The Americas' and the Caribbean have always had a close relationship. The black Caribs - indigenous Caribbeans, traveled between the Americas and the Caribbean. The Mayans and the Arawak traveled throughout South America and into the Caribbean areas of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola or modern day Haiti/Dominican Republic as well. The slave trade brought Africans through the Caribbean for "conditioning". Many families and friends were broken up to be hauled to the Americas to work in the cotton fields as slaves, while others stayed behind in the Caribbean. Some went to Brazil and Mexico, etc. These familial and blood ties cannot be denied. It is nearly impossible to distinguish between African-Americans, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Caribbean, and African people, except by maybe dress, language and other outward cultural behaviors.
This being the case, it was inevitable that there would be cross cultural connections and similarities. This is why African-American music of the 50's and 60's had such a large impact on Jamaica at the time, leading to the rhythm pattern of Ska, a strictly Jamaican invented sound. The Jamaicans however would continue to be influenced by American DJ's, mainly from Louisiana and the South, who would hoot, holler, and chant over tunes. This led to the invention of the Jamaican DJ, a wordsmith upon the mic.
The heavy influence of musical instruments on the early years of ska and reggae produced a host of talented musicians. Combined with a civil rights and black empowerment movement, you had the birth of reggae music and the conscious movement and message of Rastafari; the Ethiopian King, who is of the seed of David from the line of Solomon.
Reggae music dominated into the late 70's, until the use of digital instruments became more affordable and readily available. This produced the digital sound of dancehall music and the song Sleng Teng is credited with being one of, if not the first "dancehall" tune. This digital sound revolution was also simultaneously taking hold in the ghettos of the U.S amongst the black youths. The song Planet Rock by African Bambaata is the typification of this movement as was sparked by the German group Numbers.
This digital music revolution made the 45" record essential for shows and now Selectas (called so because they selected the "chunes" to be played) needed this format (the 45" record) in order to deliver their music to the people through a SOUND SYSTEM. These sound systems would play for people in local towns and neighborhoods and soon replace live bands in terms of popularity in Jamaica. As sound systems began to increase in demand, more new music was needed and this demand for more music was filled by local, Jamaican artists, giving birth to the dancehall scene.
Rappers, called DJ's in Jamaica, would chat or toast upon the riddim, while entertaining the crowd. This is the format that a Jamaican named DJ Kool Herc, would bring to the inner city ghettos of New York. Thus Hip Hop was born. . .
Selecta Fyah Starter,
Riddim Express(Sound System)
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