Collection: Essential Reggae Albums

While the term Reggae didn't apply to Jamaican music until the late 60's it is usually used as an umbrella to cover Ska, Rocksteady, Roots Reggae, Dub, and Dancehall. The Jamaican recording industry began in the 50's when musicians from the Carribean island were heavily influenced by R&B and Jazz from the US. They combined those sounds with calypso and Mento to get the earliest version of Ska which took off like wildfire. Over the next decade the sound evolved and slowed in tempo as it transformed into Rocksteady and the more socio-political driven Reggae. Then Dub producers like Lee Perry and King Tubby stripped down the sounds to a bare minimum and put them through a unique form of audio processing, a revolution of sound which has since changed music all over the world, especially electronic music. Dancehall came about when the soundsystem DJ's playing the latest riddims would toast (talk) over the music getting the dancefloor more hyped up. This was a prototype of Rap and Hip-Hop which itself was first made popular in New York by Jamaican DJ Kool Herc and his innovation of extending breaks in funk songs, over which early rappers then freestyled. The circle of influence was now complete. This is a small collection of essential Reggae albums for the collector. - Scott Boutin