Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Veteran New York City disc jockey, Lister Hewan-Lowe, was head of Artiste and Repertoire at Island Records affiliate Mango Records in 1979 when he met Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott.
At the time, the singer, who died on Saturday, was shopping his Black Roots album.
"It was an amazing album, it was like a hit record," Hewan-Lowe told The Gleaner.
He said Minott was a unique performer.
"The way he looked, the way he sounded was just different," Hewan-Lowe said.
Black Roots, which contained songs like Hard Time Pressure and River Jordan, was distributed by Mango and is regarded by many critics as Sugar Minott's finest work. It was reissued by the Universal Music Group in 2004.
Minott also made his mark as a producer. Singers Junior Reid, Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty, Tristan Palmer, Little John and Barry Brown all recorded for his Black Roots label. Other performers such as Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel were groomed by his Youthman Promotions company.
The singer Pashon is his daughter. Minott, an affable roots singer helped introduce dancehall music to mainstream radio.
His death on Saturday at the University Hospital of the West Indies came after he was admitted on Friday.
No funeral arrangements have been announced.
The 54-year-old's wife, Maxine Stowe, told The Gleaner that the singer had suffered from breathing complications for the last six months, though several tests done on the singer were inconclusive.
"He was frustrated that they were unable to find out what was wrong with him," Stowe said.
Sugar Minott was one of the most influential figures in underground reggae during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He broke through on the sound system circuit with songs like Ruff Ole Life, River Jordan, Vanity and Mr DC.
In the 1980s, he began working with established producers such as Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, and Winston 'Niney' Holness.
Herbman Hustling, produced by the former, became his first big radio hit while Holness' No Vacancy also fared well on the airwaves.
Minott's biggest seller, however, was a cover of the Jackson Five's Good Thing Going which peaked at number four on the British national charts in 1981.