R.I.P. Sugar Minott, Dancehall/Reggae Godfather

Categories: R.I.P.

Sugar Minott, a godfather of Jamaica's Dancehall/Reggae sounds and a soulful singer, died Saturday evening at the age of 54.

Born Lincoln Barrington Minott in Kingston on May 25 1956, Minott basically founded the dancehall style of reggae in the '70s. With his keen sense of rhythm and smooth voice, Minott was a natural to add singing to the reggae DJ's skills. Dancehall went on to become popular around the world, but especially the U.S. and England, where it influenced ska groups like the Specials and even gangsta rap. (You can actually hear the same horn riff in Minott's "Hang on Natty" and the Specials' "Nite Klub," a classic from their 1980 self-titled debut album.)

In addition to being a musical innovator -- and a great performer -- Minott also gave back to talented kids who, like him, came from the ghetto. The Black Roots label, which he founded in 1980, made a point of promoting and recording up-and-coming singers.

Minott repotedly had been diagnosed with a severe heart condition (Angina Pectoris) earlier this yea. He continued to work in music right up until his death, although he had to cancel performances earlier this year.

You will be missed, Sugar. Hear more of his music after the jump.

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