A 1968 single by the Jamaican group “Toots and the Maytals” which they called “Do the Reggae” was the first song to become popular and Reggae got its name and its introduction to the world ever since that happened. Before the introduction of Reggae there was Ska and Rocksteady and Reggae replaced Rocksteady by using the bass as a prominent percussion instrument. The bass guitar also plays a very important role in Reggae.
The Reggae genre is dominated by the drum and base, and it also incorporates some musical elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, mento, calypso, African music as well as other genres. The tempo of Reggae is a little slower than ska but it is faster than Rocksteady.
The creative force that came out of the poor people was not coming out of the uptown Jamaicans; but there was so much love for the new sounds that was being produced by Jamaican musicians. There were Sound Systems and a competition between Coxsone and Duke Reid and the people would meet and wait for the music to be played so they could dance and have fun. The owners of the Sound Systems then started to find different ways to win the competition. Coxsone found a way to produce more hit songs, by finding talented singers and musicians and making records.
The Wailers which was the group that Bob Marley was a part of, was first signed by Coxsone, and in 1964 they sold 1000 copies of the single “Simmer Down”. At that time Trench Town was vibrant and young people would meet at Coxsone’s Studio One to sing, as they saw music as a great way to get out of poverty.
It has been said that talent in Jamaica is like oil in Saudi Arabia. However, after many years of trying to live off the music and not having anything; many Jamaicans went to the UK. The Caribbean community in England were loving the Jamaican music and even young white people were liking it a lot as well, even though it was an underground music at first.
The fact that Reggae music was born in the parts of Jamaica where poverty was all the people knew, has made it even more fascinating. Reggae music was not embraced by the rich Jamaicans in the early years, so Bob Marley the first Jamaican artiste to be inducted in the Rock and Roll hall of fame, became an international Super Star before he gained popularity in his own country.
He was the one who added the Rastafarian Culture, the Jamaican culture and a whole freedom movement to the Reggae Beat and became a prophet for the people all over the world. His songs were different from anything else persons had ever heard before, as he sang about the issues that people faced everyday as they struggle to survive. Songs like “No Woman No Cry” , “One Love”, and more of his songs were seen as music people not only loved to dance to, but they loved the messages in the lyrics.
Recently a new group of artistes have decided to revive Reggae music in Jamaica, as there has been a lot of foreign musicians who have learned how to produce Reggae songs and even Jamaicans have been more attracted to the Dancehall songs.
Recently, Protoje and Chronix two Jamaican artistes realized that there are a lot of persons who are still in love with the Reggae beat and they have been putting out great Reggae music, just when the people had started to say, Reggae music is dying.