How Reggae Music Has Influenced Music Styles Around the World

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Reggae music has had a global influence. Reggae became more mainstream with Three Dog Night’s 1972 hit and later with Bob Marley’s Rastafari movement.

Reggae music became influential among New York MCs such as Kool Herc and Coke La Rock who used its toasting style for their performances, ultimately evolving into rapping.


Dub is a musical genre characterized by disjointing interlocking parts from an arrangement and reconstituting them in unexpected arrangements, using reverb and echo effects for an almost psychedelic sound and with strong rhythm that makes dancing easy. Many modern reggae bands use dub as the foundation of their compositions; Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid in particular have built strong followings within America for this genre; other American reggae groups, like Mars Volta or Roots of Strength have also used dub as part of their compositions.

Dub, which originates in Jamaican culture and means “duplicate,” was popularized by King Tubby (born Osborne Ruddick), an extraordinary electronics technician and sound engineer known for elevating dubbing to an art form. Tubby used tape machines, mixers and effects, never afraid to open his equipment up with a screwdriver to explore its potential sound possibilities and his influence is often seen today in dancehall, dubstep and hip hop production.

At the height of Jamaican sound systems’ glory days, producers would create dubbed-out versions of their recordings by duplicating them on separate tape and then adding effects to enhance its sonic palette. Once completed, these dubbed versions would then be played back through sound systems allowing deejays more vocal improvisation and expression over instrumental breaks of rhythms; such dubbed versions became known as versions or remixes and were essential components of reggae’s development.

Today, dub is an integral component of reggae music and has had an enormous influence on other contemporary styles of music. Dub music has amassed a strong following across California and Hawaii and has inspired other genres like rock, punk and metal music – leading Matisyahu to achieve international renown for blending Jewish themes with reggae music.


Rocksteady first emerged in Jamaica during the mid-1960s, marking a distinct shift in musical styles. Based on ska, rocksteady emphasizes bass lines while maintaining more structured rhythms that favor vocal harmony groups and address social issues such as the violence plaguing Jamaica at that time. Rocksteady’s slower pace allowed Jamaican musicians to better integrate lyrics into its compositions.

Dub music emerged alongside rock steady’s evolution, using prerecorded songs that had been remixed to emphasize bass frequencies. Pioneered by producers such as Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby, it quickly became a popular style of reggae music in the 1970s, while also serving as an important influencer on British punk and new wave bands such as The Clash and Madness.

Rocksteady may have had only a brief peak, yet its impactful rhythm tracks remain among Jamaica’s most beloved music. Serving as a bridge between ska and reggae music genres, its rhythms were immortalized in songs by artists such as Sugar Minott, Tenor Saw, Buju Banton and Sizzla; furthermore it served as an precursor to lovers rock, which focused on more ballad-oriented compositions.

Rocksteady became popular among Jamaica’s rough boys during its peak popularity period. The music also found success abroad, where its influence led to toasting practiced in New York City as well as the rise of rapping; furthermore, Lovers Rock and Jungle music found inspiration within this genre from Britain. Rocksteady featured slower tempo than that of ska and featured an emphasis on rhythm guitar with more structured rhythm patterns; in comparison with its sister genres.

Reggae en Espaol

Reggaeton, or reggae for short, originated in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama and the Dominican Republic and is widely considered one of the primary modern genres within Spanish-language Caribbean music industry. Combining elements of dancehall, Latin American and hip hop along with toasting and singing it has gained great popularity throughout Spain due to large immigration flows during 2000s; many artists use sexual innuendoes in order to circumvent censorship by writing lyrics with double meanings.

Reggaeton differs from Hip Hop by adding an element of repetition, such as a hook that repeats throughout. Furthermore, reggaeton features dembow – a style of drumming with rapid syncopated beats – in its soundscape.

Many artists have achieved prominence within this genre, such as Daddy Yankee and Wisin & Yandel. Reggaeton has gained widespread acceptance within America; even Mountain Dew used it in their 2006 campaign featuring Daddy Yankee! Additionally, reggaeton forms part of Puerto Rican culture and has grown increasingly popular among Latino youth living here.

Reggae in the United Kingdom

As Britain moved away from its commonwealth roots, emigrants from Jamaica and other Caribbean nations settled in London, Birmingham and other urban areas, bringing with them music and culture from Jamaica, namely reggae. Reggae soon made its mark here as bands like Aswad, Steel Pulse, Matumbi and Misty in Roots emerged; their songs included themes of repatriation, culture and overthrowing injustice – these bands formed soundsystems and produced records by Mad Professor and Dennis Bovell respectively.

As punk rock erupted in England a few years later, roots reggae found an unlikely audience: punks. Punks quickly adopted Rastafari’s message of social reform through its call for Born For A Purpose by Dr Alimantado as one of their favourite songs while The Clash also charted with their version of Junior Murvin’s Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin.

In the 1980s, female artists struggled to gain recognition in an industry dominated by male performers. One exception was an exceptional young MC named Ranking Ann who entered at an important moment for UK roots music. She went to Ariwa Studios with Mad Professor to develop a unique smooth lovers rock sound which became iconic across UK roots music.

Steel Pulse’s follow-up album to their previous year’s Handsworth Revolution marked their progression into a band with musical and songwriting virtuosity. Frontman David Hinds demonstrated this virtuosity on such sharp protest songs as “Ku Klux Klan” and the title track; additionally his melodious nature shines through on “Babylon Makes the Rules”, an irresistibly catchy sufferer’s anthem.

Reggae in Africa

Reggae music’s global rise can be traced to its combination of Jamaican rhythm with African musical styles. One defining characteristic is the call and response rhythm, which has its roots in Africa. This pattern requires one musician singing or playing a phrase before another responds with another one; furthermore, elements from ska, rocksteady and Nyahbinghi drumming traditions are all contained within it.

Reggae artists have long utilized music as an outlet to express social criticism; although many focus on lighter subjects like love and socializing. Their music often uses materialistic imagery to criticize materialism and support Rastafari movements; cannabis (also referred to as herb or ganja) use is considered sacred by Rastafaris religions.

Since 1968, reggae has evolved into various subgenres and inspired music from around the globe. Over time, its rhythmic structures and lyrics have evolved, while also taking on elements from other genres or being combined with them to form new sounds. Reggae’s popularity has even extended into parts of Europe such as Britain where its influences are blended with local styles to form its unique sound.

Many artists from the Caribbean and Africa have taken up reggae music, taking it back into their home countries where it has taken on its own identity. Many have even found fame on Billboard charts: Three Dog Night reached No.1 with their version of The Maytones’ Black and White and other artists like Bob Marley have become well known for their reggae tunes that form part of Afro-Caribbean culture and enjoy global popularity.