Reggae Pioneer U-Roy Dies at 78

The Jamaican reggae musician, who introduced the vocal style of ‘toasting’ which eventually evolved into the modern-day rap, has passed away at the age of 78.

AceShowbiz -Jamaican reggae pioneer U-Roy has died, aged 78.

Born Ewart Beckford, the artist, also known as Daddy U-Roy, began his career as a DJ, and became famed for creating the vocal style of “toasting,” in which musicians performed rhymical speech over a reggae or dancehall beat – which eventually evolved into modern-day rap.

He signed his first recording contract with Jamaican producer and label owner Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid in 1970, and enjoyed early success with singles “Wake the Town”, “This Station Rule the Nation”, and “Wear You to the Ball”.

He also revamped The Paragons‘ “The Tide Is High”, which was later covered by Blondie, before rising to international prominence in the mid to late 1970s, with albums such as “Natty Rebel” and “Jah Son of Africa“.

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U-Roy also established his own musical collective, named Stur Gav, and helped to shine a light on proteges including Ranking Joe, Brigadier Jerry, Josey Wales, and Charli Chaplin.

Throughout his career, he worked with the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Lloyd Daley, Bunny Lee, and Phil Pratt, and famously collaborated with Toots and the Maytals on their Grammy-winning album “True Love”.

In 2007, he was honoured with the Order of Distinction by Jamaican government officials in recognition of his influence on the nation’s music industry.

He remained active on the music scene right up until the late 2010s, and dropped his last project, “Rebel in Styylle“, in 2019.

U-Roy passed away on Wednesday (17Feb21). A cause of death has not been released.

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