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The 10 Greatest Reggae Artist of All Times

While many may not agree with my selection, these reggae artists have certainly contributed to
the reggae fraternity in a major way and should get the respect they deserve. The music that
these artists produced will never die, as the impact made are so great that we are still touched by
their lyrics and sounds.


Bob Marley was born Robert Nesta Marley on Feb. 6,

1945 in Saint Ann, Jamaica. His father, Norval Sinclair
Marley, was a white Englishman and his mother, Cedelia
Booker, was a black Jamaican. Bob Marley died of
cancer in Miami, FL on May 11, 1981. Marley had 12
children, four by his wife Rita, and was a devout
Bob Marley's father died when he was 10 years old, and
his mother moved with him to Kingston's Trenchtown
neighborhood after his death. As a young teen, he
befriended Bunny Wailer, and they learned to play music
together. At 14, Marley dropped out of school to learn the welding trade, and spent his spare
time jamming with Bunny Wailer and ska musician Joe Higgs.


Peter Tosh, born Winston Hubert McIntosh (October 9,

1944 – September 11, 1987) was the guitarist in the
original Wailing Wailers, a reggae musician, and a
trailblazer for the Rastafari movement.

Tosh grew up in the Kingston, Jamaica slum of Trench

town. He stood out because of his height at 6 feet, 4
inches. His short-fuse temper and unveiled sarcasm
usually kept him in trouble, earning him the nickname
Stepping Razor after a song written by Joe Higgs, an
early mentor. He began to sing and learn guitar at a young
age, inspired by the American stations he could pick up on
his radio. After an illustrious career with the Wailers and as
a solo musician, he was murdered at his home. Though
robbery was officially said to be the motivation behind
Tosh's death, many believe that there were ulterior motives to the killing, citing that nothing was
taken from the house.


Dennis Brown was born Feb 01, 1957 in Kingston,

Jamaica. One of Jamaica's most beloved and prolific
artists, the late Dennis Brown has left behind a slew of
classic songs and myriad hits, a rich musical legacy
born of a career that spanned over 30 years. Born
Dennis Emmanuel Brown in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1957, his childhood home virtually
destined him to a future in the music industry. He grew up on Orange Street, the heart of the
island's music scene, with most of the major recording studios a mere stone's throw away. As
the stars and future hitmakers paraded by day and music pumped out of the studios, the child
could not help but be entranced.


Jimmy Cliff OM (born James Chambers, 1 April 1948,

Somerton District in St. James, Jamaica) is a Jamaican SKA
and reggae musician, best known among mainstream
audiences for songs like "Sittin' in Limbo", "You Can Get It If
You Really Want It", "Many Rivers to Cross" from The
Harder They Come, a film soundtrack which helped
popularise reggae across the world, and for a cover of "I
Can See Clearly Now" from the film "Cool Runnings."

5. Sizzla

Sizzla was born Miguel Collins on April 17, 1976, and

was raised in the August Town area of Kingston by
devout Rastafarian parents. After honing his vocal skills,
he landed a gig with the Caveman Hi-Fi sound system,
where he first made a name for himself as a performer.
He cut his first single for the small Zagalou label in 1995,
and soon moved on to Bobby "Digital" Dixon's Digital B
imprint. However, he didn't manage a breakout success
until saxophonist Dean Fraser recommended him to
producer Philip "Fatis" Burrell. Sizzla released a series
of singles on Burrell's Xterminator label, including
"Judgement Morning," "Life's Road," "Blaspheme," "We
Uh Fear," "I'm Not Sure," and the Shadowman duet "The Gun." His first LP, Burning Up,
appeared on Xterminator later in 1995, and he toured extensively alongside Luciano and
Mikey General. Unlike kindred spirits Capleton and Buju Banton, Sizzla's early material was
culturally oriented right from the start; he was able to build an audience without any of the
lyrical slackness that helped establish the other two.


Jamaica's longest-running and perhaps biggest female

vocalist ever. Griffiths began as a teenager in Coxsone's
Studio One, racking up hit after hit, then joined with
paramour Bob Andy as Bob & Marcia for the Top Five
U.K. pop hit "Young, Gifted and Black." She formed The
I Threes to back Bob Marley's international tours and
recordings from 1974-1980 and scored a massive
international hit with "Electric Boogie" in the '80s.
Despite a few '70s Rasta tunes like "Stepping out of
Babylon," she is known primarily for her strong, smooth-as-mousse love songs and
captivating live performances.


Yellowman is the stage name of Winston Foster, one of

the biggest Jamaican reggae stars of the 1980s. Foster,
an albino, grew up in Kingston institutions and overcame
a rough childhood to become a swaggering DJ with a
penchant for witty and sexually explicit lyrics and a stage
show that made him a local star. He began recording in
the early '80s and for the next several years released
records at a furious pace, outselling every other reggae
star except Bob Marley. In 1986 Yellowman was
diagnosed with throat cancer and given a dire prognosis,
but he bounced back and resumed his career in the
'90s. His songs include "Mad Over Me," "Mister Chin"
and "Blueberry Hill."

8. U-ROY

Known as the Originator, U-Roy wasn't the first DJ, nor

even the first to cut a record, but he was the first to
shake the nation and he originated a style so distinctly
unique that he single-handedly changed his homeland's
music scene forever. Born Ewart Beckford in Jones
Town, Jamaica, in 1942, he received his famous
moniker from a young family member unable to correctly
pronounce Ewart and the nickname stuck.


His poems have given voice to a nation and helped forge

an entirely new genre of music, dub/rhythm poetry.
Revolutionary, fiery, scathing, and stinging, Mutabaruka's
words are as potent on paper as on CD, and so the literary
community needed to create a new term just for his works
-- meta-dub. Born in Rae Town, Jamaica, on December
12, 1952, Allan Hope first realized the power of the word
when he was in his teens. It was the '60s; the Black Power
movement was at its height, and numerous radical leaders
were putting their thoughts and histories in print.


Born Garnet Damion Smith in Greenvale, Hatfield in the
parish of Manchester, Jamaica, he was known for his
emotive, powerful and silky voice. During the 1980s he
was widely hailed as a rising talent, but his career was
ended by his early death in 1994 while attempting to save
his mother while his house was on fire, while others
suspect that it was a conspiracy which involved his two
younger brothers, Lij Amlak(Paul Cassanova) & Omar
Silk(Omar Scott) which were upcoming artists at the time.
He and his mother were found in each other's arms when
their bodies were discovered. His debut album was "It's
Growing" and his first major hit was "Hello Africa".

Michael Reid