Tribute To Sugar Minott, Musical Legend

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“Sugar” Minott was born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956 in Kingston Jamaica. Minott’s musical journey began around a neighborhood dancehall, where he grew up.

[Tribute To A Legend]

Amazura Reggae Extravaganza Will Honor Sugar Minott

This Friday, November 26, Amazura nightclub, at 91-12 144 Place, in Queens, will  host a Reggae Thanksgiving extravaganza featuring: Mykal Rose, Coco Tea, Frankie Paul, Everton Blender, Brigadier Jerry, Pinchers, General Trees, Chrisinti, Di Ras, Ragga Lox and Twitch.

The show will honor the great singer “Sugar” Minott, who died on July, 10, 2010. He was only 54.

Known as the “Godfather of the Dancehall,” Minott had been diagnosed, in 2009, with heart problems. He  died of a heart disease named Angina pectoris, which causes chest pains due to blocked or clogged arteries.

“Sugar had a heart condition and it was about a year and a half ago that he got the first scare," said Peter Burke, a friend of Minott. "He was in Canada at the time and I was with him. But as soon as the flutters subsided, Sugar was back being his old self. That is just how he is.”

Burke added: “This is just so sudden and unexpected. Sugar Minott has made a major contribution to the music business--he was truly an icon and I am going to miss him tremendously.”

“Sugar” Minott was born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956 in Kingston Jamaica.  Minott’s musical journey began around a neighborhood dancehall, where he grew up. Consequently, at any early age he entered into many talent contests and  was involved with the Little Theatre Company. “I started singing when I was 12, in an amateur talent festival near where I lived in Maxfield Park in Kingston,” Minott said in an early media interview. "I reached the final with two others, but didn’t win. It gave me some encouragement to go on, really.”

In his early teens, he became involved in the business of music by selling records and becoming a “toaster” --chanter or rapper-- and selector, a Jamaican term for disc jockey, for the sound-system called Sound of Silence Keystone.

In 1969, Minott joined singers Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard and formed the group African Brothers. With Tony Tuff as the lead singer, the group recorded on the Micron Music Label, which was operated by Ronny Burke and Mick Johnson.

They first recorded “Mysterious Nature,” in 1970. “Party Night” and “No Cup No Broke” would  follow. Eventually, they would record “Practice What You Preach,” “Want Some Freedom” and “Torturing” on their own Ital Label. Other recordings include: “Lead Us Father” and “Righteous Kingdom.” Besides Burke and Johnson, the group worked with other producers like: Duke Thelwell, Winston Blake and Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

According to Minott “The group sprang up from the gathering at Delacree Rd. and Delmar Ave. corner, where many aspiring artists would mass. Due to strong cultural content of the lyrics the group did not receive the type of publicity it deserved so they all decided to pursue solo careers.” Therefore, in 1974, the group disbanded.

Minott would then launch his successful solo career by  first teaming up with the legendary “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One. During this time, Minott’s innovative approach to songwriting would initiate a new way of blending songs with existing rhythms that would be essential in the rising sub-genre of Reggae known as Dancehall.

Some credit Minott with resurrecting Studio One, after the label lost singers Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and John Holt. His first hit for Studio One was “Vanity” followed by “Mr.  DC”, “House is Not a Home” and “Hang on Natty.” His first solo
album was “Live Loving” which was followed by “Showcase.”

In 1979, Minott left Studio One to launch his Black Roots Label and Youthman Promotion; the latter illustrates Minott’s activism and  dedication to helping young artists. Minott got the name Black Roots from a sound-system he started back in the Sixties. These two fantastic entrepreneurial endeavors created an outlet for younger artists to hone and develop their skills. Many future stars and standouts were promoted by Youthman Promotion and Black Roots including: Junior Reid, Garnett Silk, Tony Rebel, Barrington Levy, Johnny Osbourne, Horace Andy, Tenor Saw, Yami Bolo, Nitty Gritty, Little John, Ranking Joe, Ranking Dread, Captain Sinbad, Barry Brown, Colorman, Tristan Palmer and Trevor Hartley. 

Many of these very artists dominated the Dancehall Reggae scene of the early Eighties. However, Minott has lamented the contemporary state of Dancehall Reggae. “There is no singing in Dancehall no more,” he said. He referred to the current music as  “a fake.”

In 1981, Minott scored a major hit, reaching #4 on the U.K Singles Chart, with the song “Good Thing Going,” which was first recorded by Michael Jackson in 1971. Other hit singles around this time include: “Africa”, “African Girl”, “In Dis Ya Time”, and “Make It with You”, “Not for Sale”, “Run Come and Lovers Rock. In 1984, Minott conquered Japan and helped popularize Reggae there.

The only other Reggae artist to do this, during that time, was Bob Marley. After Minott’s self-released song “Hard Time Pressure” helped to catapult him into stardom in England, where he relocated and became instrumental in another emerging
sub-genre of Reggae called Lovers Rock.

The career of “Sugar” Minott is illustrious indeed the list of producers he worked with is impressive including: “Coxsone” Dodd, Philip “Fatis” Burrell, Prince Jammy, George Phang, Mikey Dread and Donovan Germain. During his career, he recorded over 60 albums producing around 30 of them.

As a youngster, I fell in love with songs like “No Vacancy”, “Slice of The Cake”, “Harbor Shark” and so many more. The Reggae community lost a great artist and ambassador. But, Sugar Minott’s music will live on.

For ticket info on Friday’s Sugar Minott tribute show at Amazura call 718-649-6552 or 718-276-7329. To contact Amazura directly call 718-298-6760 or log on to  

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