Reggae Riddims – The Basis of Reggae Music

Reggae Riddims – The Basis of Reggae Music

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What’s a reggae “riddim?”

“Riddim” is the Jamaican Patois time period for the instrumental “rhythm” monitor of a music, also called the “groove” or the “beat”. Jamaican widespread songs, and plenty of different forms of Caribbean music, are constructed on riddims.

Riddims often encompass a outstanding bass line and a specific distinctive drum sample and are really the spine of dub, reggae, lovers’ rock, ragga, roots, dancehall, and so forth. Many riddims originate from a success music and the riddim carries the title of the music, for instance I-Wayne’s 2004 hit “Lava Floor” on the Lava Floor Riddim. Or, in some circumstances, the riddim takes the title of the most well-liked music recorded on it. For instance, the Satta Massagana Riddim is known as after The Abyssinians’ unique music “Satta Massagana”.

Often, an artiste will voice two fully totally different songs on the similar riddim. And it is quite common for various artistes to voice over the identical riddims with totally different lyrics and totally different vocal types, starting from singing to toasting. For instance, Jah Remedy’s “Name On Me”, Gyptian’s “Butterfly”, and Tanya Stephens’ “Reminiscing” are all on 2009’s great Good Love Riddim. The success of a riddim is judged by what number of artistes “juggle” it, or make their very own vocal interpretations of it. Jamaican audiences will decide whether or not or not the tune is massive and, if that’s the case, different artistes will write new lyrics to “trip the riddim”.

There could be greater than a dozen widespread present riddims, however there are often just a few “sizzling” riddims at any given time. Artistes should document over these sizzling riddims if they need a greater shot at getting their songs performed within the dancehalls or on the radio. Many instances a dance is even created in honor of the riddim, like Pepperseed, or Gully Creeper, or who can overlook the world’s quickest man Usain Bolt’s victory dance, “Nah Linga”?!!

The riddims do not at all times originate from reggae; some city modern songs might change into riddims as properly. The instrumental of Ne-Yo’s “Miss Unbiased” has change into a preferred riddim; many dancehall artists have recorded songs utilizing the monitor. Different songs have impressed riddims too, equivalent to George Michael’s music “Religion,” which grew to become a riddim of the identical title, and R. Kelly’s “Snake,” which grew to become the Baghdad Riddim.

Forms of riddims

Riddims are African in origin and are usually certainly one of three sorts. The oldest, the “classical” riddim, supplies the instrumentals for dub, roots reggae and lovers’ rock (well-known producers embrace Sly & Robbie). The “ragga” riddim backs (or used to again) raggamuffin and dancehall songs. And “digital” riddims (e.g., King Jammy’s Sleng Teng Riddim) are created with computer systems, synthesizers and drum machines; in different phrases, they’re actually digital riddims.

The appearance of expertise modified all the enterprise. Now not do you should pay for studio time and rent musicians! This opened up the enterprise to a complete new era of producers, musicians and performers. As we speak, most riddims backing dancehall and Soca are digital. Digital riddims, together with the worldwide attain and recognition of dancehall, have additionally spawned the creation of an increasing number of widespread riddims exterior Jamaica.


“Versioning” is the time period for recycling or rejuvenating previous riddims utilizing computer systems and samplers, and voicing over them with new artistes. Jamaica has been versioning because the Nineteen Sixties. A few of these riddims are a long time previous, a lot of them popping out of Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s famend Kingston studio, Studio One. Some nice riddims got here out of Studio One within the ’60s and ’70s, and you’ll nonetheless hear them versioned in fixed rotation by sound techniques at present.

Versioning could be controversial, nevertheless, as a result of a lot of those that produced the unique traditional riddims by no means obtained paid for the riddims themselves. It might be good to get some “royalties”!! However at present’s artists argue that they are impressed by these classics and paying respect by versioning and re-popularizing them. Many Jamaican producers rely closely on variations though, up to now decade, we noticed much less of this follow with a whole bunch of inventive new riddims being launched.

The explosion of dancehall in recent times generated many nice new riddims. However some are already being versioned as properly. The Unfinished Enterprise Riddim, widespread in 2008, was a model of 1998’s hit Showtime Riddim. So it appears previous riddims by no means die!


After all, creating a brand new and unique riddim is way tougher than versioning an previous one! Listed below are a few of the finest unique riddim producers from the previous & current: Black Chiney (sound system, DJ, producer), Bobby “Digital B” Dixon (producer), Clement “Coxsone” Dodd (producer, Studio One information), Donovan Germain (producer, Penthouse Studio), Joe Gibbs (producer), King Jammy (dub mixer, producer), King Tubby (dub mixer, producer Nineteen Sixties-Eighties), Duke Reid (producer, Treasure Isle information, dominated the Nineteen Sixties), Sly and Robbie (producers, Taxi Data), Steely & Clevie (producers).

Two of the most well liked younger producers of the brand new millennium share a surname however will not be associated. Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, son of veteran singer Freddie McGregor, can boast of certainly one of my favourite dancehall riddims of latest years, the Tremor Riddim (2007), voiced by Mavado (“Wonderful Grace”), Sean Paul (“Watch Them Roll”), and others. This proficient musician’s riddims are so widespread that greater than a dozen individuals may voice over every of them.

The opposite younger star producer is Kemar “Flava” McGregor, who’s liable for a few of the hottest hits in recent times and, in my view, the easiest roots reggae riddims to come back out of Jamaica (or the world, for that matter) in years, for instance: 2005’s Triumphant Riddim (Gyptian’s “Mama Do not Cry”), 2007’s 83 Riddim (Richie Spice’s “Ah No Me Dat” & Queen Ifrica’s “Daddy”), and 2010’s Basic Riddim (Stress’s “Considering About You”, Duane Stephenson & Ras Shiloh’s “Quickly As We Rise”), and Candy Riddim (Etana’s “Blissful Coronary heart”, Beres Hammond’s “See You Once more”, Ginjah’s “Prayer”). I like the vast mixture of artistes voicing his riddims – veterans and novices alike – positively one thing to enchantment to everybody. These two producers are out in entrance of Jamaica’s present hitmakers!

For me, it is the sleek reggae beats that get me grooving and swaying; for others it is the arduous bass traces they get pleasure from on the dancehall ground. Regardless of your desire, riddims are reggae music’s basis! Get pleasure from!

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Reggae Riddims – The Basis of Reggae Music


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