Reggae Riddims – The Basis of Reggae Songs

What is a reggae “riddim?”

“Riddim” is the Jamaican Patois expression for the instrumental “rhythm” monitor of a track, also recognized as the “groove” or the “beat”. Jamaican well-known tracks, and a lot of other sorts of Caribbean tunes, are built on riddims.

Riddims normally consist of a well known bass line and a certain distinctive drum pattern and are really the backbone of dub, reggae, lovers’ rock, ragga, roots, dancehall, etc. Numerous riddims originate from a strike tune and the riddim carries the title of the track, for example I-Wayne’s 2004 strike “Lava Floor” on the Lava Ground Riddim. Or, in some cases, the riddim will take the name of the most well-liked track recorded on it. For case in point, the Satta Massagana Riddim is named right after The Abyssinians’ first music “Satta Massagana”.

Sometimes, an artiste will voice two totally various songs on the identical riddim. And it’s extremely frequent for distinct artistes to voice more than the exact same riddims with different lyrics and distinct vocal designs, ranging from singing to toasting. For case in point, Jah Cure’s “Contact On Me”, Gyptian’s “Butterfly”, and Tanya Stephens’ “Reminiscing” are all on 2009’s wonderful Good Love Riddim. The good results of a riddim is judged by how many artistes “juggle” it, or make their possess vocal interpretations of it. Jamaican audiences will judge whether or not or not the tune is massive and, if so, other artistes will write new lyrics to “trip the riddim”.

There can be far more than a dozen well-known existing riddims, but there are normally only a number of “hot” riddims at any offered time. Artistes have to file more than these hot riddims if they want a better shot at obtaining their tracks played in the dancehalls or on the radio. Many occasions a dance is even designed in honor of the riddim, like Pepperseed, or Gully Creeper, or who can neglect the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt’s victory dance, “Nah Linga”?!!

best dancehall artist in the world originate from reggae some city contemporary tunes may possibly grow to be riddims as effectively. The instrumental of Ne-Yo’s “Miss out on Independent” has turn into a well-known riddim a lot of dancehall artists have recorded tracks making use of the track. Other tunes have impressed riddims way too, this kind of as George Michael’s music “Faith,” which became a riddim of the same name, and R. Kelly’s “Snake,” which grew to become the Baghdad Riddim.

Varieties of riddims

Riddims are African in origin and are typically one of three types. The oldest, the “classical” riddim, gives the instrumentals for dub, roots reggae and lovers’ rock (nicely known producers incorporate Sly & Robbie). The “ragga” riddim backs (or utilised to back again) raggamuffin and dancehall tunes. And “digital” riddims (e.g., King Jammy’s Sleng Teng Riddim) are produced with personal computers, synthesizers and drum devices in other words and phrases, they are actually digital riddims.

The advent of technological innovation transformed the total organization. No for a longer time do you need to pay out for studio time and hire musicians! This opened up the business to a whole new technology of producers, musicians and performers. Right now, most riddims backing dancehall and Soca are digital. Digital riddims, together with the international attain and recognition of dancehall, have also spawned the creation of far more and much more common riddims outside the house Jamaica.


“Versioning” is the expression for recycling or rejuvenating aged riddims employing personal computers and samplers, and voicing more than them with new artistes. Jamaica has been versioning considering that the nineteen sixties. Some of these riddims are many years old, numerous of them coming out of Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s renowned Kingston studio, Studio One particular. Some fantastic riddims came out of Studio One particular in the ’60s and ’70s, and you will even now listen to them versioned in consistent rotation by seem systems nowadays.

Versioning can be controversial, nonetheless, due to the fact numerous of people who produced the first classic riddims in no way received paid for the riddims on their own. It would be wonderful to get some “royalties”!! But modern artists argue that they’re inspired by these classics and having to pay regard by versioning and re-popularizing them. Numerous Jamaican producers rely heavily on variations though, in the earlier ten years, we observed considerably less of this exercise with hundreds of innovative new riddims getting launched.

The explosion of dancehall in latest several years created many excellent new riddims. But some are presently currently being versioned as effectively. The Unfinished Company Riddim, common in 2008, was a version of 1998’s strike Showtime Riddim. So it would seem previous riddims never ever die!


Of course, generating a new and first riddim is significantly much more hard than versioning an previous one particular! Here are some of the best first riddim producers from the past & current: Black Chiney (seem technique, DJ, producer), Bobby “Digital B” Dixon (producer), Clement “Coxsone” Dodd (producer, Studio One information), Donovan Germain (producer, Penthouse Studio), Joe Gibbs (producer), King Jammy (dub mixer, producer), King Tubby (dub mixer, producer 1960s-1980s), Duke Reid (producer, Treasure Isle records, dominated the nineteen sixties), Sly and Robbie (producers, Taxi Data), Steely & Clevie (producers).

Two of the most popular younger producers of the new millennium share a surname but are not associated. Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, son of veteran singer Freddie McGregor, can boast of a single of my favored dancehall riddims of modern several years, the Tremor Riddim (2007), voiced by Mavado (“Wonderful Grace”), Sean Paul (“Look at Them Roll”), and other folks. This gifted musician’s riddims are so well-known that more than a dozen individuals may possibly voice over each of them.

The other youthful star producer is Kemar “Flava” McGregor, who is liable for some of the hottest hits in modern many years and, in my impression, the extremely greatest roots reggae riddims to occur out of Jamaica (or the globe, for that issue) in a long time, for case in point: 2005’s Triumphant Riddim (Gyptian’s “Mama Will not Cry”), 2007’s eighty three Riddim (Richie Spice’s “Ah No Me Dat” & Queen Ifrica’s “Daddy”), and 2010’s Classic Riddim (Pressure’s “Contemplating About You”, Duane Stephenson & Ras Shiloh’s “Before long As We Rise”), and Sweet Riddim (Etana’s “Content Heart”, Beres Hammond’s “See You Once more”, Ginjah’s “Prayer”). I adore the wide mix of artistes voicing his riddims – veterans and novices alike – certainly one thing to charm to every person. These two producers are out in front of Jamaica’s recent hitmakers!

For me, it’s the sleek reggae beats that get me grooving and swaying for other people it is the challenging bass traces they get pleasure from on the dancehall ground. No make a difference your preference, riddims are reggae music’s foundation! Appreciate!

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