a well known fact, that Sly Dunbar and
Robbie Shakespeare have done a lot for
Not only do they
play the drum and bass on numerous Reggae
albums with such a skill that everyone now
knows them as the Rhythm Twins, they are
equally responsible for producing some of
the most progressive and innovative Reggae
Let's go back in
time, to the early 1980's.
On their Taxi
Label, Sly and Robbie found themselves in a
position where they were able to combine all
their talents. Playing the foundation, and
producing the music too. The timeless
self-titled mini LP by InI Kamoze, for
example, remains to be one of the all time
favorites of the webmaster of this website.
Another one on that
list is The Dub Factor, mixed by Paul
Groucho Smykle and credited to Black Uhuru.
The album contained DUB mixes from -among
others- Black Uhuru's earlier release
Black Uhuru is the
name of a vocal trio. The group had
different members during the decades of it's
existence, but the period with Mykal Rose,
Puma Jones and Duckie Simpson is widely
considered to be the most fruitful. Thanks
to the essential importance of the Rhythm
Twins' productional and musical influence,
that is. Sly and Robbie were of
essential importance for Black Uhuru's world
wide success in that time.
In an interview
with Carter Van Pelt, Sly Dunbar talks about
"If you listen to the drumming in
Black Uhuru, and if you go back and listen
to some of the reggae [of the period],
it's not the same thing -- it's
different," says Dunbar. "I'm
playing R&B or a heavy metal pattern
kind of drumming. I wasn't playing the one
drop. So what I did to the drum was give
it more power . . . really open the snare
and really bang on it, so this is where
the whole 'cutting edge' come from . . .
That's what helped it to break
[internationally] faster, cause people
could really relate to the beat when they
heard it." (SOURCE)
comes from this period. And just like Sly
Dunbar says, it's truly different then most
Reggae music from that time.
The music is sharp
like a razor. The drumming is hard, the bass
is solid. Guitar licks and complex
rhythmical structures create a vibe of a
You hear it in the
music, and you hear it in the lyrics too.
Mykal Rose, Puma
Jones and Duckie Simpson sing -mostly-
conscious lyrics straight from the heart.
This sound blends together with the music,
and creates an atmosphere which appeals to
several generations in a row.