- The Jamaican artist’s music heavily influenced jungle and drum & bass, among other genres.
Jah Shaka, the legendary dub and reggae sound system operator, has died.
The news was confirmed today, April 12th, by fellow Jamaican artist Dennis Alcapone. “Just getting some sad news that the great Jah Shaka has passed away,” he wrote on Facebook. “The Zulu warrior left us. Very sad indeed. More to come on that. May his soul forever rest in perfect peace.”
Shaka, whose real name is unknown, was born in Clarendon Parish, an area of Jamaica famous for producing numerous reggae stars. He moved to the UK as a child in the early ’50s, settling in South East London. His gateway into music came a few years later, when he joined travelling local sound system Freddie Cloudburst.
Drawing inspiration from Rastafarianism and the US civil rights movement, Shaka started his own sound system shortly after. Specialising in heavyweight, dubwise steppers and exclusive dub plates, Jah Shaka Sound System became one of the most revered in Jamaica within a few years.
Shaka is also considered the forefather of UK dub, inspiring a number of contemporaries, including The Disciples, Jah Warrior and Iration Steppas. His music had a profound impact on the creation of jungle and drum & bass. His tracks were regularly sampled by artists from these scenes, such as Ray Keith, The Ragga Twins and Rebel MC.
Jah Shaka continued to tour regularly up until his death, and was set to play London club E1 and UK festival We Out Here in the coming months.
Read some tributes.