The History Of Reggae: How It Shaped Modern Music

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica during the 1960s. It has evolved into a universal genre, enjoyed by people of all races and cultures. reggae music is loved worldwide because of its relaxing, cool, and upbeat vibe.

Many popular artists today credit reggae as the music that shaped their style and inspired them to create their own music genres. Some of these artists are Cardi B, Chance The Rapper, Post Malone, and Khalid. Even some pop songs have reinterpreted the reggae feel into their own music with success.

The most famous reoccurrence of the reggae influence is in hip-hop. Many early hip-hop artists credited Jamaican musicians as influences on their sound. Some even went as far as to sample reggae songs to add more flavor to their own music.

Origins of reggae

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

Reggae is a genre of music that originates from Jamaica. It first emerged around the 1960s and was initially called island music. The name reggae came from last two words of the term rhythm and blues, which is a genre of American music.

As island music became more popular, artists in Jamaica began to include their own cultural influences into the music. This included incorporating Jamaican dialect into the lyrics and using Jamaican percussion like djembes and shakers.

The introduction of these new elements allowed for more diversity in artists who identified as reggae artists. Bands like Slightly Blinded By The Sun and UB40 were some early reggae musicians. Legendary artist Bob Marley is often credited for bringing reggae to the world stage with his confessional lyrics and universal appeal.

As reggae continued to grow in popularity, it began to influence other genres of music. Rap became one of the biggest genres influenced by reggae. Artists like Snoop Dogg, Drake, and Jay Z have all mentioned how much they appreciate the influence of reggae on their music.

Bob Marley

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

One of the most well-known reggae artists of all time is Bob Marley. He is remembered for not only his music, but also his activism and legacy.

Marley was not born in Jamaica, but in a small town outside of Kingston. He was raised by a young single mother and did not meet his father until he was a teenager. Despite this, he always kept close ties to his family.

Marley began his musical career in 1963 when he formed a group called the Parlotones. The group performed covers of popular songs at local youth festivals and events. By the late 60s, he had begun to write his own music and had become more popular as an artist.

His first big hit was “Monterry” which came out in 1975. This song is considered to be one of the first ever reggae songs to use drum machines instead of traditional drums.

The Wailers

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

In 1974, the Wailers disbanded as melanoma cancer was diagnosed in their band leader and guitarist, Peter Tosh. He was 38 years old at the time of his diagnosis.

Once again, music helped bring people together as his fans worldwide raised money to help pay for his treatment. He survived, and even continued to tour after his treatment!

He eventually moved to the United States where he continued his music career. In fact, he was one of the first black artists to tour in Russia in the late 1980s. His influence on music is still recognized today.

During this time when many musicians were moving towards electronic music, Tosh stayed true to reggae and what it meant to him. He continued to produce music until his death in November 2002 due to heart failure.

Other influential reggae artists

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

Other prominent reggae artists include Black Uhuru, Gregory Isaacs, Shabba Ranks, and Buju Banton. Black Uhuru is known for their political and social lyrics, as well as their eclectic music style that blended reggae with jazz and rock.

Gregory Isaacs was known as the “coolest” artist due to his smooth voice and introspective lyrics. Shabba Ranks became famous for his dance moves and humorous lyrics, while Buju Banton was recognized for writing songs about social and political issues.

Reggae music has had a huge influence on modern music. Many pop artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendes have featured reggae influences in their music. Other popular artists such as Kanye West and Jay-Z have sampled reggae beats in their songs.

Reggae influences other genres

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

As reggae music grew in popularity, it began to influence other music genres. Many artists mentioned earlier in this article credit reggae as an influence on their music.

Music is a large part of life, and it is a large part of culture. By studying the trends in music, you can learn a lot about a culture. For example, you can tell a lot about the people who listen to reggae and how they interact with each other by studying the lyrics and dance moves.

The upbeat nature of reggae music lends itself to people being more friendly and outgoing. This is why you see such elaborate dance moves when listening to reggae songs- they make you feel good and uplift your spirit.

Since many artists have been influenced by reggae, you can hear its influence in other genres, such as hip-hop and pop.

Learn more about the history of reggae

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

As we mentioned earlier, reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica. The name reggae comes from the word rude, which means old or traditional.

Along with ska, reggae is a descendant of Jamaican mento and calypso music. Many artists in the past have used these styles of music as a foundation for their songs.

Reggae became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and many famous artists today credit this era as an influence on their music. Most commonly, people refer to the use of syncopated rhythm and emphasis on off beats.

Many popular artists today such as Drake, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez all have songs that incorporate reggae into the music. This can be seen in songs like “Now and Forever” or “Same Old Love”.

Watch some classic reggae videos

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

Reggae music videos are a great way to learn more about reggae music and its artists. By watching classic reggae music videos, you can see how some of the first artists innovated and experimented with video styles and trends.

Many early reggae music videos were low-budget and simple, using beaches and nature as the backdrop. This is because many early reggae artists were from poor neighborhoods in Kingston, where there was little money for fancy sets and equipment.

Some more recent reggae music videos have more complex scenes, costumes, and imagery which can be fun to analyze. Many use orange or blue lighting as a prominent feature which helps set the scene for the beachy setting of most of the songs.

Read some classic reggae songs

The History of Reggae: How it Shaped Modern Music

Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s. Many credit singer and songwriter Bob Marley as the founder of reggae, thanks to his popular songs like “Johnny Was,” “Natural Mystic,” and “Rude Boy.”

Marley collaborated with other musicians to create new songs that had a common rhythm and beat. These songs were called “devotional chants” by fans, but are now recognized as reggae music.

Many other artists such as UB40, The Paragons, and The Melodians have had their songs labeled as reggae music thanks to the common beats and themes. Some of these songs date back to the 1950s!

As time went on, more artists began creating music that was labeled as reggae. Artists like Beenie Man, Elephant Man, and Nikki Laoye are some contemporary artists that have been labeled as such.

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