What Is Reggae Music? With 7 Top Examples & History - Music Industry How To (2022)

What Is Reggae Music? With 7 Top Examples & History - Music Industry How To (1)

Since its inception in the late 1960s, reggae has found its way into widespread appeal and recognition worldwide; it is even recognized by UNESCO as a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for its beauty and power.

It has achieved a level of prominence and influence that few other genres have, while also retaining its cultural roots.

In this piece, we’ll explore some examples of the genre and introduce some notable artists.

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Contents

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Definition: What Is Reggae Music?

What Is Reggae Music? With 7 Top Examples & History - Music Industry How To (3)

Reggae music is one of the most distinctive musical genres out there – while some genres are defined by vague gestures of “a driving beat” or “an acoustic sound,” Reggae has very clear defining characteristics, both musically and historically.

Broadly, the term represents the genre that emerged from Jamaica (particularly Kingston) in the late 1960s—an eclectic sound inspired by jazz, ska, and blues. Reggae also has heavy ties to Rastafari, a religious and sociopolitical movement with origins in Jamaica during the 1930s.

Reggae Music Characteristics

Reggae’s musical characteristics are especially distinctive, including a classic “beat” and specific instruments used in specific ways. That beat is one of the most recognizable aspects of reggae. It typically uses a combination of snare drums, bass, and staccato chords on a keyboard or guitar.

Most reggae tracks are in major keys, despite reggae’s broad emotional spectrum. There are often multiple vocalists who harmonize with each other to weave powerful melodies over the simple, yet effective instrumentation.

The beat is almost always in 4/4 time with a syncopated style that lines up with the offbeat in a noticeable way. This signature rhythm gives it the characteristic groove that listeners often associate with the genre.

There are three main categories of Reggae beat: Rockers, Steppers, and One drop. One drop focuses almost exclusively on the backbeat, while Steppers bring an insistent bass drum to all four beats. Rockers can have a wide variance of syncopation, focusing more on the vibe the beat is creating than a particular pattern within it.

The aforementioned staccato chords are typically known as a skank, which creates the easily recognizable dum-bum-bum, dum-bum sound for which Reggae is well known.

The bass guitar also plays a very prominent role in reggae – typically, musicians will adjust the tone, either within a recording or after, to further accentuate its lower pitch values and percussive potential. This provides for a unique sound expressed through the walking bass lines often associated with reggae music.

Finally, reggae is characterized by lyrics that celebrate and/or criticize – celebrating that which is good and beautiful in life, while criticizing the political systems that oppress marginalized individuals of all varieties. These lyrics tend to be heavily influenced by Jamaican dialects of English such as patois, which blends linguistic elements from creole and West African tongues.

Also, reggae often includes intervals of “chatting,” which are often improvisational (though sometimes prepared) moments of talk-singing where the singer stays primarily on one single note. It’s similar to rap, though rap doesn’t always have the same melodic aspect to it that chatting does.

7 Examples of Reggae Music

What Is Reggae Music? With 7 Top Examples & History - Music Industry How To (4)

Those abstract notes on what Reggae is might be a little hard to understand, especially if you aren’t an expert on music theory. But that’s okay! We have here seven of the greatest reggae songs, so you can further understand what we’re talking about as well as explore your palate for the genre.

The Wailers – “Get Up, Stand Up”

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, both members of the Wailers, co-wrote this song in 1973. It first appeared on the album they released that year called Burnin’.

The track is structured like a wake-up call that is deeply rooted in Rastafari political theology, criticizing artists and religious people alike who would allow themselves to be placated by the pleasures of this world without being outraged by its injustices.

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It follows a Marxist critique of afterlife-focused religion, lamenting people’s complacency with a justice that only comes after death in heaven. Such a belief makes God into something static, forces heaven underground, and dilutes the political power of art and religion into mere escapism.

Further, the power of this song’s critique lies within its context – it does not critique religion from an outside perspective, but rather from within. Get Up, Stand Up is one of the heights of political struggle within Rastafari reggae, and its critique parallels the critiques of afterlife-focused Christianity found within Catholic liberation theology in Latin America.

It is a song that celebrates the Black struggle, and it operates as a call to action to all who would listen: Get up! Stand up!

Toots and the Maytals – “Sweet and Dandy”

While reggae can act as an outlet for militant political struggle, it is just as well-suited for joyous celebration. And that is exactly what Toots and the Maytals bring in Sweet and Dandy – you can hear the sheer delight shining through every word Toots sings throughout the song. It would be very difficult indeed to listen to this track without smiling once.

The song tells the story of a wedding celebration taking place in The Isle of Springs – it explores the hilarity, the beauty, the joy, the love, the arguments, the wonder of it all with such an exulting voice that you’ll want to play it on repeat. It brings the listener close, allowing them to hear the ordinary glories of a community in the Jamaican countryside. Due to its intimacy and delight, some have even named this piece among the best reggae songs that have ever been made.

Deborahe Glasgow – “Champion Lover”

Reggae can also be deeply erotic, overflowing with carnal desire. Glasgow’s Champion Lover exemplifies that aspect well – she primarily operated within the genre of British lovers rock, which drew heavily from reggae but dove deeply into themes of feminine desire and more laid-back musicality.

The lyrics come from the perspective of a woman talking with her lover about how intensely she desires them, and how she plans to overwhelm the lover with the thrill of her desire. The piece is notable not just for its smooth vocals and delightful sexuality, but also for how deeply feminist it is.

Feminists have often criticized how the culture reduces women to sexual objects rather than sexual agents with desires. Glasgow is referring to herself as a Champion Lover – she is the one that has erotic agency, and she is the one who will show her beloved a good time. Such a concept was revolutionary at the time, and Glasgow was rightly praised for it.

Glasgow’s masterpiece here served as the basis for the ultimately more popular, “Mr. Lover Man” by Shabba Ranks, but Glasgow’s powerful vocals and unapologetic femininity led us to choose this version over Ranks’.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “One Love/People Get Ready”

This is perhaps one of Marley’s best-known hits because it generated, or at the very least popularized, one of the most popular political slogans of its time – “one love”. The Rastafari themes are on prominent display in the track, encouraging listeners to thank and praise the Lord as they attempt to find themselves back to a place of universal love from the beginning of the world.

This likely refers to the Garden of Eden before the Christian/Rastafari concept of the Fall, where evil was introduced to the world. Marley sings that there is no way to hide from the Creator – so why allow our shame to prevent us from loving others? He encourages listeners – to stay dedicated to one love at the center of it all.

The Heptones – “Book of Rules”

Barry Llewellyn of the Heptones wrote “Book of Rules” in 1973, adapting it from the poem “A Bag of Tools” written by U.S. poet R.L. Sharpe in 1890. The song and poem alike reflect on how everyone is given their bag of tools and book of rules, and we make choices throughout our lives to use our bag and our book to either do good for others or do harm to them.

It’s a beautiful tune, notable for how it incorporates American poetic language into the cadence and style of Jamaican reggae. The song is philosophical, reflective, and beautiful – it is well worth a listen!

Judy Mowatt – “Black Woman”

Judy Mowatt’s voice was an important one throughout her whole career, whether as a solo artist or as a supporting voice in Bob Marley’s I-Three or the Gaylettes. She released “Black Woman” in 1980, and it was one of her greatest pieces. The track explores the struggles of slave women, Black women in the contemporary world, and Biblical women, weaving together the stories of all three with an effortless-seeming hopefulness that draws in the listener.

The song is also an early example of womanist theology in music – womanist theology examines sacred texts for what they have to say to and about Black women specifically. While the exploration of this theology is often limited to academia or (less formally) church Bible studies, it is typically not seen in music. But Mowatt does an incredible job at communicating her pride and joy in her ancestors (spiritual or physical) in this way.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “Redemption Song”

Bob Marley had many unique gifts, and one of them was his capacity to find the universal within the personal. He dived down so deep into himself that you couldn’t help but relate. That may be part of the “One Love” philosophy, but it is also refreshingly and beautifully on display in “Redemption Song.”

This track has the reputation of being Marley’s final one – that isn’t true, but it nonetheless feels to many like his goodbye. The lyrics delight in the enduring power of hope in music – all we ever have, after all, are our songs of freedom. He desperately wants his listener not to submit to a kind of mental subservience where the world keeps them in constant fear of harm, danger, and apocalypse.

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No, Bob Marley’s call in Redemption Song is very different: never lose hope. No matter how bad your situation seems, never give in. Instead, turn to your redemption songs, your songs of freedom, to stir up the old flame of hope within you once again.

5 Top Reggae Musicians

What Is Reggae Music? With 7 Top Examples & History - Music Industry How To (5)

Now that you have an idea of what reggae music is, we can dive into the musicians that made it a truly global phenomenon.

Bob Marley

There’s no figure like Bob Marley elsewhere in reggae. It would be extremely difficult to understate his influence on the genre and its global reach. He danced through all three genres of early Jamaican popular music, rocksteady, ska, and reggae, and brought a unique style of both voice and writing to his work.

Much of Marley’s work was known in the context of his collaboration with the Wailers, a band formed with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh in 1963. Their work together became well known throughout the world.

Marley converted to Rastafari early in his career, and brought that spirituality to everything he did, advocating for the religion’s political and ethical ideals of anti-imperialism and universal love. Partially because of this, he was an especially Jamaican symbol throughout the world, as well as a symbol of democratic, Pan-African, and pro-marijuana politics in Jamaica.

By the end of his life, Marley had become one of the best-selling artists of all time, with outlets like Rolling Stone naming him as one of their greatest artists of all time. His impact was immense, and there is a good reason he has the beloved status he does.

Black Uhuru

Black Uhuru was initially formed in 1972 and has changed several times in the times it has been active (though Derrick “Duckie” Simpson has stayed stably with it through the years). The group is perhaps best known for having won the first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for their wildly popular album Anthem in 1985.

Even though the group’s history has been marked with some strife and separation, Black Uhuru has contributed a great deal to the history of the genre. From the grounded sounds of “Solidarity” to the tongue-in-cheek humor of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Black Uhuru’s music has long been respected in reggae and has brought a new level of beauty to the world in their work.

The group is also one of the few who are still active following having been highly successful in the genre’s international heyday. They have received a great deal of recognition, even beyond their Grammy Award – like receiving the Las Vegas Key to the City.

Bunny Wailer

The late, great Bunny Wailer was one of the major pioneers of reggae, especially through his collaboration with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh as an original member of the Wailers.

He has won three different Grammy Awards in his time, and his work in percussion and experimentation after his time with the Wailers both provided some of the foundations for the genre of reggae and opened it up for further exploration in his experimental dealings with disco and funk.

Marcia Griffiths

One of the great women of the genre, Marcia Griffiths has been a mainstay of reggae since it was first being formed. She got her start in music because the Blues Busters’ Phillip James had overheard her singing in her neighborhood and invited her to perform with him. But she soon made her career very much her own, taking part in the I Threes (a vocal backing group that worked very frequently with Bob Marley and the Wailers).

She has published a good deal of work in the genre, but her best-known song is “Electric Boogie,” a cover of a Bunny Wailer song. Her version became immensely internationally popular as it became the origin of the Electric Slide dance craze.

Toots and the Maytals/The Maytals

Toots Hibbert served as the frontman for this classic reggae band since the early 1960s, and his work in pioneering the genre is some of the most influential in its history. Since Hibbert’s death, the group has been known as The Maytals rather than Toots and the Maytals.

They had their first global success in the song “Monkey Man,” which became quite successful in the United Kingdom and has since been covered many times by British artists like Amy Winehouse and The Specials.

The History of Reggae Music

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The term reggae was first used in 1968, in the Toots and Maytals song “Do the Reggay.” But the genre’s roots are primarily drawn from two others that were popular in Jamaica before then: ska and rocksteady.

Origins

Ska came first, developing in the 1950s as a fusion of U.S. R&B, Jamaican mento, and calypso from Trinidad and Tobago. Rocksteady evolved from ska, focusing on making a much more relaxed version of its driving beats that had a focus on romantic longing.

From those two different genres, reggae was born. It left behind the influence of U.S. R&B into which rocksteady had pressed thoroughly, cleaving closer to the U.S. funk genre and doubling down on dependence on percussion and rhythm instruments.

The emergence of reggae as a genre preceded the Toots and Maytals track that conceived the name – but not by very long. Its first concrete examples were published in the first months of 1968, with songs like the Beltones’ “No More Heartaches” and Larry Marshall’s “Nanny Goat.”

Global Impact

Reggae developed an influence outside of Jamaica very quickly, with “Hold Me Tight” by U.S. musician Johnny Nash bringing it to American audiences and the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” showcasing its influence – both in 1968.

By the time 1972 rolled around, reggae had climbed its way to the very heights of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., with Three Dog Night’s legendary cover of “Bland and White,” “Mother And Child Reunion” by Paul Simon, and “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash. Reggae had cemented itself as an international phenomenon.

Two more important events took place in the early 1970s that brought reggae swiftly to international audiences: In 1973, a reggae-themed movie called The Harder They Come was released, starring reggae musician Jimmy Cliff and featuring a soundtrack that the world couldn’t get enough of.

Subsequently, In 1974, Eric Clapton recorded a cover of “I Shot the Sheriff,” one of Bob Marley’s masterpieces. Clapton’s cover was one of genuine respect that became an instant hit internationally.

But the international flourishing of Jamaican reggae would prove short-lived. Later in the 1970s, the oil crisis came about and the Jamaican economy began to wither. And reggae record production withered alongside it – not to the point of extinction, but simply to the point of losing momentum. In 1980, the genre’s most prominent representative, Bob Marley, died of cancer, which also hindered its further growth.

Today’s Reggae Scene

Where the particularly Jamaican side of reggae began to slow down, its influences began to speed up. Reggae sounds grew common within UK punk rock, which took some significant influences from the genre.

Further, reggae grew independently within the UK’s multiracial urban environments. Groups like Steel Pulse and UB40 made a new British reggae sound that focused on their cultural struggles and mingled Jamaican and Cockney slangs together.

To this day, reggae is performed inside and outside of Jamaica by many different individuals and groups, including Hempress Sativa, Rory Stone Love, Raging Fyah, and much more.

What Is Reggae Music? Final Thoughts

Reggae music is hard to encapsulate, but beyond the distinctive features of its musical stylings, it is a beautiful experience for the soul.

It is Glasgow’s passionate, untamed desire for her lover, it is Bob Marley’s persistent insistence on love and justice, it is Toots and the Maytals’ joyous celebration of local culture.

It is Jamaican, and it is more than Jamaican.

It is reggae!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you’ve learned will matter if you don’t know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career’ ebook emailed directly to you!

(Video) Reggae music of Jamaica

FAQs

What is an example of reggae music? ›

An example of this is the Black Uhuru song "Sponji Reggae". In Steppers, the bass drum plays every quarter beat of the bar, giving the beat an insistent drive. An example is "Exodus" by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Another common name for the Steppers beat is the "four on the floor".

What is the history of reggae music? ›

Reggae's roots trace back to the late 1940s and 1950s when the Jamaican recording industry was in its infancy. Mento—a rural-based music that developed from the period of slavery and which came to be influenced by Trinidadian calypso in the urban context of Kingston, was then the popular music.

How would you describe reggae music? ›

Reggae incorporates plenty of off-beat rhythms. These are usually staccato beats played by a guitar or piano (sometimes both) on the off-beats (also known as upbeats) of a measure. This gives most reggae music a 'jumpy' feel. The “one drop rhythm” is another pattern often noticed in reggae.

What is reggae music known for? ›

The genre is known for its propulsive percussion, hypnotic bass lines, and steady, up-stroke rhythm guitar (called the "skank beat"), which has helped it cut through as a dance music genre. Most reggae songs feature lyrics in Jamaican English, Jamaican Patois, or Iyaric dialects.

Why is it called reggae? ›

“Reggae” comes from the term “rege-rege” which means “rags” or “ragged clothes”, and this gives you your first clue into the story behind reggae music.

How many types of reggae music are there? ›

10 Types Of Reggae Music
  • Dub Reggae.
  • Dancehall.
  • Reggaeton.
  • Raggamuffin.
  • Reggae Fusion.
  • Lovers Rock.
  • Reggae Rock.
  • African Reggae.
20 Jun 2022

Who made the first reggae song? ›

For many of us, Jimmy Cliff's 1973 song “The Harder They Come” was the first reggae piece we'd heard. Reggae grew out of two earlier styles of Jamaican music, ska and rocksteady. And these were both preceded by the Jamaican folk/pop music of the 1950s, a style called mento.

Why was reggae created? ›

Roots reggae concerned itself with the everyday life and hopes of Africans, led by the Rastafarian belief and it was this genre that Bob Marley and the Wailers took global. Marley sang of the past oppressions of slavery and the future hopes of unity.

How does reggae make you feel? ›

Reggae is known as relaxing music to help calm you down a little. If you are tired and a little down, putting on some old punk music can take you back to the good old days, giving you a nice energy boost!

What are the main instruments in reggae music? ›

6 Reggae Musical Instruments You Should Know
  • Guitar.
  • Bass Guitar.
  • Drums and Percussion.
  • Piano and Keyboard.
  • Vocals.
  • Horn Section.
20 Apr 2022

How do you play reggae music? ›

Learn how to play a Reggae rhythm and lead on guitar ... - YouTube

Why is reggae so popular? ›

Reggae music is one of the world's few living folk music's. It has remained incredibly popular and spontaneously generated by people's experiences, emotions and traditions. Since it's birth reggae music has been Jamaica's emotional outlet, to express thoughts and feelings about life, love and religion.

Who made reggae music popular? ›

Reggae music was mainly popularized by Bob Marley (1), first as the co-leader of the Wailers, the band that promoted the image of the urban guerrilla with Rude Boy (1966) and that cut the first album of reggae music, Best Of The Wailers (1970); and later as the political and religious (rasta) guru of the movement, a ...

Who is the main reggae artist? ›

1) Bob Marley

No list of reggae artists would be complete without Bob Marley in the top spot. Bob Marley rose to fame with his backing band, The Wailers, starting in 1963. Bob Marley's songs sounded peaceful but were often political, with popular themes of love, redemption, and struggle.

What is reggae hip hop called? ›

Reggae fusion is a genre of reggae that mixes reggae and/or dancehall with other genres, such as pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, jazz, funk, soul, disco, electronic and latin.

How do you pronounce reggae music? ›

How To Say Reggae - YouTube

What is the real meaning of reggae? ›

Definition of reggae

: popular music of Jamaican origin that combines native styles with elements of rock and soul music and is performed at moderate tempos with the accent on the offbeat.

What is another name for reggae? ›

In this page you can discover 15 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for reggae, like: rhythm-and-blues, jazz, dance-music, ska, ragga, afrobeat, rock-n-roll, rockabilly, punk, rocksteady and r-b.

Who gave reggae its name? ›

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, front man of Toots and the Maytals, the pioneering ska and rock steady group, says that he invented the term “reggae” to describe what has become one of the most popular musical genres in the world. The group's song “Do The Reggay” is considered the first to use the word.

When was reggae music created? ›

Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that evolved out of the earlier genres like Ska and Rocksteady.

What does roots mean in reggae music? ›

Roots reggae is a subgenre of reggae that deals with the everyday lives and aspirations of Africans and those in the African Diaspora, including the spiritual side of Rastafari, black liberation, revolution and the honoring of God, called Jah by Rastafarians.

Who is the father of reggae? ›

The first to use the word reggae on a record, he sang in a soulful tone and wrote songs with subtle social commentary, helping bring the sounds of Jamaica to the world.

Who is the king of reggae music? ›

Jamaican musician Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley, would have been 74 years old today, February 6. Thirty-eight years after he died of skin cancer, he, however, remains wildly celebrated as one of those who popularised reggae or for some, as the 'King of Reggae'.

Is reggae still popular? ›

These days, reggae may not be a commercially powerful genre in and of itself. But as we noted earlier, it inspires, informs, and inflects countless popular songs to this day. And make no mistake, in its home base of Jamaica, reggae is still a very big deal.

Who is the king of reggae in Africa? ›

The South African born but globally revered reggae legend recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English, and Afrikaans in a 25-year period and was South Africa's as well as Africa's biggest-selling reggae superstar to date.
...
Lucky Dube
LabelsRykodisc, Gallo Record Company
10 more rows

How is reggae different from other music? ›

Reggae music is very different from other musical styles in that the emphasis is placed on the off-beat, usually by a rhythm guitar, piano or synthesizer. When people dance to disco or pop music, they move in time with the bass or bass drum beat, but dancing to reggae music involves moving in time with the off-beat.

How do you write reggae? ›

Tips to Writing Reggae Music - YouTube

What is the time signature of reggae? ›

Reggae is a style of music which originated in the Caribbean. Bob Marley is one of the most famous reggae musicians along with Peter Tosh. Reggae usually has a 2/4 or 4/4 with accented 2nd notes time signature, and a low tempo.

What type of drums are used in reggae music? ›

The reggae drum set is essentially a compacted form of all African drum and percussion elements. As a reggae drummer, I have a bass drum, two rack toms, a floor tom, hi-hats, two crash cymbals, a ride cymbal, a splash cymbal, a timbale, a jam block, a tambourine, and a cowbell.

What is the texture of reggae music? ›

The texture is homophonic and the form is ternary.

What is the reggae beat called? ›

One drop rhythm is a reggae style drum beat.

How do you play reggae lead? ›

RHYTHM GUITAR: Reggae Lead Fills & Hooks - YouTube

How do you play reggae beat? ›

How To Play Reggae On The Drums - Drum Lesson (DRUMEO) - YouTube

Which guitar is used in reggae? ›

Most often, the guitar in reggae music is a Stratocaster. It's because the sound that they produce has a distinctive twang and brightness that really drench out the music. The distinctive sound is what sets it apart from other instruments and makes it easier to hear in reggae music.

What are the colors of reggae? ›

#Rasta and #Reggae Animal Print Mini Dress #RastaEmpire

Rastafari Fashion: A style that consists of bright red, gold, and green colors and a dreadlocks hairstyle. The style became popular because of Bob Marley and was worn by the followers of the Rastafarian religion.

How has reggae music shaped the Jamaican culture? ›

Jamaica's distinctive sounds, fashion, style, dance and language continue to influence global culture as artists, musicians, visual artists and dancers showcasing the Jamaican sound travel the world, spreading the message of “One Love” through the power of Reggae music.

Who is the best reggae singer? ›

15 Greatest And Most Famous Reggae Singers Of All Time
  • Bob Marley.
  • Peter Tosh.
  • Desmond Dekker.
  • Gregory Isaacs.
  • Jimmy Cliff.
  • Dennis Brown.
  • Burning Spear.
  • Toots.
24 May 2022

Who is the best reggae artist now? ›

Most Streamed Reggae & Dancehall Artists On YouTube 2021
1.SEAN PAUL (Jamaica)1,13 Billion
2.BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS* (Jamaica)909 Million
3.DREAD MAR I (Argentina)760 Million
4.SHAGGY (Jamaica)483 Million
5.VYBZ KARTEL (Jamaica)416 Million
5 more rows
4 Jan 2022

Who is the best selling reggae artist? ›

1 gave Bob Marley & The Wailers (Jamaica) their 35th entry and 12th No. 1 on the US Reggae Albums chart. Legend – The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers, with sales of over 10 million in the US alone, is the biggest-selling reggae album of all-time.

Who is the best reggae musician in Africa? ›

Lucky Dube is arguably Africa's greatest ever reggae artiste. Born in South African in August 1967, he released countless songs such as Freedom Fighter, Respect and War And Crime. Most of his songs tackled apartheid and other political issues.

Who is the best singer in Jamaica? ›

10 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Jamaican Singers Of All Time
  • Bob Marley.
  • Shaggy.
  • Damian Marley.
  • Sean Paul.
  • Spice.
  • Bunny Wailer.
  • Peter Tosh.
  • Sean Kingston.

How many basic ingredients does a reggae song have? ›

The ingredients of reggae A reggae song has four basic musical ingredients. The lowest part is the bass part. Usually this is a short bass guitar tune which is repeated over and over again and forms a musical foundation for the song. Musicians call a tune of this sort a RIFF and a reggae riff is played very loudly.

How many genres of reggae are there? ›

The term is more specifically used to indicate a particular style that originated after the development of rocksteady. In this sense, reggae includes two sub-genres: roots reggae (the original reggae) and dancehall reggae, which originated in the late 1970s.

Who is the king of reggae music? ›

Jamaican musician Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley, would have been 74 years old today, February 6. Thirty-eight years after he died of skin cancer, he, however, remains wildly celebrated as one of those who popularised reggae or for some, as the 'King of Reggae'.

What instruments are in reggae music? ›

  • Guitar. What is this? ...
  • Bass Guitar. The Bass Guitar is often considered the lead singer of reggae instruments. ...
  • Drums and Percussion. Drums and Percussion are vital parts of reggae music, as they help maintain the traditional 4/4 time. ...
  • Piano and Keyboard. ...
  • Vocals. ...
  • Horn Section.
20 Apr 2022

Who made reggae popular? ›

Reggae music was mainly popularized by Bob Marley (1), first as the co-leader of the Wailers, the band that promoted the image of the urban guerrilla with Rude Boy (1966) and that cut the first album of reggae music, Best Of The Wailers (1970); and later as the political and religious (rasta) guru of the movement, a ...

Who started reggae first? ›

Among those who pioneered the new reggae sound, with its faster beat driven by the bass, were Toots and the Maytals, who had their first major hit with “54-46 (That's My Number)” (1968), and the Wailers—Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and reggae's biggest star, Bob Marley—who recorded hits at Dodd's Studio One and later ...

Why was reggae created? ›

Roots reggae concerned itself with the everyday life and hopes of Africans, led by the Rastafarian belief and it was this genre that Bob Marley and the Wailers took global. Marley sang of the past oppressions of slavery and the future hopes of unity.

Who is the founder of reggae music? ›

Toots Hibbert, a founder of reggae who coined the term for the music genre and helped build it into an international movement, died Friday. He was 77.

What is another name for reggae? ›

In this page you can discover 15 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for reggae, like: rhythm-and-blues, jazz, dance-music, ska, ragga, afrobeat, rock-n-roll, rockabilly, punk, rocksteady and r-b.

Who is the No 1 singer in the world? ›

Top 10 Best Singers of All Time
RankSingerGenre
1Michael JacksonPop, Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Disco, & Dance
2Stevie WonderSoul, Pop, R&B, Funk, & Jazz
3Marvin GayeSoul, R&B, Funk, Pop, & Jazz
4Freddie MercuryHard Rock, Music Hall, Glitter, & Prog Rock
6 more rows
31 May 2022

Who is the best reggae in the world? ›

Here are seven of the best reggae artists of all-time, each of them having helped to define and popularise the genre around the globe.
  • 7) Burning Spear. ...
  • 6) Steel Pulse. ...
  • 5) Peter Tosh. ...
  • 4) Sizzla. ...
  • 3) Toots and the Maytals. ...
  • 2) Desmond Dekker. ...
  • 1) Bob Marley.

How do you play reggae music? ›

Learn how to play a Reggae rhythm and lead on guitar ... - YouTube

How does reggae make you feel? ›

Reggae is known as relaxing music to help calm you down a little. If you are tired and a little down, putting on some old punk music can take you back to the good old days, giving you a nice energy boost!

How do you write reggae? ›

Tips to Writing Reggae Music - YouTube

Why is reggae so popular? ›

Reggae music is one of the world's few living folk music's. It has remained incredibly popular and spontaneously generated by people's experiences, emotions and traditions. Since it's birth reggae music has been Jamaica's emotional outlet, to express thoughts and feelings about life, love and religion.

Is reggae still popular? ›

These days, reggae may not be a commercially powerful genre in and of itself. But as we noted earlier, it inspires, informs, and inflects countless popular songs to this day. And make no mistake, in its home base of Jamaica, reggae is still a very big deal.

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