You may not know the name Sugar Minott, but you've felt his influence. In addition to playing formative rolls in the development of three distinct reggae subgenres — roots reggae, dancehall and ragga — the Kingston-born singer and producer was instrumental in bringing reggae to the masses (he discovered Musical Youth, fer chrissakes). You could also argue that he created some of the first mash-ups when he stepped onstage in Kingston and started rhyming his verses over instrumental tracks of other producers' hits. The practice thrived as dancehall rose in popularity; entire LPs were issued of, say, different toasters riffing on the “Punaany” riddim. Without Minott brashly co-opting tracks and making them his own through sheer force of his presence, the art of the remix and the rise of sample culture might look completely different. (Creative Commons owes Minott a round of applause.) The legend appears tonight at the Echoplex as part of the weekly Dub Club party.
Sugar Minott at Reggae Sunsplash, 1983.