Reggae music has many different sub-genres, each with their own unique feel and style. In this post, we explore the different types of reggae music and what sets them apart.
Reggae is a type of music that was developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. It is a mixture of African, Caribbean, and British musical styles. Reggae is usually played with drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard instruments. The most important instrument in reggae is the drums.
Ska is a style of Jamaican music that emerged in the late 1950s as a slower version of the then-popular Mento genre. Ska eventually developed into two subgenres: Rocksteady and Reggae. Ska is characterized by its bouncy, offbeat rhythm guitar, horns, and rhythmic vocals.
The rise of ska coincided with the early days of Jamaican independence from British colonial rule. The music became immensely popular among Jamaican youth, who found it to be a perfect reflection of their own experience of growing up in a new nation. Ska quickly spread throughout the Caribbean and became one of the most popular musical genres in Jamaica.
Rocksteady emerged in the late 1960s as a slower, more soulful offshoot of ska. The name rocksteady comes from the sound system parties that were common in Jamaica at the time, where DJs would play records at a very steady pace to keep dancers on their feet all night long. This new style of music was slower and more reflective than ska, with lyrics that often addressed social issues like poverty and racism.
Reggae evolved out of rocksteady in the early 1970s and quickly became Jamaica’s most popular musical genre. Reggae is characterized by its distinctive rhythm, which is created by a drumming pattern called the “one drop”. This style of music often includes strong political or religious themes in its lyrics, and is deeply rooted in Rastafarianism, an Afrocentric religion that originated in Jamaica.
Rocksteady is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1960s. It was named after a style of dance that was popular at the time. It is characterized by slow, rock-steady rhythms and easy-to-sing melodies, and is considered to be a precursor to reggae.
The beat of rocksteady is similar to that of ska, but it is slower and more accentuated on the back beat. The guitars often have a bouncy, up-and-down syncopated rhythm called “skank.” The bass line is also very important in rocksteady, often holding down the fort with a simple, but driving groove.
The lyrics of rocksteady songs are usually about love, as opposed to the political or social commentary found in many reggae songs. The classic rocksteady song “The Tide Is High” by The Paragons perfectly exemplifies this theme.
Some well-known rocksteady artists include Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, and The Paragons.
Dub is a genre of music that grew out of reggae in the 1960s. It is characterized by a heavily synthesized bassline and echo effects. Dub is often used as a suffix to refer to modified versions of existing songs, or as a standalone term to describe instrumental reggae tracks.
Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term “reggae” is sometimes used broadly to refer to most types of popular Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady, and dub. Reggae is based on a rhythm style that is characterized by regular chops on the off beat, known as the skank. This choppy guitar strumming accompanies the “one drop” rhythm, which is a steady drum beat that emphasizes the second and fourth beats in each bar. The result is a heavily syncopated rhythm that is perfect for dancing.
The lyrics of reggae songs often address social or political issues, as well as topics such as love, religion, and personal relationships. Reggae singers are known for their smooth, melodic vocals and conscious lyrics. Although reggae originated in Jamaica, it has been adopted by many other cultures around the world and there is now a thriving reggae scene in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
There are many different subgenres of reggae music, each with its own unique sound and style. Some of the most popular reggae subgenres include:
-Ska: Ska was the precursor to reggae and was very popular in Jamaica in the 1960s. Ska songs are characterized by their fast tempo and high energy. The lyrics are often lighthearted and mocking, with lots of wordplay and puns.
-Rocksteady: Rocksteady emerged in Jamaica in the late 1960s as a slower alternative to ska. Rocksteady songs typically have a laid-back feel with relaxed vocals and simple instrumentation featuring drums, bass, guitar, and piano (sometimes horns as well). The lyrics often deal with love and relationships.
-Dub: Dub is a type of reggae that emphasizes the drum and bass parts of the song while stripping away other instruments and vocals. Dub songs are often remixed versions of existing reggae tracks with additional echo and reverb added to create a more atmospheric sound.
-Roots reggae: Roots reggae emerged in the 1970s as a more conscious alternative to dub music. Roots reggae deals with serious topics such as poverty, oppression, religion, and social justice. The lyrics are often executed over slow, hypnotic rhythms with minimal instrumentation featuring drums, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, and occasional horns or keyboards
Reggaeton is a type of Reggae music that originated in Jamaica in the late 1970s. The music is a fusion of Reggae, Dancehall, and Hip Hop. The lyrics are typically in Jamaican Patois or Spanish and are often about parties, dancing, and women. The music is very popular in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
Dembow is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica in the late 1980s. The style is characterized by a heavy use of the drum machine, as well as a focus on Dancehall and Hip Hop influences. Dembow is typically faster than other reggae subgenres, with a tempo of around 130 beats per minute. The name “dembow” comes from the Spanish word for drum, which is also the name of the main instrument used in this style of music.
Dembow artists often sing in Patois, Jamaican Creole, or English. Some well-known Dembow artists include Shaggy, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, and Elephant Man.
Reggaeton is a type of reggae music that originated in Puerto Rico in the late 1990s. It is a fusion of reggae and hip hop with some African and Latin influences. The lyrics are typically in Spanish, although there are some songs in English. Reggaeton is popular in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Reggae music originated in the late 1960s in Jamaica. It is a combination of African and Caribbean music. Reggae is typically a slower type of music with a strong beat. The different types of reggae music are Dancehall, Dub, and Roots.
Raggamuffin, also called ragga, is a subgenre of reggae. The music is characterized by a heavy bass sound and rhythms that are often adaptations of those found in African music. Raggamuffin lyrics typically deal with poverty, violence, and other social issues.
The style developed in the late 1970s in Jamaica, and gained popularity in the 1980s with artists such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, and Shabba Ranks. In the 1990s, ragga began to be overshadowed by dancehall music. However, it has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years with artists such as Vybz Kartel and Mavado.
Dancehall is a type of Jamaican popular music that developed in the late 1970s. Initially, dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, with beats consisting of drum and bass patterns and simple melody lines. As digital instrumentation became more prevalent, violent and sexual lyrics became more commonplace in dancehall music.
Keyword: The Different Types of Reggae Music