For Ini Kamoze, the road to success has been arduous and he has undergone many substantial changes musically and physically since he burst onto the music scene in 1983 with his highly successful eponymous debut album for Island. Known as "The Hotstepper," Kamoze advocates change through what he calls "intelligent and constructive militancy" rather than random acts of violence.
Kamoze made his recording debut in the early '80s with a 12" single "Trouble You a Trouble Me" on Taxi and found immediate success. He then began touring as part of the Taxi Connection International Tour with Yellowman and Half Pint. During this time, Kamoze was 6' tall, reed thin and appeared too frail to contain his powerful stage presence. He followed up his first album success with Pirate, but the recording received mixed reactions and wasn't as successful. Kamoze then retaliated with several hit singles recorded on his Slekta label. One of the biggest hits from this period was "Shocking Out" which was eventually picked up by the RAS label in 1988. In 1985, Kamoze had greater success with Settle with Me, which produced such hits as "C all the Police" and "Taxi with Me." By 1988, Kamoze's successes became intermittent and his career erratic. Kamoze suddenly disappeared from the music scene. He returned with a new, more aggressive image in 1994, signing to Sony and exploded back into the charts with "Here Comes the Hotstepper." The song made its debut on the compilation reggae album Stir It Up from Columbia, and then showed up on the soundtrack of Robert Altman's feature film Pret-A-Porter. Produced by Salaam Remi, it was released as a single in 1995 and spent two weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot Singles Chart, and nearly four months appearing on various other charts. Kamoze made a video for the song and with his beefy, well-muscled physique and long dreadlocks, no longer fit the description of the liner notes on his 1983 debut album that characterized him as a "pencil thin....disentangled....six-foot vegetarian." With the success of his new single, Kamoze was now a gangster and began a series of promotional tours in LA. Kamoze refused to categorize his music and remained open to singing a variety of songs from different sources, but he took a decade long break before surfacing again. When he did, it was with Debut, a 2006 album that featured rerecordings of his early hits. ~ Sandra Brennan