1980s
Reggae through the years
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Women at a Dance HallDancehall gained popularity in the 1980s. Before the 80s, a Jamaican disc jockey was someone who operated a bass-heavy, mobile sound system. DJs began talking, also known as chatting or "toasting," over the instrumentals of previously recorded music. In the 80s, this toasting was recorded. DJs left the sound systems, and dancehall was born. Because of this, a Jamaican DJ became a well-paid musician and a "selector" played music at events and parties.

The music was called “dancehall” because it could not be played on the radio due to its sexual and violent lyrics. People went to the dance halls of the ghetto to listen to these songs. Many of the artists who were popular with the dance hall crowd did not make much profit from their music since the songs were never played on the radio.

Radio stations spent most of their time playing American r&b and disco songs. Many reggae fans complained about having to wait until after midnight to listen to reggae music. After Bob Marley’s death in 1981, his music, along with other forms of reggae, became more appreciated by Jamaican society. Reggae began getting more airplay on radio stations, and eventually became the primary type of Jamaican music. Dancehall led to the birth of American hip-hop and rap music, which is also "talking" to a beat.

Listen to a dancehall clip from Trespass, by Bounty Killer. This clip is from www.fye.com.

 

Copyright © 2004 Chantal A. Raymond. All rights reserved.