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DJ / Toasting

Over a dub track, Jamaican rappers (called toasters) would chant lyrics of topical concerns; the DJ style began live at sound system dances, eventually leading to recordings of toasts on disc. U-Roy was the first to turn toasting into an art form. When he began working with Duke Reid in the early 70's, the DJ style exploded on the Jamaican music scene. Soon every producer scrambled to find a DJ to toast over their rhythms. In the mid-70's when roots reggae became the dominant style, Big Youth held sway as the mightiest DJ in the land. Although their popularity waned, DJ's remained a mainstay in reggae and an influence on the early formation of rap in America. When dancehall came along the DJ was returned to prominence as toasters like Yellowman and Charlie Chaplin became huge stars. Contemporary reggae and dancehall is somewhat dominated by DJ's like Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Lady Saw.