by a newscaster, the late Leo Ferguson – who always took him to Radio Jamaica – Kamoze pushed himself as a playwright (his hit comedy “The Runnings” was talked about for a long time).
He wrote a picture history book; “Port Royal: the Richest and Wickedest City on Earth”, and crafted his singer/songwriter skills.
Many would later tout him as one of the best songwriters out of Jamaica.