Raggamuffin music, usually abbreviated as ragga, is a sub-genre of dancehall music or reggae, in which the instrumentation primarily consists of electronic music. In the same way of hip hop, Sampling often serves a prominent role in raggamuffin music as well.
Wayne Smith's "Under Me Sleng Teng" was produced by King Jammy in 1985 on a Casio MT-40 synthesizer, and is generally recognized as the seminal ragga song. "Sleng Teng" boosted Jammy's popularity immensely, and other producers quickly released their own versions of the riddim, accompanied by dozens of different vocalists.
Ragga is now mainly used as a synonym for dancehall reggae or for describing dancehall with a deejay chatting rather than deejaying or singing on top of the riddim.
Ragga originated in Jamaica during the 1980s, at the same time that electronic dance music's popularity was increasing globally. One of the reasons for ragga's swift propagation is that it is generally easier and less expensive to produce than reggae performed on traditional musical instruments. Ragga evolved first in Jamaica, and later in Europe, North America, and Africa, eventually spreading to Japan, India, and the rest of the world. Ragga heavily influenced early jungle music, and also spawned the syncretistic bhangragga style when fused with bhangra. In the 1990s, Ragga and breakcore music fused, creating a style known as Raggacore.
Ragga and hip hop music
In the late 1980s, influential Jamaican rapper Daddy Freddy's pioneering efforts in fusing ragga with hip hop music earned him international acclaim while helping to publicize and popularize ragga. In 1987, Daddy Freddy and Asher D's "Ragamuffin Hip-Hop" became the first multinational single to feature the word ragga in its title. In 1992, Canadian hip hop group Rascalz released their debut album under the name "Ragga Muffin Rascals". As ragga matured, an increasing number of dancehall artists began to appropriate stylistic elements of hip hop music, while ragga music, in turn, influenced more and more hip hop artists, most notably KRS-One, the Boot Camp Clik, Das EFX, Busta Rhymes, as well as some artists with ragga-influenced styles, like early Common, Main Source,Ill Al Scratch, Fu-Schnickens, and Redman. Artists like Mad Lion grew in popularity during this early 90's trend, exemplified by his crossing from Reggae to Hip-Hop Culture.
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