Our newest mix, August Aux :: 048 features a curated list of Dancehall essentials from the heart of Jamaica. A form of Jamaican popular music that emerged from that country’s diverse music industry in the late 1970s, Dancehall has a complicated history that displays the varied cultural and socio-economic backgrounds of the island. Today, Dancehall stands as one of the most influential and far-reaching styles, to this day influening the sounds of modern pop and dance music.
Dancehall music takes its name from the dance halls that held celebrations in the inner-cities of metropolitan areas like Kingston during the 1950s and 1960s. The music borrowed the sinuous rhythms of reggae but replaced its spirited live musicians with prerecorded or digitally composed tracks built on pure, driving grooves; making use of local sound systems, which consisted of a generator, a turntable, and large, portable speakers overseen by a selector. The selector’s role in the system was to create new lyrics for instrumental songs, or riddims—Jamaican patois for “rhythms”—embracing lyrical content that celebrated earthly pleasures over the spiritual and mystical language of traditional roots reggae. The practice, known as toasting, made stars of DJs, such as Count Machuki, Sugar Minott, and U-Roy.
Soon, the genre’s popularity grew beyond the borders of Jamaica, bringing worldwide attention via artists like Sean Paul, Beenie Man, and Lady Saw. More recently, modern pop stars such as Drake and Rihanna have charted their own hits utilizing the distinctive sound.
Listen to the seamless mix put together by our resident DJ, Sam Wallner, on SoundCloud below, or a track by track breakdown selected by Prince Crucial on Spotify above.