Artist picture of U-Roy

U-Roy

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Artist's top tracks

Natty Rebel U-Roy 03:32
Chalice In The Palace U-Roy 03:29
Ok Corral U-Roy 02:47
Small Axe U-Roy 05:24
Never Grow Old Toots & The Maytals, Terry Hall, The Skatalites, U-Roy 03:26
Border Line U-Roy, Chezidek 03:52
Runaway Girl U-Roy 03:47
Wear You to the Ball U-Roy, The Paragons 02:32
Love I Bring U-Roy, Slim Smith 03:11
Babylon Burning U-Roy 02:43

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Biography

A pioneering reggae DJ who helped popularize the technique of toasting, U-Roy was born Ewart Beckford in Jones Town, Jamaica, on September 21, 1942. He began DJing in 1961, working with Kingston-based producers like Coxsone Dodd and King Tubby throughout the decade. His debut single, "Dynamic Fashion Way," was released in 1969. One year later, U-Roy began releasing material for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, including the album Version Galore and the Number 1 pop hit "Wake the Town." "Rule the Nation" and "Wear You to the Ball" both became Top 5 hits in Jamaica that same year, establishing U-Roy as a star of the country's new dancehall movement. He spent the 1970s in a whirl of activity, collaborating with fellow reggae legends like Peter Tosh, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Bunny Lee while also touring internationally. His popularity soon extended to the UK, where "Runaway Girl" and its accompanying album, Dread in a Babylon, became hits in 1975. Natty Rebel appeared in 1976, followed by Rasta Ambassador in 1977 and Jah Son of Africa in 1978. U-Roy later developed his own sound system, Stur-Gav, and remained active for decades, appearing on Toots & the Maytals' Grammy-winning album True Love in 2004 and receiving the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in 2007. His two final albums, 2012's Pray Fi Di People and 2018's Talking Roots, reflected the Rastafarian beliefs and conversational delivery that had both become longtime staples of his music. Three years after Talking Roots' release, he died in Kingston on February 17, 2021, at 78 years old.