Prince Buster, “The King of Ska”

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Prince Buster was a pioneer of ska and rocksteady. Among his musical innovations were to have guitarists focus on the afterbeat (instead of the stronger downbeat) and to slow down the pace of tracks, a trait that would help define rocksteady. Dub has its roots in the marathon production sessions he oversaw.

Prince Buster was the stage name of Cecil Bustamente Campbell (May 24, 1938-September 8, 2016). A largely self-taught musician and producer (he began his career as a boxer,) he was a prolific recording artist and producer in the 1960s until reggae began to take over in popularity. His single “Al Capone,” was the first Jamaican Top 20 hit in Britan and would help lay the groundwork for a ska revival that came out of Britain in the 70s and 80s.

He was also influential in contributing to the sound system culture, a phenomenon in which trucks would bring DJs, turntables and speakers to the streets of Jamaica.

In honor of his contributions to Jamaican music, he was awarded The Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in 2001.

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