Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion

Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion

Few artists have had an impact on Jamaica’s dancehall scene as Sugar Minott. His releases provided the blueprints for the rise of the contemporary dancehall style, he was also equally influential as a producer, and his extraordinarily popular sound system helped launch numerous new DJs into the limelight. At a young age, he started his own sound by the name of Black Roots which then led to the creation of Youth Promotion. Working with Coxsone Dodd, he was responsible for reviving Studio One with a slew of impressive releases. For his Black Roots label he recorded up and coming youths from the ghetto like Triston Palma, Yami Bolo, Blacka T, and Tenor Saw. He gave guidance and support to the youths in the ghetto. Sugar died on 10 July 2010 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica.

Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion

Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion

Few artists have had an impact on Jamaica’s dancehall scene as Sugar Minott. His releases provided the blueprints for the rise of the contemporary dancehall style, he was also equally influential as a producer, and his extraordinarily popular sound system helped launch numerous new DJs into the limelight. At a young age, he started his own sound by the name of Black Roots which then led to the creation of Youth Promotion. Working with Coxsone Dodd, he was responsible for reviving Studio One with a slew of impressive releases. For his Black Roots label he recorded up and coming youths from the ghetto like Triston Palma, Yami Bolo, Blacka T, and Tenor Saw. He gave guidance and support to the youths in the ghetto. Sugar died on 10 July 2010 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica.

Beth Lesser

During the 1980s, my husband and I traveled frequently to Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, NY from our home in Toronto, Canada to follow the changing reggae scene. In that period reggae was changing fast, moving from the heavy roots sound of suffering and redemption to the lighter, faster, digitized sound of modern dancehall.

My husband and I saw it happen. We saw Junjo’s Volcano empire rise meteorically and them crash as his young artists emigrated or met untimely deaths. We witnessed Jah Love’s Brigadier Jerry take over the dancehall scene without ever having recorded a 45 – powered by the new popularity of dance hall cassettes.

We were in Waterhouse when King Jammy unleashed his Sleng Teng rhythm to an analog world and, one by one, producers dropped their previously recorded rhythms and started building again from scratch using programmable keyboards and drum machines. We were in Jammy’s yard while he cut the dubplates for the Clash of the Century, the event that brought dancehall culture to the larger Jamaican audience.

Over those years, I collected an archive of material that I would like to make available to the public – to present and future reggae scholars and fans.

All images © 1982-1988 Beth Lesser

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