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U ROY


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Also known as ‘The Originator’, ‘The Teacher’ and ‘The Deejay Godfather’, U Roy is a certified living legend. Born Ewart Beckford in Jamaica in 1942 it was he who paved the way for the generations of microphone chanters like Yellowman, Shabba Ranks and Beenie Man to pursue a career perfecting the art.

He was not the first to hold a microphone in a dancehall and rhyme. He was not even the first to put said rhymes on a recording. He was however, the earliest success story.

Legend has it that after a few attempts in the studio, the resident mic man on King Tubby’s famed sound sysem came to the attention of one John Holt. Holt was at the time working with Duke Reid. Duly impressed with what U Roy was doing on the Tubby’s he introduced him to Mr Reid.

Legend has it that after a few attempts in the studio, the resident mic man on King Tubby’s famed sound sysem came to the attention of one John Holt. Holt was at the time working with Duke Reid. Duly impressed with what U Roy was doing on the Tubby’s he introduced him to Mr Reid.

The result was three singles, Wake The Town, Wear You To The Ball and ‘Rule The Nation’. All three shot straight to the top of the Jamaican charts in 1970 lined up one after the other like the proverbial bus.

Thus began a legacy that would birth the DJ boom and rap music when his music crossed the Atlantic where rap nee hip hop was also birthed.

U Roy would later set up his own sound system Stur Gav which featured the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Josey Wales, and Brigadier Jerry.

Fast forward to the 90’s and U Roy’s legendary status would now be confirmed as he would be name-checked by almost every emergent star as an influence. Come 1993 and Steely & Clevie sample one of his earlier hits, ‘Wake The Town’, for the introduction to Dawn Penn’s worldwide smash, ‘No, No’ No’.

Daddy Roy as he’s affectionately known, is still active recently releasing a ‘With Friends’ compilation in France.

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Victor Davies by Westbury Music