Clifton "Specialist" Dillon

b. July 1960, Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. Dillon initially set up his own Specialist sound system and, inspired by the efforts of Coxsone Dodd, resolved to set up his own record label. He found…
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Artist Biography

b. July 1960, Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. Dillon initially set up his own Specialist sound system and, inspired by the efforts of Coxsone Dodd, resolved to set up his own record label. He found employment at the Music Works studios where he studied record production under the tutelage of Gussie Clarke. Initially Dillon released a few local hits on his Pioneer Muzik label before he relocated to Chicago, USA. He soon established his career when he set up the Solid Gold sound system that subsequently won the Chicago International Reggae Award for Best Discotheque. Dillon maintained his Jamaican dancehall connection by recruiting artists such as Shabba Ranks, Patra and Mad Cobra to his newly formed Shang enterprise. The partnership proved beneficial to all parties. In his role as the executive producer of Ranks’ X-Tra Naked, Dillon was directly involved in the DJ winning two Grammys and his subsequent international chart success. The market leaders included a remake of ‘Mr Loverman’ and the combination hit with Maxi Priest, ‘Housecall’. Curiously the original ‘Mr Loverman’ had been recorded at Music Works with Clarke, while the remake was a joint production with his old alumni Mikey Bennett.

Dillon continued to enjoy a high profile when he was involved in the production of international hits for Patra (‘Worker Man’), Mad Cobra (‘Flex’), Eddie Murphy (‘I Was A King’) and Buju Banton’s controversial ‘Boom Bye Bye’. As a result of their success Shang opened offices in Miami and Kingston, where Dillon released tracks from artists such as Trinity, Dillinger, Ghost, Red Dragon, Bounty Killer and Terror Fabulous. While successful in the music industry Dillon harboured further aspirations, setting his sights on the movie industry. He secured contracts for Ky-mani to feature on a number of soundtracks including Money Talks andSenseless. Ky-mani then obtained the role of Biggs in the movie Shottas, a story of two youths struggling to survive in the streets of Kingston. Shang produced the soundtrack with performances from Elephant Man, Baby Cham, Wyclef Jean and Spragga Benz who played Ky-mani’s sparring partner, Wayne. In 2001 Dillon repeated his success at the Grammys when Ky-mani was accredited for Many More Roads. Dillon is acknowledged as the man who brought dancehall music to the international market and regarded an inspiration to all Jamaican hopefuls.