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There has been an outpouring of tributes from the Jamaican music fraternity on social media, following the passing of U-Roy, the man responsible for birthing the Dancehall genre.
The Dancehall pioneer, born Ewart Beckford in Kingston, and popularly known as Daddy U Roy died Wednesday night in Kingston at age 78, after ailing for some time.
U-Roy who is an awardee of the Jamaican Order of Distinction for his pioneering musical exploits, is renowned for coining the iconic phrase “Wake The Town and tell The People.”
Shaggy and Sean Paul were among the first Dancehall artistes to pay tribute on their Instagram pages, following the announcement of U-Roy’s passing.
“Today we lost one of our heroes! A true legend in this game of dance hall/ Reggae if your a fan of sound system, then your a fan of Stur Gav sound. With such greats as Colonel Josey Whales and Charlie Chaplin, pioneers in this game … with a catalog of amazing recordings U Roy was a master at his craft. Rest Well daddy Roy!! R.I.P. walk good,” Shaggy wrote.
Sean Paul expressed his salutations in capital letters, noting that U-Roy had paved the way for artistes like himself.
“R.I.P great one. Because u did what u have done people like myself can do what we do. I salute u 2 di full!!! Condolences 2 ur fam an friends an fanz!!! We will continue 2 wake the town an tell the people in ur honor,” he noted.
Beenie Man and Yellowman, who have had a longstanding battle over which of them is King of Dancehall, also paid tributes. Beenie made two posts, one of an older U-Roy which he captioned: “RIP – The GREATEST KING” and the other with two younger pics of the late deejay for which he noted: “YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED LEGEND.”
Yellowman, on the other hand wrote: “Legendary. The world lost another king. Godfather @uroyofficial”
Mr. Vegas also posted a photo tribute noting: “Walk in peace great one! Was a joy working with you!!!! Greatest! #DaddyURoy.”
U-Roy’s Rastafarian compatriots Sizzla, Anthony B, Buju Banton and Tony Rebel also paid homage to the artist known for hits such as Chalice In The Palace, Creation Rebel and Dread Inna Babylon.
“The father himself. OUR FOUNDATION. We bless your soul mi daddy. DADDY RASTA U ROY. HAILE KING SELASSIE I JAH RASTAFAR I. JAH LIVE ALWAYS,” Ssizzla, a native of August Town wrote, while Anthony B noted: “S.I.P To The Real DJ Teacher. (Daddy U Roy)
. Wake the town an tell the ppl the musical hits is coming your way!!!” he wrote amidst a slew of sad emoticons.
“The man, the legend. Rest well Daddy U-Roy,” wrote Buju Banton wrote, while his former Penthouse stablemate Tony Rebel noted: “Rest in power great teacher in our music & culture. We give thanks for your life. (Welcome King)”
Other IG photo tributes came from Popcaan who said, “Rest good daddy U. legendary from the foundation” and Mavado who wrote: “God father U Roy RIP”.
Mr. Lexx added: “Sleep well King”, while Charly Black stated: “RIP DADY U ROY- rest in power”.
Chino McGregor described the veteran as inspirational. “Sleep well Godfather. Give thanks for your contribution and inspiration to myself and countless others… #uroy #daddyuroy #thegodfatherofdancehall,” Chino noted.
Jamaica’s top music selectors also hailed the King of Dancehall, among them the Man from Mars, Tony Matterhorn, who posted a video of the 2019 crowning of U-Roy, by Shabba Ranks.
“The greatest Jamaican DJ who started it all. R.I.P DADDY UROY, “Matterhorn wrote, while his compatriot Ricky Trooper noted: “S.I.P. DADDY U ROY KING DJ OF THE WORLD. Condolences to the family.”
Dancehall diva Spice was among the female artistes who expressed sorrow at U-Roy’s passing, paying her respects with a photo of herself and the legend taken some time ago.
“We just lost a true legend in dancehall… One that I was fortunate enough to meet. Daddy U-Roy Wake the town and tell the people. #theoriginator. My condolences #RIP Sleep well King…” Spice wrote.
Also expressing regret was Dancehall Bad Gyal Ce’cile who noted: “So sorry to hear of the passing of Daddy Uroy. The original toaster. The Godfather. This man paved the way for what we call Djaying pon di Mic. (MC) His influence lives on. NOT JUST DANCEHALL BUT ALSO HIP HOP RIP general Ewart Beckford OD. #uroy Condolences to all his family, friends n fans worldwide,” she said, while Macka Diamond noted: “Sip #daddyuroy #legend”.
Internationally there were tributes from reggae lovers and media in countries in parts of Africa, North and South America and Europe.
Of note was a photo tribute from BET which was captioned: “Sending condolences and love out to the family of the late, great, legendary Reggae artiste and Toaster #URoy.
VP Records also posted a tribute noting “Rest in eternal power, reggae icon, Ewart Beckford OD, known as Daddy U-Roy.”
Fortunately, U-Roy had his roses scattered by members of the Dancehall fraternity whilst he was still alive.
In December 2019, he was officially crowned the true, undisputed “King of the Dancehall and King of all deejays” in Queens, New York, by Grammy kid Shabba Ranks during a surprise coronation staged by Irish and Chin in a bid to settle all arguments that have raged within the Dancehall space for decades.
At the time, Garfield Chin Bourne, CEO of Irish and Chin, had said pioneers such as U-Roy ought to be honored whilst they are still alive. He also described U Roy’s crowning moment as one of the most meaningful moments in his professional career.
RIP …U Roy
We have lost a pioneering icon of Jamaican music culture, Ewart Beckford known as Daddy U Roy, the God Father of Dancehall. His legendary ‘toasting’ on sound systems is the precursor to today’s Deejays & Rappers.
Thankful @IrishandChin honoured him in 2019
— Sound Chat Radio (@IrishandChin) February 18, 2021
The coronation took place during the 10th anniversary of Reeewind, a premier vintage Reggae/Dancehall stage show in New York, and came 58 years after U Roy started his journey in music at age 20.
The unsuspecting U Roy had wept as Shabba Ranks, who had performed on Stur Gav early in his career, placed a crown on his head and a velvet cape around his shoulders to mark him Dancehall royalty.
“To di godfather of di music, di father who set it! Di greatest deejay of all times! God greatest creation toward our music. We will never, ever, ever, ever si or have another man fi represent di music like Daddy Roy. Daddy Roy is di Picasso of our music,” Shabba had declared.
The function had in attendance artistes such as Bushman and Professor Nuts, as well as British disc jockey David Rodigan, and selectors Rory of Stone Love and Johnny of the Body Guard sound system.
At the time fellow artists Chronixx, Spragga Benz, Jesse Royal, and Beenie Man also scattered roses for the veteran whilst he was still alive when the video of the coronation was made public back then.
The self-titled Dancehall Principal, Chronixx, had heaped praises on U-Roy who is credited as using his legendary King Stur Gav sound system, to propel deejays such as Super Cat, Josey Wales, and Charlie Chaplin, Frankie Paul, Tenor Saw and Early B to stardom.
“National and Cultural Hero. From the records to the sound system. The Originator. The Genius of Daddy U Roy. Love you mi elder!!! Perfect love! Big respect to the great legend… Rastaman is the first Dj… the first to Toast…first to Rap! Without Daddy U Roy all your another favorite Djs wouldn’t exist. ‘Wake the town and tell the people’!!!!!!” Chronixx had posted on his Instagram page.
The Place Pickney Jesse Royal had lauded U Roy as “the Real Teacher”, while Beenie Man crowned him “The Greatest King”.
Spragga Benz had also heaped praises on the Dancehall icon, whom he said was one of the elders and ‘foundations of the Reggae Dancehall Culture.’
“Many Kings in Dancehall. This one though is the GREATEST of us all DADDY U-ROY BLESSINGS AND HONOR GODFATHER,” Spragga had said.