EDM Music was Created in Jamaica

Many Jamaicans regard EDM as a foreign genre, which is gradually infiltrating the Jamaican culture. However, what such Jamaicans are unaware of, is that EDM was actually born in Jamaica.


According Billboard.com which recently published an article on the origins of the EDM genre, the first EDM sounds can be traced by to the work of the late super producer/selector King Tubby.

EDM parties have become quite popular in Jamaican culture in recent times through events like Colour Fest, Electric Butterfly Music Festival, Paradise Lost Festival among others. These events usually attract working class Jamaicans, causing the regular Jamaican to think that the genre is better understood by a specific class of people . However, Billboard.com tells a different story. One which suggests that EDM DJs are actually the offspring of King Tubby.

"EDM DJs who dissect and otherwise manipulate their tracks while playing live are following an innovation established by the brilliant Jamaican engineer, sound system owner/selector, the late King Tubby (born Osbourne Ruddock). While working as a disc cutter for Duke Reid and using a two-track recording console, Tubby eliminated vocal and instrumental segments, sometimes stripping a song down to a single, thunderous bass line, which he embellished with echo and reverb effects, in a process called dub. Because of his expertise with electronics, Tubby was able to recreate the dub effects live on his sound system, something no one had ever heard, making his set the most popular of the early '70s," Billboard.com noted in its article.

As for the concept of remixing songs, Billboard also traced that practice to King Tubby lauding the legend as the creator of the prototype.

Formative years

"King Tubby's creation of dub transformed the landscape of popular music, establishing the prototype for song remixing. The instrumental spaces built into Tubby's dubs provided deejays an opportunity to develop toasting beyond just providing contrast to a singer's vocals; Tubby's dubs were also the precursor to hip-hop's break beats," Billboard.com posted.

EDM music is currently estimated as being worth billions. However, there are no notable Jamaican artistes who practise the genre aside from collaborations with Major Lazer. Now that light has been shed on the roots of EDM by Billboard.com, King Jammys who was influenced by King Tubby during his formative years, says Jamaican artistes should capitalise on the EDM genre.

He also blames historians for not properly documenting the history of Jamaican music.

"I don't just go out and play, people have to book me and every year I go out and play this genre. Jamaicans don't cherish the history of the music and what we did and the historians only cherish politicians and not that hard work we put in so the people don't know. I would encourage all youth to spread your wings and experiment. Is experiment I experiment with the Sleng Teng and it ended up becoming a special thing in the world. EDM is ours so experiment man," he said.

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