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Sugar Minott leads early dancehall

Published:Sunday | June 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Gleaner remembers

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

Can you remember the period when dancehall music first became popular? Do you remember jammin' to hits from the likes of Tony Tuff, Barry Brown, Junior Reid, Tenor Saw, Jah Stitch, and Captain Sinbad?

No doubt, those listed above were some great entertainers and dancehall pioneers, but before them was the late Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott, the 'Godfather of dancehall music'.

The 1980s is documented as the era in which dancehall music was birthed, and Sugar Minott may have paved the way for its emergence.

During the mid-1970s, while Minott was with Studio One, he developed his writing skills and produced tracks that could be considered the first set of dancehall songs.

At a time when radio and TV had sign-off periods, Minott climbed to the top of Jamaica's entertainment industry. Vanity (Ole King Cole), Hang on Natty, and Mr DC were some of his earliest recordings with Studio One.

He gained immense popularity with his debut album Live Loving, and by the release of his second album, he had become a household name.


This Ole Man, Herbman Hustling, Raggamuffin, No Vacancy, and Lover's Race are a few of his other hits.

In the 1980s, The Gleaner followed the career of Minott. In 1983, two of Minott's songs - No Vacancy and Lover's Race, peaking at No. 14 and 18, respectively - made the JBC Top-30 chart.

Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier topped the chart, while Tony Tuff's Come We Come Fi Mash It followed.

Minott was born in Kingston on May 25, 1956. Having an interest in music from an early age, he got exposure as a selector on the Sound of Silence Keystone sound system before launching his singing career in the early '70s.

He went on to record more than 50 albums and hundreds of singles, while helping to launch the careers of others.

Before his death on July 10, 2010, it had been widely known that Minott had produced early works from Nitty Gritty, Junior Reid, and Garnett Silk.