Supercat: The Wild Apache of Dancehall

William Anthony Maragh, better known by his stage name Super Cat, stands as one of the most influential figures in the history of dancehall music. Born on June 25, 1963, in Kingston, Jamaica, Super Cat's journey through the music industry is a testament to his resilience, talent, and indomitable spirit. Known as "Wild Apache," a nickname given to him by his mentor Early B, Super Cat's contribution to the dancehall movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s remains unparalleled.

Early Life and Roots

Super Cat was born to a unique heritage, with an Afro-Jamaican mother and an Indo-Jamaican father. Raised in Kingston's Seivright Gardens, colloquially known as Cockburn Pen, he was immersed in a community brimming with musical pioneers like Prince Jazzbo and U-Roy. The vibrant musical environment of his neighborhood played a crucial role in shaping his early interest in music. At the tender age of seven, he was already assisting the Soul Imperial sound system at a local club called Bamboo Lawn, marking the beginning of his lifelong association with music.

The Birth of Super Cat

Initially performing under the moniker Cat-A-Rock, he soon adopted the name Super Cat. His debut single, "Mr. Walker," produced by Winston Riley in 1981, launched his recording career. However, his journey was not without its challenges. A period of incarceration briefly interrupted his career, but upon his release, he joined forces with Early B on the Killamanjaro sound system in 1984. This collaboration led to the release of his debut album, "Si Boops Deh!" in 1985. The album featured hit singles like "Boops" and "Cry Fi De Youth," which showcased his unique style of dancehall infused with conscious lyrics.

Rise to Prominence

Super Cat's success continued to soar with the establishment of his Wild Apache Productions label. He began producing his recordings, including the 1988 album "Sweets for My Sweet." His ability to blend authentic dancehall sounds with socially conscious messages resonated with a wide audience. In 1991, he collaborated with Nicodemus and Junior Demus on the album "Cabin Stabbin." Despite facing controversies, including being initially suspected but later cleared in the shooting death of fellow artist Nitty Gritty, Super Cat's career remained steadfast.

His move to the United States marked a significant turning point. Signing with Columbia Records, he released "Don Dada" in 1992, one of the first dancehall albums on a major label. The album featured hits like "Ghetto Red Hot" and "Dem No Worry We," solidifying his place in the music industry. His subsequent album, "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Crazy," released in 1993, saw him collaborating with Nicodemus, Junior Demus, and Junior Cat.

International Success and Collaborations

Super Cat's influence extended beyond the dancehall scene. His collaboration with Kris Kross on the remix of "Jump" in 1992 and their song "Alright" in 1993 brought him into the mainstream music spotlight. These successes earned him the title of The Source magazine's dancehall artist of the year in 1993. He also played a pivotal role in the early career of The Notorious B.I.G., featuring him on the remix of "Dolly My Baby" alongside Mary J. Blige and Puff Daddy.

Throughout the 1990s, Super Cat continued to make waves in the music industry. His version of Fats Domino's "My Girl Josephine," performed with Jack Radics, was featured in the soundtrack of the film "Prêt-à-Porter" in 1994. In 1997, he was featured on the hit single "Fly" by Sugar Ray. His collaborations with artists like India.Arie, Jadakiss, and 112 in the early 2000s further showcased his versatility and enduring appeal.

Legacy and Influence

Super Cat's influence on the music industry is undeniable. His ability to fuse dancehall with hip hop and R&B paved the way for the genre now known as reggae fusion. He was a pioneer in bringing dancehall to the international stage, collaborating with a diverse array of artists and leaving an unforgettable mark on the music landscape. His return to the national reggae scene in the late 2000s, including performances at Madison Square Garden and the 'Best of the Best' concert in Miami, reaffirmed his status as a dancehall legend.

In 2012, his song "Dance Inna New York" was sampled by Nas for the single "The Don," with Super Cat adding vocals to the hook. His surprise appearance at Massive B's on Da Reggae Tip concert in 2013 and his headlining performance at the Reggae on the Bay festival in Trinidad in 2014 highlighted his enduring appeal and influence.


Super Cat's journey from the streets of Cockburn Pen to international stardom is a story of talent, resilience, and innovation. As one of the greatest deejays in the history of Jamaican dancehall, his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists. Super Cat's contributions to the music industry have left a giant mark, making him a true icon in the world of dancehall and beyond.

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