Reggae Riddims – The Basis of Reggae Audio

What is a reggae “riddim?”

“Riddim” is the Jamaican Patois time period for the instrumental “rhythm” observe of a tune, also known as the “groove” or the “conquer”. Jamaican popular tunes, and numerous other types of Caribbean music, are developed on riddims.

Riddims typically consist of a prominent bass line and a particular unique drum sample and are actually the backbone of dub, reggae, lovers’ rock, ragga, roots, dancehall, and many others. Numerous riddims originate from a strike music and the riddim carries the identify of the music, for instance I-Wayne’s 2004 strike “Lava Floor” on the Lava Ground Riddim. Or, in some instances, the riddim requires the title of the most common tune recorded on it. For instance, the Satta Massagana Riddim is named following The Abyssinians’ authentic song “Satta Massagana”.

At times, an artiste will voice two completely different tunes on the identical riddim. And it’s very common for various artistes to voice in excess of the same riddims with distinct lyrics and distinct vocal types, ranging from singing to toasting. For instance, Jah Cure’s “Contact On Me”, Gyptian’s “Butterfly”, and Tanya Stephens’ “Reminiscing” are all on 2009’s wonderful Great Adore Riddim. The good results of a riddim is judged by how a lot of artistes “juggle” it, or make their personal vocal interpretations of it. Jamaican audiences will judge regardless of whether or not the tune is massive and, if so, other artistes will write new lyrics to “journey the riddim”.

There can be much more than a dozen well-liked existing riddims, but there are typically only a number of “hot” riddims at any provided time. Artistes have to record in excess of these hot riddims if they want a better shot at obtaining their tracks played in the dancehalls or on the radio. A lot of moments a dance is even designed in honor of the riddim, like Pepperseed, or Gully Creeper, or who can fail to remember the world’s quickest man Usain Bolt’s victory dance, “Nah Linga”?!!

The riddims will not constantly originate from reggae some city modern music may possibly turn out to be riddims as effectively. The instrumental of Ne-Yo’s “Overlook Unbiased” has turn into a popular riddim several dancehall artists have recorded tracks using the monitor. Other tracks have impressed riddims as well, this sort of as George Michael’s music “Faith,” which grew to become a riddim of the identical identify, and R. Kelly’s “Snake,” which turned the Baghdad Riddim.

Varieties of riddims

Riddims are African in origin and are generally 1 of three varieties. The oldest, the “classical” riddim, offers the instrumentals for dub, roots reggae and lovers’ rock (effectively recognized producers incorporate Sly & Robbie). The “ragga” riddim backs (or utilized to back again) raggamuffin and dancehall tunes. And “digital” riddims (e.g., King Jammy’s Sleng Teng Riddim) are created with personal computers, synthesizers and drum equipment in other terms, they are genuinely electronic riddims.

The introduction of technological innovation changed the total business. No lengthier do you require to pay out for studio time and employ the service of musicians! This opened up the enterprise to a complete new era of producers, musicians and performers. Right now, most riddims backing dancehall and Soca are electronic. Electronic riddims, together with the world-wide achieve and reputation of dancehall, have also spawned the development of a lot more and more common riddims exterior Jamaica.


“Versioning” is the time period for recycling or rejuvenating old riddims utilizing personal computers and samplers, and voicing in excess of them with new artistes. Jamaica has been versioning because the sixties. Some of these riddims are many years previous, numerous of them coming out of Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s renowned Kingston studio, Studio A single. Some excellent riddims came out of Studio 1 in the ’60s and ’70s, and you will even now listen to them versioned in continual rotation by audio programs today.

Versioning can be controversial, nevertheless, simply because a lot of of people who developed the unique classic riddims in no way got compensated for the riddims on their own. It would be good to get some “royalties”!! But today’s artists argue that they are impressed by these classics and spending respect by versioning and re-popularizing them. Numerous Jamaican producers rely heavily on versions although, in the past 10 years, we saw significantly less of this follow with hundreds of imaginative new riddims becoming released.

The explosion of dancehall in modern years produced numerous fantastic new riddims. But best dancehall artist in the world are currently getting versioned as properly. The Unfinished Business Riddim, well-liked in 2008, was a model of 1998’s strike Showtime Riddim. So it looks old riddims in no way die!


Of program, producing a new and first riddim is much far more hard than versioning an outdated 1! Below are some of the best authentic riddim producers from the previous & present: Black Chiney (audio method, DJ, producer), Bobby “Electronic B” Dixon (producer), Clement “Coxsone” Dodd (producer, Studio 1 documents), 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 data, dominated the 1960s), Sly and Robbie (producers, Taxi Information), Steely & Clevie (producers).

Two of the best youthful producers of the new millennium share a surname but are not relevant. Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, son of veteran singer Freddie McGregor, can boast of a single of my preferred dancehall riddims of latest many years, the Tremor Riddim (2007), voiced by Mavado (“Amazing Grace”), Sean Paul (“Look at Them Roll”), and others. This talented musician’s riddims are so popular that a lot more than a dozen men and women may possibly voice in excess of every single of them.

The other youthful star producer is Kemar “Flava” McGregor, who is responsible for some of the most popular hits in modern several years and, in my viewpoint, the extremely greatest roots reggae riddims to come out of Jamaica (or the entire world, for that make a difference) in a long time, for instance: 2005’s Triumphant Riddim (Gyptian’s “Mama Don’t Cry”), 2007’s eighty three Riddim (Richie Spice’s “Ah No Me Dat” & Queen Ifrica’s “Daddy”), and 2010’s Traditional Riddim (Pressure’s “Considering About You”, Duane Stephenson & Ras Shiloh’s “Before long As We Increase”), and Sweet Riddim (Etana’s “Content Coronary heart”, Beres Hammond’s “See You Once again”, Ginjah’s “Prayer”). I really like the vast combine of artistes voicing his riddims – veterans and novices alike – absolutely something to attraction to every person. These two producers are out in front of Jamaica’s existing hitmakers!

For me, it’s the smooth reggae beats that get me grooving and swaying for other individuals it really is the hard bass strains they appreciate on the dancehall ground. No matter your preference, riddims are reggae music’s basis! Get pleasure from!

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