Sugar Minott has passed away.
Jamaica and the Reggae world has lost another great artist. Sugar Minott (born Lincoln Barrington Minott on 25th May 1956 in Kingston JA) passed away Saturday night 10th July 2010 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew. According to Peter Burke, a close associate of the singer, Sugar Minott had complained of feeling ill on Saturday and was taken to the hospital where he died at minutes after 10 pm. The cause of death is said to have been him suffering from Angina pectoris Ė a severe heart condition. Sugar Minott has been singing positive roots reggae, lovers rock and dancehall music for about four decades. He has been an innovator, a leader, a mentor, a producer, a label owner and sound system operator in his many years in the business. His biggest hits, songs like "Oh Mr. DC", "River Jordan", "Herbman Hustling", "Rub A Dub Sound" and "Devil Pickney" have become reggae standards and part of the canon of Jamaican music.
THE ORIGINAL GODFATHER OF DANCEHALL.
Sugar Minott has been a driving force in pioneering the creation of reggae music. Contributing his indoctrination to the reggae music from growing up near a dancehall where some of the best sounds of the day used to play. From this exposure he began to build a repertoir and entered talent contests like the Little Theatre Company. When finished school he began his journey in the music business selling records and playing in a sound named, Sound of Silence Keytone. Sugar then started his own sound by the name of Black Roots which then led to the creation of Youth Promotion.
In 1969 Sugar teamed up with Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard and formed the group the African Brothers. Tony was the lead singer and they recorded for Micron Music which was run by Mick Johnson and Ronny Burke of Sunsplash fame. The group then recorded for other producers from the likes of Keith Weston, Winston "Marrytone" Blake, Rupie Edwards and Coxsone Dodd. Some of the releases were "Lead Us Father", Mystery Of Nature", Party Time" and "Righteous Kingdom". The group sprang up from the gathering at Delacree Rd. and Delamar Ave. corner, properly known as Tony Martin corner where many aspiring artists would mass. Due to strong cultural content of the lyrics the group did not receive the type of publicity it deserved so they all decided to pursue solo careers.
One interesting story, which explains the way Sugar Minott's career continued to evolve, was when he was in King Tubby's studio, and wanted to record his track "Never Gonna Give Jah Up" for the 1979 "Ghetto-ology" album: "King Jammy was giving me some time for free. He said: "Okay, you can only have one cut - if you miss, that's it. I can't afford to stop - you only get one chance." So the song started - (sings) "I never gonna give you up", and I had to sing the song right through with no mistakes. There was a little part where I wanted to try some slow ting, but I didnít do that because of the pressure, and that was one of my biggest hits! Nuff pressure helped me." (April 2010 issue / Clash Magazine)
Based out of Maxfield Park Square Sugar Minott's Youth Promotion continued to dominate the competitive reggae scene by voicing young artists like Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, Don Angelo, Steely as well as the late Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty, Colourman and the Archangel Garnett Silk who did his first recording there. From 1979 to 1981 Sugar had already attained international notoriety and had toured in the US and England and is credited to the development of lovers rock by the release of his album "Music For The Root Lovers" which became an instant success with his English audience. Following this he had a hit with "Good Thing Going", a Jackson 5 cover which went to #2 on the British charts. While Sugar was in England he continued to develop the Youth Promotion and formed the Black Roots Players. Furthermore he was responsible for discovering the musical group Musical Youth. He also did work with Carl Thompson and Bertie Grant, the engineer of UB40.
Sugar Minott had much success with his Black Roots label and helped to develop some popular labels in Jamaica such as Channel One, where he recorded the hits "No Vacancy", "Herbman Hustling" and "Devil Pickney" with Sly and Robbie. From works done with George "Powerhouse" Phang, Phillip "Xterminator" Burrell, Donovan "Penthouse" Germain, Top Ranking, Tubby's, Jammys, Tappa Zukie, Bobby "Digital" Dixon and Lloyd "Bullwackies" Barnes out of New York the new style, known as the singjay dancehall, emerged. The sounds that made this popular where those of U Roy, King Stereograph, King Tubbys right up to Stone Love. Along with Barry Brown he toured the dance halls and thus emerged the current trend that is seen today in Jamaica.
Now, Sugar Minott thinks, "dancehall is a fake". He remembers the melodies in Jamaican music: "There's no singing in dancehall no more. Reggae's going down. Other people are surviving, country is surviving, calypso is surviving. The old presentation of reggae has broken down. If Dennis Brown was still here everything would be alright. Nobody's good enough anymore. Now they need Bunny Wailer and people like that to help. Nobody's keeping us together. Despite the free downloading thing, Gregory Isaacs is done, Dennis Brown is gone, everyone is finished. It's not nice." (April 2010 issue / Clash Magazine)
In 1984 Sugar Minott took reggae music to Japan. Along with the late great Bob Marley, Sugar Minott was the only one who had done this and helped to promote reggae music to the Japanese. From this he produced the first Japanese reggae star Naki. Sugar Minott remains a favorite among the Japanese people working with companies such as Takian and performing at major concerts like Japansplash.
Sugar Minott's musical influence comes from people like Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke and Johnny Mathis and most importantly Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and Dennis Brown. Sugar has various styles that he sings such as lovers rock, dancehall and roots & reality. Credit to his career he has over 60 albums and thousands of 45's, of which 27 of the albums he has produced. Presently Sugar Minott has established a base at 1 Robert Crescent, Kingston 5 Jamaica with Youth Promotion Music Center and Black Roots Production Co. Ltd.. Specializing in recording production - studio facilities include 8 to 24 track - record distribution, rehearsal facilities and music school where aspiring youths from all areas whether the country or the town can come and realize their aspiration in the reggae journey as him.
Sources: Sons of Light Promotion: Wayne "Lonesome" Brown & Steven "Iya" Ibanez / Clash Magazine