Today, over four decades since he set rock steady music on a different course, U Roy is still in demand and constantly on tour. He was the first deejay to appear on Startime, the first to be honoured with Startime’s “DJ Immortal” award; and he will be coming with a special package of hits guaranteed to set Mas Camp alight on Saturday, July 13 when he joins a start-studded cast for the latest edition of Jamaica’s No.1 vintage show.
Although coming in the wake of Count Machukie, Lord Cosmic and King Stitt, U Roy was the toaster who has had the biggest impact on that musical form. He made his recording breakthrough in 1969 using classic rock steady rhythms to showcase his revolutionary style with snatches of the original vocals by groups like the Melodians, the Paragons, the Jamaicans and the Techniques.
He created history in 1970 when Wear You To The Ball, Rule the Nation and Wake The Town not only gave him the distinction of being the first deejay to take charge of radio’s hit parade, but also gave renowned producer Duke Reid the right to lay claim to being the initiator of the deejay craze which was to sweep the island.
As the main man behind King Tubby’s Hi Fi sound system, U Roy used his rich-toned voice and jive-saturated lyrics to indeed “rule the nation”. His impact and his many classics including Scandal, Flashing My Whip, Sound of the Wise, True True, Tom Drunk, Ace from Space, Words of Wisdom, Version Galore, Chalice In The Palace, Jah Jah Call You, Natty Rebel and You’ll Never Get Away not only earned him the respectful title “Daddy”, but spawned generations of deejays and gave credence to an art form that has reached universal proportions.