Thursday, May 12, 2022

Excerpts About The History Of Jamaica's Dancehall Reggae Music

Road Ready Mix, Mar 22, 2015

0:00  Super Cat --- Ghetto Red Hot

2:09  Chaka Demus & Pliers --- Bam Bam

3:47  Chaka Demus & Pliers Murder She Wrote

5:18  Shabba Ranks --- Caan Dun

7:30  Shabba Ranks --- Gal yu Good

9:00  Dirts Man --- Wait Deh Man

10:16 Nardo Ranks --- Dem a Bleach

10:58 Pan Head --- Punny Printer

11:51 Shaggy & Rayvon --- Big Up

13:00 Super Cat & Heavy D --- Them No Worry We

14:55 Super Cat --- Nuff Man a Dead

16:05 Shabba Ranks --- Trailor Load

17:45 Shabba Ranks --- Dem Bow

18:50 Talk Talk --- Life

20:04 Super Cat --- Don Dada

22:25 Ninja Man --- Ranking Meat

24:45 Chaka Demus --- Young Gal Business

26:23 Mad Cobra --- Yush

27:43 Shabba Ranks --- Don't Test Me

29:46 Nardo Ranks --- Burrup

30:50 Cutty Ranks --- Hot This Year*

32:03 Shabba Ranks --- Twice My Age

34:03 Shabba Ranks --- Roots and Culture

35:07 Reggie Stepper --- Kimbo King

36:26 Papa San --- Strange

38:05 Shabba Ranks --- Wicked in a Bed

39:45 Mad Cobra --- Tek Him

42:25 Shabba Ranks --- Mr Loverman

44:00 Super Cat --- Come Down

45:29 Tony Rebel --- Fresh Vegetable

47:15 Wayne Wonder and Don Youth --- Loving in Excess

48:40 JC Lodge --- Telephone Love

50:24 Shabba Ranks --- Hardcore Loving

53:24 Shabba Ranks --- Woman Mi Run Down

54:12 Ninja Man --- Test the power

55:15 Johnny Osborne --- No Ice Cream Sound

55:50 Super Cat  --- Stabin Cabin

57:32 Ninja Man --- Murder Dem

58:51 Mega Banton --- First Position

59:59 Tenor Saw --- Stalag Y2k

1:01:23 Tenor Saw --- Ring The Alarm

1:03:19 Sister Nancy --- Bam Bam

1:03:55 Super Cat --- Dolly My Baby

1:05:48 Super Cat --- Oh It's You

1:07:25 Shelly Thunder --- KUFF Riddim

1:09:19 Shabba Ranks --- Wicked Inna Bed

1:10:27 Super Cat, heavy D, Frankie Paul --- Big and Ready

1:12:41 Shabba Ranks --- Tell Me Which One

1:14:19 Shabba Ranks --- Girls Wine

1:15:44 Shabba Ranks --- Serious Time

1:16:48 Foxy Brown --- Sorry (Baby Can I Hold You Tonight)

1:18:52 Tony Rebel --- Chatty Chatty

1:20:15 Chaka Demus & Pliers --- Gal Wine

1:21:55 Super Cat --- Boops

1:23:38 Shabba Ranks - Shine And Criss

1:24:26 Super Cat --- Them No Care

1:25:45 Super Cat --- Crazy Love

*A number of commenters wrote that Dirtsman is the artist who recorded "Hot Dis Year" and not Cutty Ranks. 

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest revision- May 17, 2022

This pancocojams post presents some information about the history of Dancehall music. This post also showcases a YouTube sound file of a record mix of some Dancehall legends produced by Dj Nazty Nige.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and entertainment purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all past and present Dancehall artists. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to DJ Nazty Nige for his Dancehall mix that is embedded in this post.
Click for the pancocojams post entitled "
Dancehall Reggae Memories (Part I - Comments From The Caribbean)". Each of the posts in that series. includes links to the other posts in that series.


Excerpt #1
From "Rave, Rap and the Remix: The Jamaican Sound System’s Influence on Popular Music" By Patricia Meschino, 06/11/2015
"As thousands converged on the original Woodstock grounds in Bethel, N.Y. over Memorial Day weekend for the dance festival Mysteryland USA, another event took place simultaneously in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., celebrating the direct forerunner to the superstar EDM DJ: the Jamaican sound system selector.

The first annual World Sound System Festival, held at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium (May 22-23) featured 14 reggae and/or dancehall DJs (‘selectors,’ in Jamaican parlance) representing three generations and several locations throughout North America and the Caribbean. While Mysteryland mostly drew in 20- and 30-year-old Americans, the Sound System Festival pulled a largely Caribbean crowd of all ages, there to hear some of reggae’s greatest sound systems and selectors, including New York’s Downbeat The Ruler, Jamaica’s Silver Hawk, and Miami’s Waggy T. Irrespective of their backgrounds, attendees at both festivals were intently focused on the DJs — or the selectors — who embellished song choices with now-standard lighting choreography, raising their hands in the air and intermittently shouting out phrases to hype up audiences.


The sound system emerged in Jamaica in the late ’40s as an inexpensive form of entertainment within the poorest communities of downtown Kingston then spread across the island throughout the ’50s. The early sound systems (or sets) usually assembled in open-air spaces with a single turntable and (often) custom-built speakers and amplifiers to maximize the forceful bass lines in R&B, the preferred genre among the era’s sound system dance supporters. Sound system owners often traveled to the U.S. to purchase new records, and would promptly scratch off the labels to conceal the records’ identity from rival sets.

In the late ’50s, as American music segued from R&B into rock and roll, the supply of music favored by sound system patrons dwindled, spurring the development of Jamaica’s recording industry. The island’s indigenous genres, including ska, reggae, dub and dancehall, all developed from the sound system owners’ and selectors’ need for new and exclusive music to satisfy clienteles and to defeat competing sounds in heated battles (primarily musical, occasionally physical), referred to as clashes. Owners of top sound systems of the late ’50s through the mid-60s — Duke Reid (Trojan), Coxsone Dodd (Downbeat) and Prince Buster (Voice of the People) who played a pivotal role in the development of ska as an artist and producer — established individual labels, and started producing records backed by the island’s top musicians. The producers then played these songs at dances, all the while carefully scrutinizing audience reactions. “I started recording in 1963, and whenever Mr. Dodd would find a hit song, he would go cut a dub plate [a soft acetate], play it on his sound and then take it back home,” reminisced Freddie McGregor, 58, who recorded for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label, considered Jamaica’s Motown, as a child. “The audience would ask about the new songs and from their responses, Mr. Dodd knew what records he needed to press and how many copies.”

The sound system dance was the only place to hear these local recordings: despite their popularity, homegrown music was not yet played on the island’s radio stations, which instead adhered to play lists dominated by American pop.

Besides the selector, each sound system utilized the talents of a deejay whose animatedly rhymed introductions and playful boasts over a song’s instrumental break added to the excitement at the dance. The deejay’s uniquely cadenced patois delivery, referred to as toasting or deejaying, the Jamaican equivalent of rapping and the signature vocal approach in dancehall reggae, is heard on countless tracks throughout Jamaica’s recording history from U Roy, the first deejay to have a hit record in Jamaica, to contemporary stars like Assassin (featured on Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry”, which peaked at no. 66 on the Hot 100).

“Wherever Jamaicans have traveled since the ’50s, sound systems have been part of their luggage and legacy, significantly influencing music scenes in the US and throughout Europe,” comments Andrea Davis, founder of International Reggae Day.

In Kingston, an IRD panel discussion will highlight the sound system’s impact on Jamaica’s musical development with awards presented to several trendsetters within the sound system movement, including the venerable Stone Love, the host sound system at Kingston’s popular weekly dance Weddy Weddy Wednesday, still an important venue for breaking new hits; Merritone Disco, founded in 1950, the world’s oldest, continually operational sound system; Prince Buster, now 77, and veteran sound system owner/selector Lloyd “King Jammy” James, producer of the Sleng Teng riddim, so named for the riddim’s biggest hit, the late Wayne Smith’s “Under Mi Sleng Teng”. Jamaica’s digital revolution was launched in 1985, when Jammy debuted the Sleng Teng riddim on his sound system, King Jammy’s Super Power.

King Tubby’s creation of dub transformed the landscape of popular music, establishing the prototype for song remixing. The instrumental spaces built into Tubby’s dubs provided deejays an opportunity to develop toasting beyond just providing contrast to a singer’s vocals; Tubby’s dubs were also the precursor to hip-hop’s break beats. In the early ’70s, DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) set up his turntables, amplifiers and massive speakers (reminiscent of the sound systems he heard growing up in Kingston) for parties in the recreation room of his Bronx apartment building. He initially played reggae records — which were not well-received. He got a far better response by spinning hard funk and emphasizing the drum beat, switching from one break to another or using two copies of the same record to extend it. Meanwhile, his MC, Coke La Rock, rhythmically delivered catchphrases to a receptive audience, just like the sound system deejays had done in Jamaica for nearly 20 years. Stateside, this vocal approach was called rap. The hip-hop movement was born."...

Excerpt #2
From Dancehall: Everything you need to know about one of Jamaica’s most influential musical exports by Sharine Taylor, July 10, 2019

"Picture this: Jamaica in the late ’70s. A dance hall in the country’s capital of Kingston is filled to the brim with working class people. They’re dressed in their best, waiting for the selector and deejay to set the vibes. The selector spins an instrumental vinyl record, or what would later be referred to as a riddim in Jamaican parlance. The deejay, with a mic in hand, steps forward and begins to toast, delivering his best lyrical prose to a crowd that gets more excited with each and every bar laced with bravado.

To its patrons, it was a freeing and entertaining means to cast aside the burdens that economic hardships imposed on their lives. Who knew it would later transform into something much grander than a genre of music – functioning as a window giving outsiders a peek into the Jamaica beyond the resorts and beaches.

Dancehall’s roots began and were informed by the lived experience of Kingston’s lower and working class people. The music that came out of it was melodic narratives on how they navigated the space, but dancehall is as much about music as it is about the fashion, dance and art that surrounded it. It wasn’t just a genre, it was a way of life.

Prior to dancehall’s proliferation, ska, rocksteady, mento, American R&B and roots reggae were the styles of music that were most prominent across Jamaica, but in the late ’70s, a shift began with both the sound and lyrical content that then-emerging artists were crafting. Soundsystems and dance halls —physical areas designated for partying — were already fixtures in various communities in and around Kingston. Surrounded by food, alcohol and budding dancehall aficionados, a deejay would toast, or rather, speak over, a vinyl record, and sound clashes — competition between opposing local soundsystems — started to increase in popularity. As such, dancehall continued to grow and became a favorite amongst the masses, as everyday experiences and shared longing for a different life were transcribed into infectious and rhythmic musical arrangements.

The ’80s were a critical period that further defined the genre, distinguishing it from the conscious-minded reggae that preceded it. Informed by rastas and their beliefs in Rastafari, reggae spoke to black liberation and sovereignty with a desire to return home to the Motherland. Dancehall, reggae’s rebellious cousin, spoke to a different set of aspirations. Crass and unfiltered, the music was a score of the gritty realities of Kingston’s ghettos with themes that often explored the six G’s: gun, gyal, ghetto, gays, ganja and God. Matched with more uptempo cadences, the lyricism laced in dancehall’s records were as much grounds for hedonism as insight into Jamaica’s social climate. Records explored a variety of musings, often sharing crude truths about the conditions of Kingston’s poor, their connections to Jah (Rastafari for “God”), the medicinal and recreational benefits of smoking weed, the homophobia that gripped much of the nation, the violence people had to navigate and the plenty women they had or aspired to have.”….

Excerpt #3
"Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1970s.[4] Initially, dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, which had dominated much of the 1970s.[5][6] In the mid-1980s, digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably, with digital dancehall (or "ragga") becoming increasingly characterized by faster rhythms. Key elements of dancehall music include its extensive use of Jamaican Patois rather than Jamaican standard English and a focus on the track instrumentals (or "riddims").

Dancehall saw initial mainstream success in Jamaica in the 1980s, and by the 1990s, it became increasingly popular in Jamaican diaspora communities. In the 2000s, dancehall experienced worldwide mainstream success, and by the 2010s, it began to heavily influence the work of established Western artists and producers, which has helped to further bring the genre into the Western music mainstream.[7][8][9]"...

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome. 

No comments:

Post a Comment