Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political commentary. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "rudie blues", then "ska", later "blue beat", and "rock steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.
Stylistically, reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, mento and also draws influence from traditional African folk rhythms. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure. The tempo of reggae is usually slower paced than both ska and rocksteady. The concept of call and response can be found throughout reggae music. The genre of reggae music is led by the drum and bass. Some key players in this sound are Jackie Jackson from Toots and the Maytals, Carlton Barrett from Bob Marley and the Wailers.
The guitar in reggae usually plays on the offbeat of the rhythm. It is common for reggae to be sung in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican English, and Iyaric dialects. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism and religion in its lyrics although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing.
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