Reprinted from RICE RADIO FOLIO
the origins of DUB
by scottie mcdonald
rice radio reggae
Many people know that American rap /
had its roots in Jamaican
Reggae. The Jamaican toaster 'deejays' used to rap over the
instrumental 'B' sides of Reggae singles, and this evolved into Reggae
deejay or dancehall music. The early American rap artists locked onto
this dancehall approach and molded it into their own urban expression.
It is these same Jamaican seven-inch singles, however, that also
spawned the phenomenon we know today as Dub music.
Jamaica has always
been a singles' market (possibly because a lot more people could afford
them than they could full albums). All any artist needed was one song
to put out a record, since the 'B' side was almost always the 'version'
side (i.e., the Dub version!).
Starting out by simply running the multi-track recording tape without
the vocal, the early Jamaican recording engineers began to experiment
with mixing the instruments in and out, and adding effects during this
phase of the recording session. Having worked long hours to obtain
just the right mix for the latest 'smash hit' vocal release, this final
phase became the time when the engineer could 'stretch out' ... letting
go the constraints a structured vocal mix implied.
The singer was
rarely involved (since their part of the session was completed) and,
thus, the engineer began taking more and more liberties with the tracks
he had so arduously recorded.
As the popularity of these Dub versions grew, the reputations of the
top engineers grew as well, and names like King Tubby,
Perry, Scientist, and Prince Jammy became names on exciting Dub
Following many years of assembling these 'B' side mixes into
album collections, adventurous engineers began producing music
specifically for Dub.
Names like Mad Professor and Adrian Sherwood
appeared and became synonymous with Dub's innovative musical
experiments. (An expose' on Sherwood's On-U
Sound record label would be
a thesis in itself, with it's birthing of Creation Rebel, New Age
Steppers, Singers and Players, Dub Syndicate,
African Head Charge, and Revolutionary Dub Warriors.)
Leading Reggae acts like Black Uhuru, Culture, and Israel
Vibration began releasing companion Dub albums to their vocal
counterparts ... all to the excitement of the relentless Dub fan.
American record companies jumped on the bandwagon and began including
'altered' instrumental and dance mixes
on their top artists' 12-inch singles;
and with advances in digital technology, so, too, Dub formats expanded
and spawned spaced-out, instrumentally-intensive
electronic, drum and bass,
trip hop, etc.
Remarkably, whether it be Mad Professor, Scratch, or
Sherwood, most of
the top names in Reggae Dub seemed to be coming out of the U.K.
This continues to be the case today with names like The
Disciples, Dub Specialists, Alpha and Omega,
Warrior, Power Steppers, Bush Chemists, East Meets
West, The Rootsman, and Dub Funk Association - all
being based out of England. Some great compilation albums have
resulted, and excellent collections include the
Echo Beach label's series King Size Dub 10-12,
Tanty Records' series Roots of Dub Funk 4-6,
BSI's Docking Sequence Vol. 1, and many more.
Releases that have resided atop KTRU's Reggae charts include
Ras Command's Best of: Serious Smokers,
local heroes Last Soul Descendents' new Inner Vision,
Dubmatix' Champion Sound Clash,
Teledubgnosis' Magnetic Learning Center,
Bill Laswell's ROIR Dub Sessions and
Version 2 Version, and
Featured regularly on KTRU's Rice Radio Reggae each Wednesday
afternoon, this surge of U.K./E.U. Dub shows little sign of
More and more Dub artists continue to emerge ... each with something to
add to the already prolific soundscape of Dub offerings.
Get yourself a dose of some of this "Irie" Dub each week
when Rice Radio Reggae explores the many facets of Reggae music.
Encouraged also is browsing through the show's playlists on the KTRU
Web site at
and emailing questions, comments or requests for upcoming shows to
Rice Radio Reggae airs Wednesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Central Time on
KTRU Houston, with free Smartphone Apps
and on the Web at
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