Dancehall Essentials

Dancehall Essentials

Back in the ’70s, you could forgive someone for thinking that Jamaica would never produce another form of music that would match reggae’s rhythmic power, emotional expressiveness, and world-conquering appeal. Then came dancehall. Emerging at the end of the ’70s and exploding with the development of digital samplers and keyboards in the mid-’80s, the genre used hip-hop-influenced fashion and flows to tell the undiluted stories of inner-city Kingston. That meant Sister Nancy singing over inviting horn loops and Wayne Smith describing his buzz to lurching electronic rhythms. Later, it was Beenie Man toasting over raw, club-ready beats. In the 21st century, the genre still reigns both in Jamaican clubs and on the global pop charts, where the world’s biggest stars continually find inspiration in its fierce, unique rhythms.

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