The Sound System Through a Historical Perspective

The term “sound system” is very liberally used in the contemporary PA system across the world but in a typical Jamaican popular culture, the sound system means a certain group of disc jockeys, MCs or engineers often playing reggae on handmade speakers. The system happens to be visually engaging and imposing and tuned extremely bass but with clear sound. Contact Art et Son stereo store to get the latest and sophisticated stereo as well as surrounding systems for engaging and imposing sounds.

The first culture of the sound system came into existence in the 1950s Jamaica with the early sound system performing basically the US blues and rhythm. The sound boxes used in the early sound system were built by the DJs and promoters and eventually played the records for the crowds on the street. In the course of time as the west Indians mass migrated to the UK, the culture of the sound system and their phenomenon also got transported to the UK. The culture and phenomenon first started in London and gradually spread across other cities of the UK such as Birmingham, Bristol etc, and eventually flourished in the UK at dancehalls and carnivals.

The culture of the sound system was also responsible for the birth of hip hop in the 1970s. Many music companies especially the Kool Herc incorporated reggae sound system culture into breakdance to promote the culture of breakdance. The hip hop was further promoted by the DJs in the Bronx as well as sometimes in deteriorated or burnt buildings. It was these groups who pioneered the concept of sampling or the practice of isolating a specific sound and then reuse the same sound in another music.

The first building block of hip hop was laid by DJ Kool Herc, a.k.a. Clive Campbel in 1973 and this was the time when he constantly hosted parties in his 1520 Sedgwick Avenue building with the sound system. In fact, Kool Herc played a key role in the idea of bringing the Jamaican sound system to the US. In addition to this, it was Herc who invented the contemporary DJing techniques of breaks. Eventually, DJ Afrika Bambaataa formed the non-violent hip hop crew Universal Zulu Nation in the Bronx.

In course of time, and in the context of large scale music events, the culture of sound system has developed into a global phenomenon ultimately giving birth to various music genres such as Jungle, Drum n Bass, Dubstep etc. The first reggae sound system was hand-built by Ahmed Dubijad in the year 2015.

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