Where To Find 1990s Reggae Music
Published: October 1, 2023
Looking for 1990s Reggae music? Discover where to find the best selection of Reggae tracks from the iconic decade with our comprehensive guide.
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Reggae music has long been celebrated for its uplifting rhythms, conscious lyrics, and cultural significance. And one era that holds a special place in the hearts of reggae enthusiasts is the 1990s. This was a time when reggae music reached new heights of popularity, captivating audiences around the world with its infectious melodies and powerful messages.
During the 1990s, reggae music underwent a transformation, blending traditional roots reggae with elements of dancehall, hip-hop, and R&B. This fusion created a unique sound that resonated with a wide range of listeners, making reggae music more accessible than ever before.
With its infectious beats and positive vibes, 1990s reggae music became a soundtrack for countless people, providing solace, inspiration, and a sense of unity. From iconic artists and classic albums to record labels, festivals, and online platforms, there are numerous avenues to explore and indulge in the nostalgia of this golden era.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of 1990s reggae music, exploring the key elements that defined the genre, highlighting some of the popular artists of the era, and providing recommendations on where to find and enjoy this timeless music today.
The Golden Era of 1990s Reggae Music
The 1990s were a golden era for reggae music, with the genre experiencing a resurgence in popularity and creativity. During this time, reggae music not only reached its core audience but also gained a mainstream following worldwide. It became a voice for social and political issues, while also providing an escape from everyday challenges.
One of the reasons why the 1990s were such a significant period for reggae music was the evolution of the sound. Artists began to incorporate elements of dancehall, hip-hop, and R&B into their music, creating a fresh and exciting sound that appealed to a wider audience. This fusion resulted in a dynamic blend of traditional reggae rhythms with modern production techniques.
The lyrical themes of 1990s reggae music also played a crucial role in its popularity. Artists used their music as a platform to address issues such as poverty, inequality, and social justice. Their lyrics were deeply introspective and thought-provoking, connecting with listeners on a personal and emotional level.
Another reason for the golden era status of 1990s reggae music was the emergence of talented and influential artists. Legends like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer laid the foundation for the genre, but in the 1990s, a new wave of artists took center stage. Artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla, and Capleton brought a fresh perspective to reggae music, redefining the genre with their unique styles and socially conscious lyrics.
Additionally, the 1990s saw the rise of reggae music as a global phenomenon. Artists embarked on successful world tours, bringing their music to different continents and cultures. Reggae festivals and events gained traction, showcasing the vibrancy and power of the genre to diverse audiences.
The influence of 1990s reggae can still be felt today. Its impact on subsequent generations of reggae artists and the overall music industry cannot be understated. The music continues to inspire and resonate with listeners of all backgrounds, proving that the golden era of 1990s reggae music will forever hold a special place in history.
Key Elements of 1990s Reggae Music
The 1990s were a transformative period for reggae music, marked by the emergence of new sounds and styles. While still rooted in the traditional rhythms and themes of reggae, the music of this era incorporated several key elements that defined its unique character.
1. Dancehall Influence: One of the defining features of 1990s reggae music was the integration of dancehall influences. Dancehall, with its faster tempo and energetic beats, brought a fresh and dynamic flavor to reggae. Artists like Shabba Ranks and Beenie Man seamlessly blended elements of dancehall into their music, creating a captivating fusion that appealed to a broader audience.
2. Socially Conscious Lyrics: The 1990s reggae scene was marked by socially conscious lyrics that addressed important sociopolitical issues. Artists used their music as a platform to shed light on topics such as poverty, inequality, and corruption. Songs like Buju Banton’s “Untold Stories” and Capleton’s “Jah Jah City” became anthems of empowerment and social commentary.
3. Rhythmic Innovation: The 1990s saw reggae music experimenting with new rhythms and arrangements. Producers incorporated elements of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music into their beats, creating a fresh and contemporary sound. This rhythmic innovation brought a modern edge to the traditional reggae foundation, making it more accessible to a wider audience.
4. Conscious Dancehall: Alongside the socially conscious lyrics, the 1990s also witnessed the rise of conscious dancehall. Artists like Sizzla and Luciano blended the infectious rhythms of dancehall with conscious and spiritually uplifting lyrics. This sub-genre provided a balance between the high-energy dancehall sound and the thought-provoking messages of roots reggae.
5. Female Empowerment: The 1990s reggae scene also saw a rise in female reggae artists who advocated for empowerment and equality. Artists like Sister Nancy and Marcia Griffiths brought a powerful female voice to the genre, challenging social norms and uplifting women through their music.
These key elements came together to define the sound and spirit of 1990s reggae music. The fusion of traditional roots reggae, dancehall elements, socially conscious lyrics, and innovative rhythms created a dynamic and captivating musical landscape that continues to resonate with listeners today.
Popular Artists of the 1990s Reggae Scene
The 1990s reggae scene was alive with an array of talented and influential artists. These individuals left an indelible mark on the genre, creating music that resonated with people around the world. Here are some of the popular artists who defined the 1990s reggae scene:
1. Buju Banton: Buju Banton, also known as the “Gargamel,” is one of the most celebrated reggae artists of the 1990s. His powerful voice and socially conscious lyrics made him a force to be reckoned with. Songs like “Untold Stories” and “Wanna Be Loved” became iconic anthems of the era.
2. Sizzla: Sizzla’s energetic performances and thought-provoking lyrics propelled him to the forefront of the 1990s reggae scene. His blend of dancehall and conscious reggae resonated with audiences worldwide. Hits like “Black Woman and Child” and “Praise Ye Jah” solidified his status as a reggae icon.
3. Capleton: Known for his fiery performances and powerful stage presence, Capleton became synonymous with conscious dancehall in the 1990s. His songs, such as “Jah Jah City” and “Who Dem,” were hard-hitting and delivered powerful messages of righteousness and spirituality.
4. Beres Hammond: Beres Hammond is regarded as one of the smoothest voices in reggae music. With his soulful delivery and heartfelt lyrics, he captured the hearts of listeners. Hits like “Rockaway” and “Putting Up a Resistance” solidified his status as a legendary artist of the era.
5. Bounty Killer: Bounty Killer, also known as the “Warlord,” brought a raw and gritty energy to the 1990s reggae scene. His dancehall-infused reggae showcased his undeniable talent and lyrical prowess. Tracks like “Poor People’s Governor” and “War Beyond the Stars” showcased his commanding presence.
6. Cocoa Tea: With his smooth vocals and melodic style, Cocoa Tea brought a soothing presence to the 1990s reggae scene. His feel-good songs, such as “Good Life” and “Young Lover,” resonated with listeners and showcased his talent for delivering positive and uplifting messages.
These are just a handful of the artists who made a significant impact on the 1990s reggae scene. Others like Capelton, Luciano, and Beenie Man also soared to popularity during this era. Their music continues to be cherished and celebrated, reminding us of the vibrant and influential nature of 1990s reggae music.
Classic Albums of the 1990s Reggae Genre
The 1990s were a pivotal time for reggae music, with numerous classic albums released that captured the essence and innovation of the era. These albums not only became influential within the reggae genre but also left a lasting impact on the wider music industry. Here are some of the standout classic albums from the 1990s reggae genre:
1. Buju Banton – ‘Til Shiloh’ (1995): Buju Banton’s ‘Til Shiloh’ is regarded as a cornerstone of 1990s reggae music. With its powerful blend of roots reggae, dancehall, and conscious lyrics, this album showcased Buju Banton’s immense talent and cemented his place as a reggae icon. Standout tracks include “Untold Stories” and “Wanna Be Loved.”
2. Sizzla – ‘Black Woman and Child’ (1997): Sizzla’s ‘Black Woman and Child’ album is a seminal work in the 1990s reggae scene. Combining elements of dancehall and conscious reggae, Sizzla delivered a powerful and uplifting album that resonated with listeners. Tracks like “Give Them the Ride” and the title track became instant classics.
3. Beres Hammond – ‘Love from a Distance’ (1996): Beres Hammond’s ‘Love from a Distance’ is a timeless masterpiece of lovers rock reggae. With his smooth vocals and heartfelt lyrics, Hammond captivated audiences with tracks like “Rockaway” and “Putting Up a Resistance.” This album solidified Hammond’s status as one of the genre’s most beloved crooners.
4. Capleton – ‘Prophecy’ (1995): Capleton’s ‘Prophecy’ album marked a defining moment in the conscious dancehall movement of the 1990s. With its energetic and thought-provoking tracks, such as “Tour,” “Jah Jah City,” and “Wings of the Morning,” Capleton showcased his commanding presence and lyrical prowess.
5. Bounty Killer – ‘My Xperience’ (1996): Bounty Killer’s ‘My Xperience’ album is a gritty and impactful release from the dancehall icon. With tracks like “Living Dangerously” featuring Barrington Levy and “Suspense,” Bounty Killer showcased his unique delivery and unapologetic style, solidifying his status as the “Warlord” of dancehall.
These are just a few examples of the classic albums that define the 1990s reggae genre. Other notable releases include Luciano’s ‘Where There Is Life,’ Cocoa Tea’s ‘I Am the Toughest,’ and Beenie Man’s ‘Many Moods of Moses.’ These albums reflect the creative fusion, powerful lyrics, and timeless appeal of 1990s reggae music, which continues to inspire and captivate audiences today.
Record Labels and Studios for 1990s Reggae Music
The 1990s reggae music scene was fueled by the creative energy of various record labels and studios that played a vital role in shaping the genre. These establishments provided platforms for artists to express their talent, cultivate their sound, and release their music to a global audience. Here are some prominent record labels and studios that defined the reggae landscape in the 1990s:
1. VP Records: Founded in 1979 by Vincent and Patricia Chin, VP Records became a driving force in the reggae industry during the 1990s. With their extensive catalog and distribution network, VP Records played a crucial role in promoting and distributing reggae music globally. Artists like Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, and Sizzla released some of their most iconic albums through VP Records.
2. Penthouse Records: Led by legendary producer Donovan Germain, Penthouse Records emerged as a powerhouse in the 1990s reggae scene. The studio produced numerous hits and introduced artists like Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder to the world. Penthouse Records’ distinctive production style brought a polished and melodic sound to the genre.
3. Xterminator Productions: Xterminator Productions, helmed by producer Philip “Fatis” Burrell, played a significant role in the roots reggae revival of the 1990s. Artists such as Sizzla, Luciano, and Mikey General found success with Xterminator Productions, known for its conscious and spiritually uplifting music.
4. Studio One: Founded by Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd in the late 1950s, Studio One continued to be a legendary hub for reggae music in the 1990s. Many influential artists, including Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, and The Skatalites, had their early works recorded and released through the iconic label.
5. Greensleeves Records: Greensleeves Records played a pivotal role in the promotion and distribution of reggae music in the 1990s. The label’s extensive catalog featured artists like Yellowman, Barrington Levy, and Shabba Ranks, capturing the diverse range of styles within the reggae genre.
These record labels and studios provided a platform for both established and emerging artists, contributing to the vibrant and diverse landscape of 1990s reggae music. Their dedication to producing high-quality music and supporting talented artists allowed reggae to reach global audiences and solidify its place as one of the most influential genres in the world.
Online Platforms and Streaming Services for 1990s Reggae Music
In recent years, the rise of online platforms and streaming services has revolutionized the way we consume music. While the 1990s reggae music scene predates these technologies, there are several online platforms and streaming services today that offer an extensive catalog of 1990s reggae music, allowing fans to relive the golden era. Here are some platforms where you can discover and enjoy 1990s reggae music:
1. Spotify: Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services worldwide, boasting a vast collection of reggae music. You can find playlists dedicated to 1990s reggae, as well as artist discographies and curated compilations. With its user-friendly interface and extensive library, Spotify is a great platform to explore and immerse yourself in the sounds of the era.
2. Apple Music: Apple Music offers a wide range of reggae music, including a dedicated section for 1990s reggae. With its vast collection of albums and playlists, you can easily find iconic releases and curated selections from the era. Apple Music also provides personalized recommendations based on your listening habits, ensuring you never miss out on discovering new favorites.
3. Tidal: Tidal is a music streaming platform known for its high-quality audio and exclusive content. It boasts an extensive reggae music catalog, allowing you to explore and enjoy the 1990s reggae scene with exceptional sound quality. Tidal also features artist interviews, documentaries, and live performances, giving you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the genre.
4. YouTube: YouTube is a treasure trove of reggae music, with countless recordings and live performances from the 1990s reggae scene. You can find full albums, rare footage, and interviews with artists of the era. Many reggae enthusiasts have created dedicated channels and playlists, curating the best of 1990s reggae for fans to enjoy.
5. Bandcamp: Bandcamp is a platform that allows artists to independently release and sell their music. Many 1990s reggae artists, as well as newer artists inspired by the era, have their music available on Bandcamp. It’s a great way to support independent artists and discover hidden gems within the genre.
Whether you prefer the convenience of streaming services or the exploration of online platforms, these outlets offer an immersive and convenient way to experience 1990s reggae music. Take a trip down memory lane or dive into the era for the first time, and let the infectious rhythms and powerful lyrics transport you to the golden age of reggae.
Radio Stations and Shows Playing 1990s Reggae Music
If you’re a fan of 1990s reggae music, tuning in to radio stations and shows dedicated to the genre is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the nostalgic sounds of the era. While regional availability may vary, there are several radio stations and shows around the world that continue to celebrate and play 1990s reggae music. Here are some noteworthy stations and shows:
1. Reggae Radio UK: Reggae Radio UK is an online station that broadcasts 24/7, with a diverse range of reggae music, including a dedicated selection of 1990s reggae tracks. The station is known for its knowledgeable presenters and curated playlists, guaranteeing a quality reggae listening experience.
2. Rototom Radio: Rototom Radio is a popular internet radio station that showcases reggae music from around the world. Their programming often includes shows and playlists dedicated to different reggae eras, including the 1990s. Tune in to enjoy curated selections of classic 1990s reggae hits.
3. BBC 1Xtra – David Rodigan Show: The David Rodigan Show on BBC 1Xtra is a renowned program hosted by the legendary British reggae DJ, David Rodigan. This show often features a wide variety of reggae music, and Rodigan’s extensive knowledge of the genre ensures that the 1990s era is well-represented.
4. KROQ Reggae Soundclash: Based in Los Angeles, KROQ Reggae Soundclash is a radio show hosted by DJ Junor Francis. This program regularly features a mix of classic reggae hits, including plenty of 1990s reggae gems. Listeners can tune in for a dose of nostalgia and the latest reggae releases.
5. ReggaeSpace Radio: ReggaeSpace Radio is an online station that spans various subgenres of reggae, including the 1990s era. Their programming includes both classic tracks and newer releases, providing a good balance of nostalgia and modern reggae sounds.
Additionally, many local radio stations around the world have reggae music shows or dedicate segments to the genre. It’s worth checking for stations in your region that specifically feature reggae music, as they may include 1990s reggae in their playlists.
Remember, due to regional variations and the evolving nature of radio programming, the availability of 1990s reggae music on radio stations may differ. However, with the rise of internet radio and online streaming platforms, you can explore and enjoy 1990s reggae music on-demand, anytime and anywhere.
Music Stores and Retailers for 1990s Reggae Releases
If you’re a vinyl enthusiast or prefer physical copies of music, there are several music stores and retailers where you can find 1990s reggae releases. These establishments specialize in genres like reggae and offer a diverse selection of albums, singles, and compilations from the golden era of reggae. Here are some reputable music stores and retailers to explore:
1. Rockers International (Jamaica): Located in Kingston, Jamaica, Rockers International is a renowned reggae music store with deep roots in the genre. They have a wide selection of 1990s reggae releases, including original pressings and reissues. You can find sought-after albums and rare gems that will satisfy any reggae collector’s cravings.
2. Ernie B’s Reggae (United States): Ernie B’s Reggae is a popular online reggae music retailer based in the United States. They specialize in reggae, dancehall, and ska genres, offering a comprehensive catalog of 1990s reggae releases. With an extensive inventory, Ernie B’s is a treasure trove for reggae enthusiasts seeking vinyl records and CDs.
3. Randys Records (Jamaica): Randys Records, located in Kingston, Jamaica, is an iconic music store that has been around for decades. They have a vast selection of reggae music, including a dedicated section for 1990s reggae releases. You can explore their shelves for classic albums and limited-edition vinyl to add to your collection.
4. Special Request Vinyl (United Kingdom): Special Request Vinyl is an online vinyl record store based in the United Kingdom. They have a curated selection of reggae music, including releases from the 1990s reggae scene. Whether you’re hunting for popular albums or obscure releases, Special Request Vinyl offers a wide range of options for reggae collectors.
5. Reggae Fever (France): Reggae Fever is a renowned online reggae music retailer in France, specializing in vinyl records. They have a dedicated section for 1990s reggae releases, offering a diverse range of albums and singles from the era. Reggae Fever is known for its extensive collection and quality service.
Remember, the availability of 1990s reggae releases in physical format may vary, and some releases may be limited or out of print. However, these music stores and retailers are known for their dedication to reggae music and should be excellent starting points for finding and expanding your collection of 1990s reggae music.
Festivals and Events Celebrating 1990s Reggae Music
The love for 1990s reggae music is celebrated worldwide through festivals and events that pay homage to the iconic era. These gatherings bring together reggae enthusiasts, artists, and fans to revel in the nostalgic sounds and positive vibrations of the golden age of reggae. Here are some notable festivals and events that celebrate 1990s reggae music:
1. Reggae Sumfest (Jamaica): Reggae Sumfest is Jamaica’s premier reggae festival, featuring a diverse lineup of local and international artists. While the festival showcases a wide range of reggae music, it often pays tribute to the iconic sounds of the 1990s, inviting legendary acts and performers from the era to take the stage.
2. Rototom Sunsplash (Spain): Rototom Sunsplash is one of Europe’s largest reggae festivals, attracting a global audience. The festival features a dedicated stage for classic reggae sounds, including the music of the 1990s. Artists who made their mark during this era are often invited to perform, ensuring a nostalgic and vibrant atmosphere.
3. One Love Festival (United Kingdom): The One Love Festival in the United Kingdom celebrates the spirit of unity through reggae music. While the festival highlights reggae from various eras, including the 1990s, it also features dedicated stages and sets that focus specifically on the sounds and hits of the golden era.
4. Mikey Dread Tribute Concert (Jamaica): The Mikey Dread Tribute Concert is an annual event held in honor of the late reggae artist and radio host Mikey Dread. The concert brings together renowned reggae artists who gained prominence during the 1990s, paying tribute to Mikey Dread’s legacy and the sounds of the era.
5. Reggae on the River (United States): Reggae on the River is a beloved reggae festival held in California, known for its scenic setting and vibrant lineup. While the festival encompasses a wide range of reggae music, there are often dedicated stages or sets that focus on the music and artists of the 1990s.
These festivals and events provide a platform for fans and artists to celebrate the influential sounds of 1990s reggae music. They create spaces where nostalgia and positive vibes converge, allowing attendees to relive the magic of the era and create new memories with fellow reggae enthusiasts from around the world.
The 1990s was undoubtedly a golden era for reggae music, marked by exceptional creativity, influential artists, and a fusion of diverse musical styles. This period saw the genre expand its global reach, reaching new heights of popularity and resonating with audiences worldwide. From the infectious rhythms of dancehall to the conscious lyrics that addressed social and political issues, the music of the 1990s continues to captivate listeners and maintain its relevance today.
Through the key elements that defined the era, such as dancehall influences, socially conscious lyrics, and rhythmic innovation, 1990s reggae music became a force for empowerment, unity, and positive change. Artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton, and Beres Hammond emerged as iconic figures, and their timeless contributions have left an enduring impact on the genre.
Thanks to the rise of online platforms and streaming services, exploring and enjoying 1990s reggae music has never been easier. Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube offer a vast selection of classic albums, compilations, and curated playlists that allow fans to relive the nostalgia and immerse themselves in the infectious rhythms and powerful messages of the era.
Moreover, festivals, events, and dedicated radio shows continue to celebrate the spirit of 1990s reggae music, providing a platform for artists and fans to connect and revel in the sounds that defined the era. Whether it’s attending festivals like Reggae Sumfest and Rototom Sunsplash or tuning in to programs like the David Rodigan Show, opportunities to experience the magic of 1990s reggae abound.
In conclusion, the 1990s reggae scene holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers, and its enduring impact is a testament to the genre’s power to inspire, uplift, and unite. With its timeless melodies, conscious lyrics, and captivating rhythms, 1990s reggae music continues to be a source of joy, empowerment, and cultural pride for fans around the world. As the years pass, the legacy of this golden era remains essential, reminding us of the profound artistry and societal impact of reggae music.