Dancehall Music

7 Things You May Not Know About Dancehall Music


1. Dancehall Music was Caribbean’s Jam in the 80’s

I’m sorry Michael Jackson and Madonna fans, but Dancehall ruled the Caribbean in the 80’s.

Dancehall began in the late 1970’s. It was when musicians had more time to think of alternative ways to express themselves. Combined with Jamaica’s political and economic turbulences, artists started an intangible revolution—the birth of Dancehall Music.

When the 80’s came, it became everyone’s jam. People were attracted to how artists expressed themselves and their outlook to society through seductive chants of part talking and part singing.

One reason for its popularization might be that Dancehall Music’s core elements are derivatives of West African Music, their music. Imagine listening to a song for the first time and feeling like you’ve heard it before.

Popular artists such as Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse did not only dominated the Caribbean music scene but they also set a stage for the whole world to see.

Dancehall Music Deejay

2. Dancehall Music requires a Deejay

Dancehall is not your typical music genre. It requires at least one deejay and a riddim to be genuinely called Dancehall Music.

Modern Dancehall Music has given artists newer choices of instruments to create tunes, but the requirement remains traditional. To create genuine Dancehall Music you will need strong drums and bass lines, guitars, and sometimes an organ. Newer Dancehall Music uses electronic instruments, synthesizer, samplers, and drum machines.

Dancehall in the 80's

3. Economic and Political Turbulence birthed Dancehall Music

When Jamaicans chose to get rid of their socialist affinity in the 1970’s, local musicians began to make their own music for their own people.

Common themes of these songs include social injustice of the current society. Repatriation was also a popular theme as people gained more and more liberty in terms of self-expression.

It was also during this time when the Rastafari movement themes were replaced by lyrics about dancing, violence, and sexuality.

80s Dancehall Music

4. Dancehall Music is used for Worship

Dancehall is also a popular genre among religious denominations to aid them with their worship. Believe it or not, but there have been studies conducted about the integration of Dancehall to Christian faith.

Religious figures in the Caribbean believe that there are more ways to express their beliefs. Using Dancehall Music is just one of them.

Just when you thought Caribbean couldn’t get any cooler, you found out that their churches encourage worshipping to the beat of multi-layered and multi-spatial grooves of Dancehall Music.


5. Rihanna, Elephant Man, and Sean Paul started with Dancehall Music

You might say that Dancehall Music artists are hard to come by; Not true. There are tons of popular artists out there who started their career with the Caribbean genre, specifically with Dancehall Music.

Rihanna was marketed as a Caribbean artists at the start of her career. She recorded several Caribbean music genres like soca, reggae, and of course Dancehall Music.

Same can be said to Jamaican artists Elephant Man who popularized several Dancehall Music tunes and Sean Paul who has won several prestigious international music awards.


6. The first Caribbean Musician to be signed and recognized internationally is a Dancehall Music Artist

If you’re thinking Bob Marley then you better think twice. Yellowman is the man.

Instead of using violence, he used humor as a prominent theme to his music. He gained so much popularity that it made him rise to fame not only in the Caribbean but also internationally. He started rolling the ball for Caribbean artists when he was signed to a major American record label.

Dancehall Music Grime Hip hop Reggaeton

7. Hip hop, grime, and reggaeton originated from Dancehall

Hip hop, not only as a music genre but as a culture, was derived from Dancehall Music. You might recognize hip hop as a style of music with a lot of rapping, rhythmic and rhyming speech, beatboxing, and sampling.

Hip hop has evolving so much that for the past decades, it has birthed 20 subgenres and countless fusion genres and Dancehall Music influences all of these genres. There are so many artists doing hip hop musical that mention just a few of them will underrepresent many genres.

Reggaeton might be one of the most popular genre in Latin Americas. It can be characterized as having a strong latin rhythmic beat accompanied by rhyming vocals.

Reggaeton songs include “Oye Mi Canto” and “Gasolina”, two of the most popular songs required at any beach-themed parties. Known artists include Ivy Queen, Hector and Tito, and Daddy Yankee.

While hip hop developed in North America and Reggaeton in Latin America, Grime is a derivative of Dancehall Music that developed on the other side of the pond. It can be identified as a fierce kind of music in minimalistic style with a choppy and off-center sound. It started during the 2000s in the United Kingdom with popular grime artists Newham Generals, Boy Better Know, and Roll Deep.