King Jammy

Another of reggae’s royalty, King Jammy outside his studio in Waterhouse, most likely taken in 1992.

Jammy started out repairing sound equipment and later he got his big break working for another legendary producer, and King, King Tubby where he learned his mixing techniques. In the late 1970’s he began to produce on his own, he also produced Black Uhuru’s out-standing first LP, Love Crisis. By the 1980’s he was one of the Dancehall’s biggest producers in with his hits dominating the reggae charts. He is the one responsible for Wayne Smith’s Sleng Teng, which would change the sound of reggae forever. The story behind that the riddim is that it was built using a Casio keyboard and by playing around with the preprogrammed rhythms, slowing down the “rock” beat,  giving birth to the first digital & now classic Sleng Teng riddim. Today there are literally hundreds of songs on the Sleng Teng riddim by artist like Sugar Minott, Johnny Osbourne, Shelly Thunder, Super Cat, Shinehead, Coco Tea, John Wayne and many, many more, and they continue to be made. Not only did Jammy’s new riddim change the sound of reggae it also changed the way reggae music was made.

No longer did you need a studio full of musicians , you just needed a drum machine. Some thought this would be the death of the drummer, and true some did get less work, but as time would tell there was no sound like a real drummer, the drum machine had no soul. The drum machine is still a studio staple, but more and more recordings are using live drums.

Not just a Dancehall producer Jammy has worked with all kinds of artists in the industry producing everything from roots reggae, dub, lovers rock to hard-core deejay music. At 63 Jammy is still runs his sound system competing in sound clashes worldwide and he is still very busy behind the controls today, producing some of Jamaica’s biggest  artists.

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One comment on “King Jammy”

  1. Solid pic. Please note that Jammy didn’t build Sleng Teng, Noel Davey and Wayne Smith found the riddim on a Casio MT40 and then took it to Jammys where it was overdubbed, voiced and released.


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