Reggae singer, producer and label-owner Sugar Minott has died at the age of 54.
Minott rose to prominence a selector with the Sound of Silence Keystone and Gathering of Youth soundsystems, before kicking off his singing career in ’69 as a member of The African Brothers. The group split in 1970, having released a number of well-received singles, including ‘No Cup No Broke’ for Studio One. Minott’s personal relationship with Studio One continued, and he acted as a apprentice there to master producer Coxsone Dodd, quickly establishing himself as king of the version – fitting new songs to existing rhythms – and in so doing helped to usher in the dancehall style that would soon rule Jamaica.
Minott recorded a number of superb albums in the late 70s and early 80s, including Live Loving, Showcase, Ghetto-ology and (recorded at Channel One) With Lots of Extra. After a stint in the UK, including no inconsiderable chart success, he returned to Jamaica where he developed his Youth Promotion soundsystem and Black Roots label, providing a platform for the likes of Tenor Saw, Tony Tuff, Barringotn Levy and Horace Andy. During this period he produced for Nitty Gritty, Junior Reid and Garnett Silk among others, and his solo career flourished; collaborations with such luminaries as Sly & Robbie, George Phang and Prince Jammy yielded hits like ‘Rub a Dub Sound Style’, ‘Herbman Hustling’, ‘Buy Off The Bar’ and ‘Jamming In The Street’, and in 1984 he recorded the Wicked A Go Feel It LP for Lloyd ‘Bullwhackie’ Barnes.
According to Minott’s wife, he died at University Hospital, Kingston; the cause of death has yet to be made public.