Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Reggae

Socially conscious singers hit version of Young, Gifted and Black reached No 5 in the UK charts with duo Bob and Marcia

Bob Andy, the reggae vocalist who performed a hit version of Young, Gifted and Black as part of the duo Bob and Marcia, has died aged 75 after a short illness.

His death was confirmed by his collaborator on that song, Marcia Griffiths, who told the Jamaica Observer he died at 8am on Friday 27 March.

Bob & Marcia reached No 5 in the UK in 1970 with Young, Gifted and Black, an uptempo recording of the Nina Simone original. They also reached No 11 in 1971 with Pied Piper, which spent 13 weeks in the charts.

Andy was born Keith Anderson in Kingston, Jamaica, and began his career in the groups the Binders and the Paragons before going solo in the mid-1960s. Recording in the legendary Studio One under producer Coxsone Dodd, he cut songs that would become reggae standards, such as Ive Got to Go Back Home and Too Experienced.

He also wrote songs that would be recorded by reggae stars including Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson, along with solo numbers for Griffiths, although their partnership ended when she joined the I Threes, Bob Marleys group of backing vocalists.

Young, Gifted and Black was just one of his socially conscious songs. Others, such as Fire Burning and Check It Out, castigated capitalism and the ruling classes. But he suffered from health issues, including migraines, and put music to one side for a number of years from the late 1970s onwards, broadening into acting. He also became an A&R for Tuff Gong records, the label founded by Marley.

As his health improved, Andy returned to music in the 1990s. In 2006, he was awarded Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his services to music.

Reggae DJ David Rodigan was among those paying tribute, writing on Twitter: We all loved you Bob Andy and we know how much you loved us, your legions of fans all over the world. At least you are at peace now; youve left us a truly remarkable repertoire of songs which we will all treasure for ever.

Read more:

Forty years on from the London Calling album, we rate the best tracks by the genre-hopping punks

40. 1977 (1977)

A historical artefact, not for the proto-punk music, but because the lyrics epitomise the new waves perceived threat to the old guard. No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones / In 1977, sang Joe Strummer, hardly about to let his love of such pop greats get in the way of punks declaration of year zero.

39. White Riot (1977)

Guitarist Mick Jones now dislikes the first Clash single, its lyrics written by Strummer after the band were caught up in the 1976 Notting Hill riots and he concluded white people needed a riot of our own. The sentiment hasnt aged well, but the song exemplifies the amphetamine-fuelled punk the band would leave behind.

38. Whats My Name (1977)

A Clash curio in that its the only one of the groups songs to bear a writing credit for Keith Levene, the bands original guitarist. Levene showers melodic gold dust all over this otherwise shouty punk stomper, but is better known for his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd.

37. Know Your Rights (1982)

From Combat Rock, the final album by the classic quartet of Strummer, Jones, bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Topper Headon. The tank was getting emptied, but Strummers black humour brims through lines such as You have the right to free speech / As long as youre not dumb enough to actually try it.

36. Im So Bored With the USA (1977)

This hugely anthemic track on debut album The Clash began life as Im So Bored With You, a song about Joness girlfriend, before Strummers ad-libbed SA took it in a new direction. The blistering critique of US imperialism and exported culture (Yankee detectives are always on the TV) didnt stop the Clashs love of American iconography, cars and clothes.

35. Janie Jones (1977)

Original Clash drummer Terry Chimes uncharitably credited as Tory Crimes on The Clash propels the debuts storming opener, a eulogy to a 60s pop celebrity and libertine who had been jailed for vice offences in 1973. On release, the convicted madam returned Strummers affections in the song Letter to Joe.

34. Charlie Dont Surf (1980)

By the epic three-disc fourth album, Sandinista!, the Clash arguably had too many ideas for their own good, but within the 36-song sprawl are undoubted treasures. Titled after a Lt Col Kilgore quip in Apocalypse Now, theres an element of the doo-wop era to this sweet song about, well, cultural imperialism.

33. Brand New Cadillac (1979)

This bracing cover of a 1959 Vince Taylor and the Playboys track refers to the early Brit rockers glamorous dream car (when most of them probably had to make do with a humble Ford Anglia). From the double album London Calling, the Clashs creative zenith.

32. The Guns of Brixton (1979)

Brixton boy Simonon wanted some songwriting cash and so penned this memorable song about police harassment and discontent in his London neighbourhood, two years before the district exploded into rioting. In 1990, Simonon received an unexpected windfall when Norman Cook (later Fatboy Slim) sampled the groove for Beats Internationals hit Dub Be Good to Me.

In 1978 … (from left) Joe Strummer, Topper Headon, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones. Photograph: Sheila Rock/Rex/Shutterstock

31. Clash City Rockers (1978)

Year zero meant many punks hurriedly buried their pasts in pub rock bands with long hair, but this 1978 single reworks a song from Strummers old pub rock band, the 101ers, around trademark Clash self-mythology. The shift from aggressive guitars (surely copied from the Whos I Cant Explain) to something more mournful suggest musical adventure to come.

30. Rudie Cant Fail (1979)

According to long-time Clash associate Don Letts, this London Calling gem is the fruit of a long hot summer that the Clash spent smoking herb and going to reggae clubs. Its a horns-drenched homage to Caribbean culture, drinking brew for breakfast and the chicken skin suit.

29. Tommy Gun (1978)

A great single from the not universally adored second album, Give Em Enough Rope. Strummer is scathing about the idea that terrorists see their cause as glamorous, yelling: Youll be dead when your war is won, while Headons snare drum rolls resemble gunfire. This didnt stop the singer posing for photos in a T-shirt honouring Italian-based violent leftist organisation Brigate Rosse (the Red Brigades).

28. Police and Thieves (1977)

This cover of the Lee Scratch Perry-produced Junior Murvin hit stands out a mile on The Clash. Its their first attempt at reggae, played punkier, with a new, Jones-penned intro. That summer, Bob Marley (working with Perry) acknowledged the burgeoning punk/Jamaican music love-in with Punky Reggae Party.

27. Londons Burning (1977)

Also from the debut album, this most captures those punk rock summers of 1976 and 1977, with its bone-crunching verse and rabble-rousing chorus. The imagery is a comprehensive list of the band and movements inspirations, from high-rise living above the Westway (where Jones lived with his gran) to a capital city burning with boredom now.

26. Somebody Got Murdered (1980)

According to Pat Gilberts superb book Passion Is a Fashion, the Clash were approached by producer-arranger Jack Nitzsche to provide a song for the William Friedkin movie Cruising, but he never called again. Thus, the song lit up Sandinista! with its effervescent tune and film noir-ish imagery about a random killing.

25. Career Opportunities (1977)

The limited youth employment of the 70s is timelessly skewered (Career opportunities, the ones that never knock) in this gem from the debut. The line I wont open letter bombs for you refers to an actual job once held by Jones, checking government mail for explosive devices.

24. Pressure Drop (1979)

The B-side of the slightly hackneyed English Civil War and one of the Clashs great covers, of Toots and the Maytals 1970 reggae/ska classic (as heard in the 1972 film The Harder They Come). Later, Strummer was at pains to point out that they recorded it in 1977, hence it pre-dates 2-Tone.

23. This Is England (1985)

Headon and Jones had been sacked by now (for heroin abuse and behavioural issues, respectively) as a remodelled, five-piece Clash made a sixth album. The otherwise unloved Cut the Crap did herald this final terrific single. Keyboards and guitars drive Strummers withering take on our national strife.

In Leicester Square, 1978 … (from left) Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon. Photograph: Virginia Turbett/Redferns

22. Gates of the West (1979)

The Clash had been singing about the US since Im So Bored With the USA. Based on Rusted Chrome, an early Jones composition, this stormer from the Cost of Living EP describes their New York experiences, the characters, imagery and anthemic tune all reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen.

21. Hitsville UK (1980)

From Sandinista!, this eulogy to pop is a bubblegum delight that namechecks the UKs emerging independent labels and argues that a great two minutes 59 single can triumph over industry sharp practice. With its Motown (the original Hitsville) groove and sugar-coated duet between Jones and his girlfriend, Ellen Foley, the Clashs remaining hardcore punk fans hated it.

20. Police on My Back (1980)

Another terrific example of the Clashs ability to cover a song (the original was by Eddy Grants old band, the Equals) and make it sound as if they had written it. Joness guitar wails like a siren, and the song has all the adrenalin rush of a police chase.

19. Lost in the Supermarket (1979)

In the tradition of the Rolling Stones (I Cant Get No) Satisfaction and the X-Ray Spex back catalogue, this is a great Strummer-penned/Jones-sung song about the dehumanising effects of advertising and the consumer society. (I came in here for that special offer / A guaranteed personality.)

18. I Fought the Law (1979)

The band reputedly heard the Bobby Fuller Four original on the studio jukebox in San Francisco while recording Give Em Enough Rope. Writing credits aside, this is a trademark Clash smash, full of outlaw rebel posturing and laden with Headons six-shooter drum cracks.

17. Death or Glory (1979)

Strummers ferocious blast at ageing, sellout rock stars builds to a hurtling climax on a lyrical twist as he fears a similar fate himself. Presumably it was ruled out as a single because of the infamous, hilarious line: But I believe in this and its been tested by research / He who fucks nuns will later join the church.

16. Safe European Home (1978)

Strutting around Kingston, Jamaica, in full punk regalia (in theory to stir the creative juices for Give Em Enough Rope) proved a rude awakening, but did produce this untypical example of Clash self-mockery. I went to the place where every white face / Is an invitation to robbery / And sitting here in my safe European home / Dont want to go back there again.

15. Clampdown (1979)

Strummers view that capitalism was endangering people and the planet was sharpened by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, which inspired this London Calling highlight. The Clash were exploding with musical ideas by now, and packed rock, funk and disco into this fiery, timeless anthem.

14. Garageland (1977)

The rock critic Charles Shaar Murrays dismissal of the Clash as a garage band in an early live review prompted this defiant riposte, which also reflects the bands fretting that signing to a major label would be selling out. Its a furious but somehow melancholy anthem: People ringing up making offers for my life / But I just wanna stay in the garage all night.

13. The Card Cheat (1979)

Surely channeling Joness love of Mott the Hoople, this is the sort of thing that presumably inspired the Libertines. Horns, drum rudiments, a sublime piano hook and vivid imagery (To the opium dens and the bar room gin … The gamblers face cracks into a grin) combine in a song about a card sharp who is shot for cheating.

12. Spanish Bombs (1979)

A favourite of the late INXS singer, Michael Hutchence. The melody is glorious and Strummers lyrics contrast the freedom fighters of the Spanish civil war with modern tourists. The singer partly sings it in what he called Clash Spanish. Ol!

11. Rock the Casbah (1982)

Headon wrote and played most of the music on Combat Rocks club/chart smash, which innovatively combines rock, funk and a slightly eastern feel. Strummers lyrics are inspired by Irans post-Islamic revolution ban on pop music, the singers idea being that the people would rise up and rock the casbah.

In New York, September 1978 … (from left) Strummer, Simonon, Jones, Headon. Photograph: Michael Putland/Getty Images

10. Train in Vain (1979)

After a planned NME flexidisc fell through, this sublime Jones unrequited love song was added to London Calling too late for listing on the initial sleeves. Pete Townshends favourite Clash tune, this is the band at their unashamedly poppiest. Headons killer drum intro fires one of the rhythm sections funkiest grooves.

9. Stay Free (1978)

Joness sublime, heartfelt eulogy to his old Strand school friend Robin Crocker, who became known as Robin Banks after a sting of heists landed him a stretch inside. Some fans were delighted to discover that Banks subsequently punched the songs producer, Sandy Pearlman, who had previously worked with Blue yster Cult and is largely blamed for Give Em Enough Ropes not exactly punky gloss.

8. The Magnificent Seven (1980)

Having rattled through punk, reggae, ska, dub and rockabilly inside five years, our boys assimilate the emerging hip-hop sounds they heard while in New York, and Strummer turns white rap pioneer. A terrific groove forms the platform for daft-but-inspired wordplay: Italian mobster shoots a lobster.

7. The Call Up (1980)

Following the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, as the US geared up to reintroduce the draft, the Clash spearheaded the resistance with this fantastic Sandinista! single. Its up to you not to heed the call up / I dont wanna die … I dont wanna kill, cries Strummer, over a magnificently eerie reggae-ish backdrop.

6. Bankrobber (1980)

So many great songs poured out of the Clash that this Mikey Dread-produced gem was almost thrown away as an import-only 45, which didnt stop it making it No 12 in the UK charts. Its dub music with folk storytelling Strummers daddy wasnt really a bank robber, but a diplomat.

5. London Calling (1979)

The Clashs highest-charting UK single, until Combat Rocks rather banal Should I Stay Or Should I Go reached No 1 in 1991 after being used in a Levis ad. Years before the climate crisis and flooding sparked public concern, Strummer fears an imminent biblical apocalypse, hence London is drowning and I live by the river.

4. Armagideon Time (1979)

The flip of the London Calling single, this superb reworking of Willie Williams social justice anthem is the definitive example of the Clash playing reggae. Strummers OK, OK, dont push us when were hot is his shouted rebuff to then-manager Kosmo Vinyl, urging him to scrap the allotted three-minute length and keep the tapes rolling.

3. Complete Control (1977)

After CBS infuriated the Clash by releasing Remote Control as a single against their wishes, the band responded with their punk-era high watermark. Lee Perry produces, and Strummers yelled Youre my guitar hero! during Joness blistering guitar solo is one of many goosebump moments.

2. Straight to Hell (1982)

Headons bossa nova rhythm and a haunting hook (later sampled by MIA for 2007s Paper Planes) power Combat Rocks finest. The bands unity was already fracturing, but Strummer rightly called this vengeful tirade against imperialism and American soldiers in Vietnam who left local women pregnant (Go straight to hell, boys) one of our absolute masterpieces.

1. (White Man in) Hammersmith Palais (1978)

Any of the Clashs best songs could grace the top spot without too much argument, but this edges it. The collision of reggae (verse) and rock (chorus) epitomise what the critic Lester Bangs described as the Clashs fusion of black music and white noise. Lyrically, a disappointingly lightweight reggae gig (in the Hammersmith Palais) triggers Strummers blistering state of the nation address, in which he considers everything from music (Turning rebellion into money) to racism and rising nationalism (If Adolf Hitler flew in today, theyd send a limousine anyway). Forty-two years on, it remains a tour de force and as relevant as ever.

Various 40th anniversary super deluxe editions of London Calling are out now on Sony.

Read more:

The boogie-woogie master, who has died aged 89, shaped the course of popular music over and over again

You could argue for the rest of your life about what constitutes the first rocknroll record and, indeed, on the internet, there are people prepared to do that. An exhaustive 82-track 2011 compilation comes up with candidates for the title, with varying degrees of plausibility, and with tunes dating back to 1915.

But Fats Dominos 1949 single The Fat Man has a stronger claim than most. Based on Junkers Blues, a 1940 track originally recorded by Champion Jack Dupree, theres almost nothing to it. A pounding, unchanging backbeat and an insistent bass pulse; Domino on piano, playing in a style noticeably more aggressively than that of his peers; saxes and guitar buried so deep in the mix that you barely even spot them until the songs finale; some falsetto scat singing and three verses that replace Junkers Blues references to cocaine, reefers and heroin with lyrics that laud both Dominos bulk and his irresistible sexual abilities: I weigh two hundred pounds, all the girls love me, because I know my way around. It sold a million copies and transformed Domino overnight from the pianist in Billy Diamonds Solid Senders, a locally popular New Orleans band, into a star.

In later years, Elvis Presley proclaimed him the real king of rocknroll, but in truth, Domino was an exemplar of boogie-woogie, a style that had been big since the 1920s some musical historians claim its roots stretch back into the 19th century that he had been taught by his brother-in-law, a jazz musician. Nevertheless, The Fat Mans stripped-back potency had something of the future about it: it fitted so well with rocknroll that it turned up six years after it was recorded on Dominos debut album, Carry on Rockin With Fats Domino.

By then, Elvis Presley had signed to a major label and Little Richards Tutti Frutti was in the charts. Clearly sensing which way the wind was blowing, and the fact that he might have unwittingly predicted its change of course, Domino skilfully transitioned into a rocknroller. His debut album was swiftly retitled Rock and Rollin With Fats Domino, he appeared in the exploitation movies The Girl Cant Help It and Shake Rattle and Rock, and released a peerless run of singles, all deeply rooted in the jazz and R&B of New Orleans, but sufficiently in tune with new musical developments to make not only the R&B charts but the US Hot 100, too a not-inconsiderable feat for a black artist in 50s America. Those singles included Aint That a Shame, Im Walkin, Blue Monday, Im in Love Again, and Blueberry Hill, the latter a cover of a 40s jazz standard previously recorded by Glenn Miller that became Dominos signature song.

Domino was not a wild musical insurrectionist in the style of Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis when a riot broke out at a gig in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he climbed out of a window to get away. But his influence proved vast, not least on the Beatles. Aint That a Shame was the first song John Lennon learned to play, Paul McCartneys Lady Madonna was created in Dominos image, the band visited Domino to pay homage and were impressed by his love of what would later be called bling boggling at a jewel-encrusted watch on his wrist.

Fats Domino performing in 1993. Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Ironically, by the time the Beatles appeared, Dominos star had fallen. He had continued to have hits after the initial wave of rocknroll wave had crashed Walking to New Orleans and My Girl Josephine among them. However, by 1963, he had fallen in with a record label that disastrously sought to sweeten his sound, making him record in Nashville, and adding elements of the slick, commercial countrypolitan style to his releases. His recording career never really recovered, although his sound toughened up again by the decades close, taking on influences from contemporary soul, making the point about his influence explicit by recording a version of Lady Madonna, as well as another fantastic Beatles cover, The White Albums Everybodys Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey. By the 80s, he declined to leave New Orleans at all. Never a fan of touring, he claimed he hated the food everywhere but his hometown.

That didnt stop huge stars noting his importance: a 2007 tribute album featured Elton John, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Randy Newman, alongside a host of New Orleans musicians and Toots and the Maytals. The latters presence highlighted Fats Dominos other great musical feat. If its a stretch to suggest he unwittingly invented reggae, his records were certainly regularly played on Jamaican sound systems in the 1950s, and his accentuation of the offbeat in his playing is one of the roots of ska, the music Jamaicans started to make when the supply of suitable American R&B records dried up. Listen to the rhythm of his 1959 single Be My Guest and you can hear what they were trying to imitate.

Play Video

Rocknroll star Fats Domino dies at 89 video report

Read more:

The reggae musician, best known for his song Night Nurse, passed away at his London home after a long illness

Reggae musician Gregory Isaacs has died aged 59. The Jamaican singer passed away at his London home this morning (25 October) following a long illness.

Isaacs is best known for his 1982 album, Night Nurse, particularly the title track. A prolific artist, he released over 500 albums and collaborated with some of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall, including producer Sugar Minott, who also died this year.

“Gregory was well-loved by everyone, his fans and his family,” said his wife Linda. “He worked really hard to make sure he delivered the music they loved and enjoyed.”

Isaacs was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

A full obituary will be available at later today.

Read more:

Reggaeton is almost as famous for its dodgy lyrics as its dancehall rhythms. But in Argentina, one woman is busting sexual taboos and outswaggering the men

The founding fathers of the testosterone-fuelled Latin pop genre reggaeton would probably be surprised to hear their penises described as dispensable. But this is the message from Chocolate Remix, a tiny Argentinian woman in a big cap taking aim at the supermachos in her single, Lo Que Las Mujeres Quieren. Hey macho reggaeton man, listen to what I say / You dont know about women / A woman prefers two well-placed fingers.

This is lesbian reggaeton, and Choco, its swaggering pioneer, is one of a rising number of female reggaetoneras changing the male-dominated genre from within. An established talent in Buenos Aires alternative scene, Choco keeps reggaetons defining dembow rhythm and perreo (the doggy-style grinding dance culture) but uses the lyrics to satirise machismo and bust the taboos of female pleasure and lesbian sex. She also revisits reggaetons homophobic roots and rewrites the songs for a queer audience.

Choco might be a badass on stage but at home she is Romina Bernardo, a softly spoken 31-year-old former IT programmer from Argentinas small north-eastern province of Tucumn. She now lives in Buenos Aires with her two cats. Between careful sips of mat (a green tea beloved in the southern cone), Choco explains how she loved reggaeton when it arrived in the clubs in the 00s, a decade after it came out of the barrios of Puerto Rico where underground artists first fused Jamaican dancehall rhythms with Spanish lyrics. Yet she hated the lyrics. In reggaeton, a lot of songs talk about sex. I thought it would be great to use it to talk about other kinds of sex, she says, adding: Lesbian reggaeton was a kind of joke.

Chocolate Remix (centre) performing live. Photograph: Victoria Schwindt

But the joke soon became serious. Choco started producing and uploading her songs in 2013, but with new album, Stira (Satire), released in March, as well as a forthcoming European tour, its now a full-time job. The albums title alludes to the randy figure of Greek mythology, while its cover depicts Choco in a wedding dress with chocolate smeared over her throat. The idea is to present something that generates confusion, she says, mimicking a shocked face. Are you a lesbian? Oh my God, is that chocolate? Stira comprises seven tracks most of which have a heavy dose of reggaetons signature tinny percussion and synth-led melodies, over which Choco raps in torrents of staccato and sometimes squeaky Spanish.

In the video for Cmo Me Gusta a Mi (How I Like It) Choco trills happily I like cheaters / I like ugly girls as the camera pans over a neverending bed of naked women in various stages of copulation. Sexual and political liberation are two sides of the same coin: I like the empowered woman / But I like it even better if she eats this empanada. (In Spanish, empowered empoderada rhymes neatly with empanada, a type of Argentinian pasty and slang for female genitalia.)

There was, however, a backlash from women who said her explicit videos and songs, just like those of male artists, were objectifying women. It was a sensitive subject at the time. If you saw a women in mini-shorts people were like Argh! Thats machismo, explains Choco. I said, its great we are analysing this stuff, but what we are doing is putting more taboo on sex. She also bumped up against an element of classism reggaeton is grounded in street culture and is often written off as vulgar. The idea of progress for middle-class Argentinians is that that you shouldnt be a bitch, you should be intellectual and go to university, she says.

What is radical in Cmo Me Gusta a Mi is not the nudity but the novelty of a reggaeton video full of women enjoying themselves, no man in sight. In the 25 years since reggaetons inception, women have usually only been present in half-naked, decorative form, emitting only the odd sigh of Ay papi. In 2012, the Cuban government even tried to ban it from the airwaves for painting women as grotesque sexual objects (predictably, this only succeeded in increasing its popularity) and last year the misogynistic lyrics in Colombian megastar Malumas song Cuatro Babys led to a petition for him to pull the song.

Female reggaeton artists have always struggled for visibility. A notable exception is Ivy Queen, whose 2003 hit Quiero Bailar defended womens freedom on the dancefloor. She paved the way for todays generation of female DIY reggaeton artists such as Argentinian Ms Nina los Santos, Chilean Tomasa del Real and San Franciscan balladeer La Favi, who are building their own fanbases on SoundCloud and YouTube. Choco identifies these artists, along with Catalan Bad Gyal, the rising Colombian star Farina and the Madrid-based group Tremenda Jaura, as part of a feminist new wave, though they themselves may not use the label. I guess its a mini-movement, she says. Currently reggaeton is the most popular music at all the feminist parties.

Explicit content: Chocolate Remix performs Lo Que Las Mujeres Quieren (What Women Want)

Chocolate Remix tackles homophobia and gender violence. Reggaetons homophobic roots stem from Shabba Rankss 1991 song Dem Bow (meaning theyre gay), which was the first track to use the unmistakable drum rhythm that became reggaetons backbone. I took this song and I remade it to say Im bent and Im proud, Choco explains. Ni Una Menos (Not one less) was written for Argentinas feminist warriors and takes its name from the banner under which they took to the streets in October 2016 to protest at the countrys shocking rate of hate crimes against women. Over a thumping cajn drum, the lyrics If she paints her lips / Dances to reggaeton / Leaves you for another are punctuated by chants of ni una menos. It is a tribal call to arms. Choco is quick to point out that the problem is not specific to Latin America. When she worked in Europe, in IT, the gender imbalance among colleagues was striking: We sometimes think machoism is just fighting with your wife, she says, but there are a lot of things that no one sees.

Despite sticking two well-placed fingers up at the reggaeton establishment, Chocolate remains a huge fan of the genres megastars such as Daddy Yankee. Hes not the bad guy, she says, he is just responding to the macho culture. Would she be his support act? Of course! But right now I dont think my music is interesting to his audience. Im presenting an alternative but Im also saying fuck you. She imagines the concert: Im there shouting, Your dick is not important Maybe with some years of talking and with some help from psychologists, they could accept it.

Read more:

Jamaican musician who helped pioneer ska music in the 60s and who provided inspiration for a subsequent generation of British musicians including Madness

It was boxing ability as much as musical talent that helped Prince Buster become a key figure in the birth of Jamaican ska music. During the mid-1950s Buster, who has died aged 78, sang in a number of small-time bands in the islands capital, Kingston. But he also had a promising career as a street fighting boxer, and it was his reputation as a quick-witted and assertive gang leader that brought him to the attention of the legendary Clement Coxsone Dodd, operator of the famous Downbeat sound system that travelled the country playing the latest dance records from the United States.

Coxsone took Buster on as a security guard-cum-personal helper, and the young man used the experience to learn all he could about the fledgling Jamaican music business.

Propitiously, he had been born as Cecil Campbell, the son of a railway worker in Orange Street, the central commercial street in Kingston that was to become the heart of the islands music scene. Known as Buster in his gang-oriented youth because of his middle name Bustamante (after the Jamaican Labour Party leader Sir Alexander Bustamante), he later took on the nickname Prince for his boxing exploits, and had a natural entrepreneurial flair as well as musical talent and street sense. He left Dodd in the late 1950s to set up a record store, Busters Record Shack, and then his own sound system, the Voice of the People.

While both ventures were successful, it was his next move into the recording studio that really left its mark. In 1960 he embarked on a couple of marathon recording sessions with various artists at the studios of the local radio station RJR that were to shift the islands musical axis away from the all pervasive influence of America. Among those early recordings was a Buster-produced song by the Folkes Brothers called Oh Carolina that became an instant hit in Jamaica. In a typically bold and unheard-of move that was to characterise Busters innovative career, he used the Rastafarian percussionist Count Ossie for the backing track. But more importantly he also asked the guitarist, Jah Jerry, to emphasize the afterbeat instead of the downbeat. The same radical syncopation was used on many of the other tracks, including classics such as Little Honey, Humpty Dumpty, They Got to Go and Thirty Pieces of Silver. Ska had been born.

Most of the singles from those sessions were hits in his homeland, and Buster never looked back. Over an eight-year period he released hundreds of productions on various labels, many of them chronicling the gun happy rude boy activities of an increasingly violent, newly independent Jamaica. He became rich, living the high life of sharp suits and fast cars, though remaining an aggressive champion of the underdog.

As ska slowed down in the mid 60s and turned into rocksteady a transition Buster did much to nurture he set Jamaica alight with a series of records featuring his mythical character Judge Dread, a super-tough magistrate who handed out ridiculously long sentences to recalcitrant rude boys.

But his influence went far beyond Jamaica. Many of his own compositions, as well as those he produced, were released on the seminal Blue Beat label in the UK, where ska became the music of choice for many mods and skinheads.

He was the first Jamaican to have a top 20 hit in Britain with Al Capone in 1965 toured the country regularly to sell-out crowds, and appeared on Ready Steady Go in 1964. It was also in Britain that he converted to Islam and changed his name to Mohammed Yusef Ali after a meeting with the boxer Muhammad Ali.

As the 60s drew to a close, Buster moved with the times to produce records for some of the new breed of Jamaican DJs, including Big Youth, and continued to work with well-known artists such as Dennis Brown. He even ventured into early dub music.

But by the early 1970s, when rock steady was transmogrifying into roots reggae, Busters influence and interest began to wane partly because as a Muslim he found it difficult to move along with the Rasta-influenced tide. He moved to Miami to pursue various business interests, including the running of a jukebox company he had set up.

His influence did, however, resurface in the late 1970s, when his music was the key inspiration for the ska revival in Britain. In 1978 a London band called Morris and the Minors renamed themselves Madness after Busters classic song Madness is Gladness, and in 1978 their first single, The Prince, went straight into the top 20. The band later reached number seven with a reworking of the Buster song One Step Beyond.

Their hero resisted a comeback then, but did reappear onstage in the late 1980s and 1990s, and toured Japan with ska legends the Skatalites as his backing group. He even recorded again in 1992, and in 1998 re-entered the British charts for the first time in 31 years with a new version of an old song, Whine and Grind. Essentially, though, his comeback was low key.

In 2001 Buster was awarded the Order of Distinction in Jamaica for his contribution to the development of the countrys music industry. He had long since received countless accolades from his peers, but it was nonetheless fitting recognition for a man whose self-proclaimed title as King of Ska was never seriously disputed.

  • Prince Buster, musician, born 24 May 1938; died 8 September 2016

Read more:

The first Jamaican to have a top 20 hit in the UK, he defined the sound of ska in the 60s before going on to inspire the Two Tone movement of the late 70s

Ska legend Prince Buster, who created records such One Step Beyond and Madness, died on Thursday at the age of 78.

Its unclear who broke the news or how Buster died, but reggae and dancehall DJ David Rodigan said on Twitter he confirmed with the Jamaica Music Federation. Tributes to Buster have since poured in on social media.

David Rodigan (@DavidRodigan) September 8, 2016

Prince Buster’s death has been confirmed by Mr. Desmond Young, President of The Jamaica Federation of Musicians.

The term legend can truly be applied to the name Prince Buster, Rodigan told the Guardian.

Buster was born in Orange Street, Jamaica in 1938 with the name Cecil Bustamente Campbell. He gained the nickname Prince for his boxing ability. In a 2013 interview he was trained by the middleweight champion of Jamaica, Sid Brown.

He began gaining fame in the music industry in the late 1950s, when he operated his own sound system named The Voice of the People, going on to produce the hit Oh Carolina. After a failed attempt to go to the US, he began recording prolifically in Jamaica and was influential in ska and its transition into rocksteady.

Prince Buster was at the vanguard of the new young ska sound of Jamaica in the early 60s; the sound was so energised and the beat so infectious that as young teenagers we were immediately hooked on Prince Busters music, Rodigan recalled.

Buster was the first Jamaican to have a top 20 hit in Britain with Al Capone in 1965; other exuberant signature tunes included One Step Beyond and Enjoy Yourself.

He met Muhammad Ali in 1965 and converted Islam, changing his name in Muhammed Yusef Ali.

As the sound of reggae evolved, Buster remained on the cutting edge of the genre, producing one of Jamaicas first ever dub albums, The Message, Rodigan noted.

Prince Buster is also widely credited as the foundation of skas revival in the late 70s and early 80s the so-called Two Tone movement. British band Madness named themselves after Busters song Madness and titled their first single The Prince in tribute. The Specials, another prominent Two Tone band, also covered Busters track Enjoy Yourself in 1980.

Busters wife Mola Ali told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner that since Busters death, several musicians had come forward to offer their condolences. Others posted tributes on Twitter.

Neville Staple (@NevilleStaple) September 8, 2016

Rest in peace Prince Buster. & tanks fe the inspiration. With love from @NevilleStaple & @SugaryStaple

Rob da Bank (@RobdaBank) September 8, 2016

ah sad to hear that Prince Buster has left the planet…incredible man …RIP

Read more: