Sly And Robbie Jamaica's Most Innovative And Successful Producers

Sly and Robbie are two of Jamaica's well-known reggae artists.  Sly Dunbar is the best drummer the world have ever heard, and Robbie Shakespeare the greatest bassist, are the so called "Riddim Twins".


Both started out on their own and gained recognition as professional musicians. Then they started working together as a duo in the 1970s and began changing the music scene of reggae.


They have such a distinctive drop beat that is so unique that once you are familiar with their music you'll be able to identify their music whenever you hear it.


The list of albums and tracks recorded by them are in the hundreds of thousands of reggae cuts starting from the 70's.  Their sound and exceptional musical talent are relevant and is part of today's Jamaica reggae music tracks, remixes and dubs.


The Early Years Of Sly And Robbie

Lowell Sillmore Dunbar, born in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 10, 1952, began his career at just fifteen years old as the drummer for The Yardbrooms.  His nickname was taken from the Sly and The Family Stone, which he liked very much.


After appearing in the single "Double Barrel" the next step was singing with Ansell Collins for Skin, Flesh and Bones.


In 1972 Sly and Robert Shakespeare (one of the greatest bass player, also born in Kingston on September 27, 1953) met and agreed to work together under the name Sly and Robbie.


Their passion for the same music, (Stax Records, Motown and Philly Sound) led them to great success. 


"The Mighty Diamond" their first well-known album was released in 1976, which had a new drum beat called "Rockers".  This had replaced their previous "One Drop" beat.


These are the beats that makes their music so distinctive and unique.


When these recorded beats were first heard, many thought they used sound effects, but after their album reached number one everyone tried to add it to their own compositions.


Some of the albums they released in 1979 are "Bush Doctor", "Equal Rights" and "Mystic Man".


Sly And Robbie's Music Reaching New Grounds

These reggae artists became known as Sly and Robbie, two of the best in their respective fields.  Their music was reaching new grounds and after they continued to influence reggae music by developing a new beat named "Rub A Dub".


They were so innovative and in the mid 80's introduced us to the computer assisted music.  Also fusing dancehall and Latin music sound and even introduced Indian tabla sounds into their drum beats.


Also in 1980 they formed their own music label called "Taxi Records" and gave us Sly & Robbie Present Taxi


Their electronic sounds influenced their album "Rhythm Killers" produced by Bill Laswell.  This mixture of funk and dance album was very popular, with one of the songs, "Boops (Here to Go)", reaching number twelve in UK Singles Chart.


There followed many concerts, songs, albums with many famous singers like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, names not necessarily related to reggae music.


As their career started to grow so too was their musical diversity.


The 90s

Sly and Robbie continue to change the world of music with their own brilliant ideas.


The early 90's brought them new reggae artists like Chaka Demus and Pliers.  Their influences mixed together gave birth to "Murder She Wrote", a new sound and formula also used  in the future by Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Shabba Ranks and others.


These rhythm makers were among the few who toured and recorded.


In 2000 they didn't slow down.  More projects came along in the way of a new CD, "Dub Fire".


They have produced several new Jamaican artist on their Taxi Label, as well as introduced tracks and recorded with such individuals as Paul McCartney, Britney Spears, Madonna, Ecadorian singer-songwriter Cecilia Villar Eljuri, Black Uhuru, Chaka Demus, Gregory Isaacs, Third World Band, Beenie Man, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Cocker, just naming a few.


And even appeared and performed at a Reggae festival in 2007 with Don Carlos.  They even toured with Bunny Rugs and Sinea O'Connor in 2005.


Presently The Riddim Twins


After more than forty years together, Sly and Robbie still follow the same road.  Their tours and songs are appreciated and enjoyed worldwide and when they are not on the road you can find them in their studio.


Kingston, Jamaica is still the place where they both live and work together at new projects under their Taxi Records label.


Return From Sly And Robbie To Reggae Artists

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