How Did U-Roy die ? Legendary reggae toaster, dies aged 78
‘The originator’ of toasting on record helped revolutionise soundsystem culture in Jamaica – and inspire the birth of hip-hopThe legendary toaster U-Roy has died aged 78, a representative for Trojan Records has confirmed. No cause of death has been made public.
The British reggae DJ David Rodigan was among those to pay tribute, describing U-Roy as “the paradigm of Jamaican music … I was always in awe of him; the tone of voice, the cadence, the lyrical shimmering and riddim riding made him the ‘soul adventurer’.” Ali Campbell of UB40 hailed him as “a true inspiration, [paving] the way for many generations and creating a sound that will live for ever!” Shaggy said: “Today we lost one of our heroes!!”
The Rapper Ghostpoet tweeted: “They ain’t ready for your toasting in heaven.”U-Roy was not the first toaster but he became known as “the originator” for being the first to put his distinctive vocal style on record, birthing a phenomenon and inspiring the creation of hip-hop. “His rich-toned voice proclaimed sizzling, jive-saturated lyrics rather than simply inserting a few phrases,” wrote a critic for Reggae Vibes. “And besides that he rode the pared-down instrumental track all the way through, rather than interjecting at crucial points.”U-Roy was born Ewart Beckford in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1942. His family was musical, his mother performing in the choir at a local Seventh-Day Adventist church. He first DJed aged 14. “My mother used to say to me: Why don’t you trim and shave because you will look a much nicer boy?” he told United Reggae. “And I used to say, ‘Listen mum, I did not tell you not to be a Seventh-Day Adventist. I did not tell you not to play that organ on that choir. I’m going to do what I have to do and I’m not going to disrespect you. But what I believe in is what I believe in.”