U-Roy, Legendary Reggae and Dancehall Innovator, Dies at 78

* Very sad to hear that Daddy U-Roy – The Originator – has passed away.

Such an incredibly important and influential artist.

#RIP to the King of DJs.

Jamaican musician U-Roy has died, Jamaican media sources report. His longtime collaborator Neil Fraser, aka Ariwa Sounds studio’s Mad Professor, confirmed the news.

He was 78. U-Roy, or Daddy U-Roy, was known for pioneering the vocal style of “toasting,” performing conversational, rhythmic speech over a reggae or dancehall beat. Throughout his career, U-Roy released some 20 records and contributed to Toots and Maytals’ Grammy-winning album True Love. He was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his influence on the country’s music scene.

Born Ewart Beckford in Jones Town, Jamaica, in the 1940s, U-Roy was given his nickname by a younger family member who couldn’t pronounce Ewart. He started his musical career as a deejay—in the Jamaican parlance, a vocalist over reggae and dancehall music—and earned a reputation as the King of Toasters (and later as the Originator).

We have so much to thank U Roy for. His musical style will live on forever.

A true reggae phenomenon.

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