Ragga Music

Written by Charles Peacock
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To many people, reggae music begins and ends with Bob Marley. While it's true that Marley was one of the great musical geniuses of any genre--and he certainly did a lot to put reggae on the map--there are countless other forms of Jamaican reggae, both past and present. Ragga is one of these forms, best described as a cross between electronic music and Jamaican dub singing.

Origins of Ragga

The real origins of Ragga go back to dub singing, a style of music that became popular in Jamaica in the 1960s and '70s. Dub singing basically involved talking (much like American rapping) over beats and rhythm samples from pre-existing tracks. Dub would eventually spawn new forms like dancehall, of which ragga is essentially a part.

Ragga differs from other types of Jamaican music in that the vocals are set to a fast electronic beat. The beats for ragga are fast and throbbing, much like jungle or drum 'n bass beats. In 1985, Wayne Smith released what is arguably the first ragga song: "Under Me Sleng Teng." Since that time, ragga has advanced quite a bit.

Ragga is now mixed and remixed with all sorts of different types of dance music. It's not uncommon to find house or even trance-sounding records with ragga-type vocals on them. This melange is characteristic of the rampant mixing in influencing between different styles of electronic dance music.


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