Dancehall godfather Daddy U-Roy passed away at his 78 years

El Dub, Reggae and Dancehall would not exist as we know it without the great contribution of Ewart Beckford, el “Originator”, the father of Deejaying, better known as Daddy U-Roy. The legendary toaster Jamaican died Wednesday night at University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and Kingston, after undergoing kidney surgery that he could not overcome.

As reported by Marcia Smikle to various local media, his partner during 41 years, the artist suffered from different diseases some time ago but that despite that, I was still active recording dubplates.

Born in Jones Town, Kingston, in 1942, From a young age he was attracted to music and began his career in Dickie Wong's Soundsystem "Doctor Dickies" at the 19 years. Honing your DJ skills, went through Atomic Sound (Sir George), Coxsone Dodd and Sir Percy before finding a permanent occupation at King Tubby’s, who started dabbling in Dubplates in the late sixties. Influenced by artists like Count Matchuki and King Stitt, U-Roy applied his unique vocal style to the instrumentals played on Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi and popularized the Toasting as a new art form that, exported to New York City, even stimulated the development of Rap and Hip Hop.

Soon he also dedicated himself to recording, releasing his first two singles "Wake The Town" and "Wear You To The Ball" with John Holt on Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label on 1970 and later working with the main Jamaican producers of the time. Both singles were hits on the island and established their reputation as one of the toasters most popular of Jamaica.

His album of 1975 "Dread In A Babylon" was a great success in the UK and led to new recordings., all of which embodied his deep Rastafarian convictions. Starting your own Soundsystem Stur Gav in 1978, helped introduce the public to a new generation of roasters and singers, including Ranking Joe, Jah Screw, Charlie Chaplin, Super Cat y Josey Wales, who in turn would influence the emerging dancehall genre. The success of “Dread in a Babylon” led to a series of albums produced by Tony Robinson: “Natty Rebel” (1976), “Rasta Ambassador” (1977) y “Jah Son of Africa” (1978).

In the eighties, pop group Blondie had a worldwide hit with the reggae track "The Tide Is High", prompting the Virgin label to re-release the original Paragons track from 1967 and U-Roy's version of 1971 as a single that same year.

In 2007, U-Roy legitimately received the Order of Distinction (FROM) for his contribution and impact on the Jamaican music scene, the one who will undoubtedly be honored with his legacy. His most recent album, “Talking Roots”, It was launched in 2018 and produced by Mad Professor.

In 2019 was honored and crowned “King of the Deejays” on Reeewind's 10th anniversary, New York-based reggae-dancehall party. On the occasion, an excited Shabba Ranks led the ceremony by crowning U-Roy.

This year, within the framework of the activities organized under the month of reggae in Jamaica, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRia) has programmed a special recognition of the artist's work with the Icon Award, trophy that unfortunately did not get to receive.

Reactions to your departure:

Mad Professor: “What can I say? A very sad transitional moment for the man who inspired Ariwa. Without him, there would be no ariwa. Since i had 15 years when I heard Version Galore, I wanted to work with U-Roy. And I finally got a chance at 1991 when we met in los angeles. This is one of the highlights of Ariwa. We spoke for the last time ago 2 weeks, and I was quite fragile, but quite quiet. As we mourn the loss, we have the memories of this incredible talent. We got the stories. Without him there would be no Dancehall, by Hiphop, by Rap, and Afrobeat.”

Trojan Records: “U Roy led the way and influenced genres around the world with his original sound of “roaster”, a sound that has become modern rap. We have a lot to thank U Roy for. Your musical style will live forever. (…) RIP U Roy.”

Shaggy: “Today we lost one of our heroes !! A true legend in this dance hall game / Reggae if you're a fan of the sound system, so you're a fan of the stur gav sound. With greats like Colonel Josey Whales and Charlie Chaplin, pioneers in this game ... with a catalog of amazing recordings, U Roy was a master at his craft. Rest well daddy Roy !! RIP. walk well. “

Source: Reggaeville / Gleaner / RC team