I spy is a guessing game where one player (the spy or it) chooses an object within sight and announces to the other players that "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with...", naming the first letter of the object. Other players attempt to guess this object.
Snow grew up as Darrin O’Brien in Toronto, Canada. He was raised on classic rock, but after Jamaicans moved into his neighborhood, due to then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s revised immigration policies, reggae would became a huge part of his life. In 1992, while on vacation in Queens, New York, Snow met American rapper and record producer MC Shan, and the pair produced a four-song demo. MC Shan then introduced Snow to producer–managers Steve Salem and David Eng, who signed him to their Motor Jam Records company, and licensed the music to East West Records. Shortly thereafter, Snow began serving an eight-month sentence in Toronto for assault. "Informer" began getting radio and MuchMusic airplay while he was incarcerated.The song is based on a separate 1989 incident when Snow was charged with two counts of attempted murder. At the time, he was detained for a year in Toronto before the charges were reduced to aggravated assault, and he was eventually acquitted and freed.In a 1999 interview, he referred to his criminal history as "a couple of bar fights."
Many reggae purists viewed the song, along with the works of Ini Kamoze, Diana King, Shaggy and Shabba Ranks, as another example of "watered down" commercial reggae that rose to international popularity in the 1990s. The sketch comedy show In Living Color, in a mock video featuring Jim Carrey as Snow, famously parodied the song, retitled "Imposter", as well as society that was ready to oppose any Afro-American musicians in benefit of Caucasian protagonists and a culture of "one hit wonder" glamour, similar to his parody of Vanilla Ice. He also accuses Time Warner of hypocrisy in dropping Body Count due to their song "Cop Killer" while saying a "cop-hating" song like "Informer" was overlooked.
AllMusic editor Ron Wynn described the song as a "patois-laced single" and noted further that the song "shattered the myth that pop audiences wouldn't embrace any tune whose lyrics weren't in pristine English; when his video was released, it included a rolling translation at the bottom." Katrine Ring from Gaffa called it an "excellent pop-number". The Network Forty wrote in their review, "You'd swear you were listening to a Jamaican straight out of Kingston, but this 22-year-old white male hails from Toronto's ghetto. Along with mixer DJ Prince and record producer and rapper MC Shan, Snow creates a hooky low-groover with infectious Dancehall toasting." Orlando Sentinel labeled the track as "dancable". People Magazine said that Snow's "incarcerations flavor the pumped up, hip-hop-infused single "Informer"."
"Informer" is a 1992 song by Canadian reggae musician Snow from his debut album 12 Inches of Snow. Produced by MC Shan, who also contributed a rap verse, the single was a chart-topping hit, spending seven consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It was his biggest hit in the United Kingdom, where it reached number two, behind two different number-one singles. In 2007, the song was ranked number 84 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s. Conversely, the song was included in Pitchfork's 2010 list of "the seven worst U.S. number one singles of the 90s". The song is well known for the line "a licky boom boom down" and for Snow's fast toasting and often inaudible lyrics.
Directed by George Seminara, the video shows Snow entering a jail cell. His producer and friend, MC Shan, is also featured in the video; he explains how he got into prison by not turning informer. Shan is seen enjoying a sauna with a couple of women. There are bikini clad women throughout and Snow is accompanied by female dancers glossed in black and white. When first shown, the video had no subtitles, but they were added because few people could comprehend what Snow was saying.One of the dancers is Mona Scott, who would later go into music management, starting Violator Management. She would go on to become owner of Monami Entertainment.
Daddy Yankee featuring Snow – "Con Calma" / Daddy Yankee and Katy Perry featuring Snow – "Con Calma" (Remix)
In 2019, Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and rapper Daddy Yankee released a reimagination of "Informer" as "Con Calma" together with Snow, who recorded new parts. The Spanish-language remake topped the charts of 20 countries and reached the top 10 of 10 others.
American actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler danced to the song in the 2015 comedy Sisters. Singer Justin Timberlake and television host Jimmy Fallon included it in one of their “History of Rap” medleys on The Tonight Show. Canadian rapper Drake sang a portion of it during a recent Juno Awards tribute to Canadian music.