King Jammys The Cradle of digital dancehall and Reggae Music

by DRW

King Jammys

King Jammys

In 1985, Lloyd 'King Jammys' James' Waterhouse, St Andrew, studio became the physical birthplace of digital dancehall. While there has been debate about the creative input among Jammys, singer Wayne Smith, (famous for the song Under Me Sleng Teng) and keyboard player Noel Davy, there is no disputing where it was developed from: a pre-set beat on a Casio keyboard.

Among the many artistes King Jammys recorded on the original cut were Tenor Saw (Pumpkin Belly), John Wayne (Call the Police For Me), and, of course, the Wayne Smith title track. Bounty Killer (Lodge) would later be recorded on the Sleng Teng at Jammys in another round of the lasting rhythm.

The studio and his renowned King Jammys Superpower sound system hosted maybe the strongest dancehall crew ever assembled, with Shabba Ranks, Admiral Bailey, Major Worries, and Chakademus the leading lights. With a super-talented in-house production team that included Steely and Clevie, Mikey Bennett and Bobby Digital, the hits flowed, King Jammys spewing hits galore.

Not to be forgotten is another staple rhythm from the early days of digital dancehall: the 'Punaany', which featured Shabba Ranks (Needle Eye) and Admiral Bailey (Punaany and Healthy Body).

As important a moment in dancehall as the Sleng Teng rhythm is, to reduce King Jammys' career to that would be a grave injustice. Not after, as Prince Jammy, he produced Black Uhuru's debut album, Love Crisis, in 1977. Four years later, the album was re-released as Black Sounds of Freedom.

In the pre-Sleng Teng times especially, he was also heavily into dub, collaborating with Scientist and strong influence, King Tubby.

King Jammys' production legacy has extended to the second generation with his sons Jam One, John John, and Baby G.

He still leads his dub plate rich King Jammys Superpower, especially in clashes with old rival, Jack Scorpio.


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