DanceHall Music has taken many turns away from traditional reggae but it always return to its Jamaican roots. This factor has always been a part of the development of reggae or Jamaican Music. This pattern is seen in RockSteady, Ska, Reggae and now is evident in DanceHall Music. Outside influences have helped shape both Jamaican culture and music but Jamaican youths always want their culture to be exclusively theirs so they re-invent their music and culture to reflect their identity.
Prolific performers such as Millie Small, with her hit song "My Boy Lollipop" and Desmond Dekker with "Poor Me Israelite" were the forerunners of Jamaican music overseas. Jimmy Cliff and others successfully followed them.


Reggae music is now influencing various types of music. From India to Japan and from Puerto Rico to Senegal, the influence can be found in the beats and rythms that gives raggae music its distinctive sound.
Reggae in India - http://www.hindu.com/lf/2004/05/23/stories/2004052300250200.htm
Reggae in Puerto Rico -


Although, reggae music has a variety of genres, all Jamaican music is considered Reggae music. The difference in content and style varies widely, however because Jamaica is so small the music often fuses together, blurring the lines between the different genres.


Reggae has made numerous transformations through the years. Reggae musicians have added various influences and other popular musicians have furthered the style. In the latter part of the 1970s vocal groups such as Culture and the Abyssinians added rich harmonies and religious meditations to reggae.
Singer Gregory Isaacs became highly popular in the 1980s by bringing a crooning style to the genre. An electronic, techno-pop-based variation of reggae, known as raggamuffin or ragga, emerged with the song “Under Me Sleng Teng” (1985), which was produced by King Jammy. The British band UB40 has been a successful advocate of pop-reggae, topping the Billboard magazine popular music charts with the song “Red Red Wine” in 1988.
The raw DJ style of Jamaican performer Shabba Ranks earned him consecutive Grammy Awards in 1991 and 1992. In the 1990s American rock bands such as No Doubt revived the Ska style. Many other popular artists have been or continue to be influenced by the rhythms of reggae, including British musicians such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, and the Police, and American musicians Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
I love reading books about reggae. One of my favorites is a book called "Catch a Fire". It is a biography on Bob Marley written by Timothy Walker. This book features interviews with Bob's family, as well as indepth commentary on the legend's entire life from birth to his untimely death in the early eighties. My second favorite book is "Wake the Town and Tell the People" by Norman Stolzoff. This book takes an indepth look at dancehall, from its origins to its now sweeping influence over todays popular music. Both books are definate reads for all reggae lovers.
I think Sean Paul is a "Dancehall" reggae artist who will stand the test of time. Whoever, to compare him to Bob Marley would be an injustice to both him and Bob. Bob Marley is a legend and an icon who has made a lasting impact not just because of his music but because of what he stood for. He was more than a musician, he was a poet, an activist, and a visionary. No matter what part of the world you travel, someone will know who Bob Marley is. Don't get me wrong, I believe Sean Paul's music will make a lasting impact on reggae also, but he has yet to tip the iceberg of conciousness that Bob Marley represents. What's more, I don't think that Sean Paul is trying to become the next Bob Marley. I think Sean Paul has his own agenda for reggae music, 'Dancehall' in particular. He wants to make people dance, and feel the music. His passion for "Dancehall" reggae shows in every song he records. I think Sean Paul will be a legend in reggae music for his own reasons. He has already helped propel "Dancehall" music to the top of popular music charts all over the world.
Sean Paul's CD "DUTTY ROCK" is Dancehall at it's best. Every song is a banger. I can listen to the CD continuously without getting tired of it. I'm really digging track number 13, Punkie. That song just give me the chills.
Rastafarianism is a religious/political movement. Most of the roots for Rastafarianism , or Rasta as it is most commonly known, came from the teachings of Marcus Garvey. Around the 1930's he preached a message of black self empowerment and from this initiated the "back to africa" movement, which said all blacks should return back to Africa particulary Ethiopia. People who practice Rastafarianism usually wear their hair in dread locks. The reason they wear their hair this way is because it is the image of the lion of Judah. Although wearing their hair in dread locks is not the only practice of Rasta's, I feel it is the most important. Now a days people who wear their hair in dreadlocks are just doing it because it looks good or it's the trendy thing to do. They probably aren't familiar with the meaning and reasons behind dreadlocks. Most are just wearing it as a hairstyle. This is very annoying to me because people who don't know any better would see someone with dreads and automatically assume they are Jamaican. Everyone who has dreads is not Jamaican or a Rasta. A Rasta's dreads aren't perfectly seperated into boxes nor do they go to salons to get them twisted. They are grown naturally and the locks are usually big and very few. You can find more information on Rastafarianism at
For Bob Marley wear go to

Reggae emerged as romantic-themed rock-steady music, but was fired up by tensions and social protest, often violent, which took place in Jamaica in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jamaicans will tell you that reggae means "comin' from de people," a phrase coined (as was the name reggae itself) by Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals. Their single 'Do The Reggay' which debuted in 1968, expresses a yearning for respect, self-identity, and affirmation.
Rastafarians came to dominate the scene by the mid-1970s with their "rebel music". Rebel singers such as Max Romeo, the anguished Junio Byles, and Winston 'Niney' Holness, forcefully imbued their recordings with traditional Rasta chants. Instrumental to their success was the influence of radical producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry, who tinged their music with a slow, edgy mood of 'dread,' a foreboding style suggestive of impending violence that resonated among the island populace.


To Jamaicans, reggae has two distinct meanings: first, it is a generic term for all popular Jamaican music; but most specifically, it refers to the distinct beats and styles popular from about 1969 to 1983.
Early reggae was experimental and ranged widely, incorporating the jerky instrumentals of session bands and the sweet harmonies of established vocal groups, while inventing new types of rhythms.

In spite of original dancehall reggae irritating the hell out of purists, it was relatively harmless compared to what it was to become. The music deliberately lost all sense conventionality. Traditional instruments were now being replaced in favor of computerized sounds which were prized for being exactly that – computerized sounds. The rhythms sped up and took on a harshness which seemed to be designed to keep out the faint hearted. To that end, the delivery of deejays gained an edge that removed all vestiges of one love.
Dancehall represents a new generation of reggae’s primary audience reclaiming the music for themselves after ten years of roots’n’culture that: A) had not done a great deal to change the way they lived; and B) it had been adopted so thoroughly by the international mainstream it didn’t seem like "theirs" any more. This was a new wave’s way of reacting to the harshness of their environment and drew on hip hop’s brashness to express themselves with an impatience not seen in roots reggae.
This is a great site for all reggae enthusiast www.bbc.co.uk.


DanceHall, so named because so many of the records were deemed unfit for radio airplay and therefore were suitable only for the dancehall. And the controversy didn’t stop there. Dancehall reggae established itself through characters like Yellowman and General Echo and a penchant for slackness (as bawdy lyrics were known). This deejay-led, largely computerised, upstart music seemed to epitomise the 1980s with dub poet Mutabaruka maintaining, "if 1970s reggae was red, green and gold, then in the next decade it was gold chains". So far removed was it from the gentle, almost hippification of roots and culture, that purists furiously debated as to whether it was genuinely reggae or not.
Reggae music in not Rap. Lately, Dancehall music, which is just one type of reggae music, has been included in rap categories at awards shows and on music charts. Although, I am glad for all the recognition reggae music has been getting, it is not the same as rap. They both have numerous similarities because rap sprang from Jamaican dub, but reggae music should be put in its own category because just like rap it is not a trend and it is here to stay.


Webster Dictionary defines reggae as "Jamaican rock music with pulsating blues style, often with a political or religious message derived from Rastafarian beliefs".

Ras Tafari was a black, back-to Africa movement in Jamaica organized by Marcus Garvey. It made Ethiopia's Emperor ,Haile Selassie ( his original name was Ras Tafari , the object of a cult and compares the "heaven" of Ethiopia with the "hell" of Jamaica

Rastafarian is an adherent of the Ras Tafari movement

Rastafarian is Jamaican-based sect devoted to Haile Selassie (former Emperor of Ethiopia) espousing love, peace, ganja; noted for reggae music and for members' hair worn in deadlocks, ropelike boyo strands


Reggae music sets a lot of trends. One of the trends it sets is in dance. Dancing is a big part of Jamaican culture. Every year there are several new dances that come out of the dancehall. R& B singer Usher has everyone doing the "Rocaway" in his new video "Yeah". Dancehall Reggae artist Sean Paul, has also inspired dancers to try the some of the latest dance moves originating form the Jamican discos like, "Signal di Plane" and "Row di Boat".


Reggae music is really big in mainstream music right now. Everywhere I turn I hear Sean Paul or Elephant Man on the radio and people are rocking Bob Marley tees. I guess that's the trend right now. Finally, Reggae music is getting the attention it deserves. My favorite types of Reggae music are Roots and Rock Steady. Reggaetrain.com is a site I usually go to to see what's new regarding these genres. Here you can get info on artist such as Bob Marley, Luciano and Alton Ellis.
Sean Paul Henriques, a.k.a. Sean Paul, first made his mark on the dancehall scene with the release his debut single “Baby Girl” in 1996. He credits reggae artists like Shabba Ranks, Lt. Stitchie and Papa San as his biggest musical influences. Sean Paul has enjoyed underground success for many years recording hit songs for various producers like "Nah get no Bly (One More Try)" for producer Donavon Germain, as well as "Deport Them" and "Excite Me" for producer Tony Kelly.
Reggae Artists such as Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Beenie Man, and of course the Marley family have all had hit tunes globally. Recently Sean Paul is the latest of these artists to achieve this success with his album www.vprecords.com>
Reggae music (Jamican music) has various categories; they include Rock Steady, Lover's Rock, DanceHall, Ragga and Pop Reggae.
Roots reggae placed reggae music on a world stage. Most Roots musicians were Rastafarians or poor youths protesting government decisions and "Babylon."


In a section dedicated to REGGAE music, the BBC network looks at reggae music through its evolution and history. This is a very useful site for all reggae fans.www.bbc.co.uk/music/features/reggae/musicmap197080.shtml>
Reggae is an inspiration that helps me get through difficult and trying times. The positive message and the heavy basslines transcend racial and ethnic lines. All over the world reggae music is embraced by people seeking a "breath of fresh air."
Countries such as Japan - http://jah.cup.com/index-e.html - embrace reggae and its cultural experiences.
I (Lis) was introduced to Bob Marley's melodies when I attended Fordham University. My friends were listening to "Jamming". Ever since that day, I have been listening to all of his sounds and learning who the man behind the music is.
What is Reggae to you? Like many people, I can't define it. A lot of people associate it with Bob Marley. www.bobmarley.com