Reggae Subgenres: Let’s Explore Them Together

August 3, 2021
Reggae Subgenres: Let’s Explore Them Together

Dancehall and Reggae are the two gems in World music. These have generated some very influential subgenres. Here are some of them mentioned below:


  • Lovers rock

Although being derived from Reggae, Lovers Rock does not follow the overall pattern of Reggae. Reggae is not hesitant to speak about political issues, but Lovers Rock is. This is a style approved by artists who did not want to participate in the Rastafari movement. Some say it is mainly centered around London, and it combines the concepts of rocksteady and Reggae. Lovers Rock, as the name suggests, is the best choice for romantic songs and similar themes.

  • Drum and bass (alternatively described as Jungle)

As the name suggests, it consists of the incessant playing of drums, and heavy bass. You will also see sub-bass, samples, and synthesizers in this electronic dance medium. Although popular, it does not get support from maximum record levels. It is more influenced by jazz. Like Lovers Rock, it is also centered around Britain and surrounding places. The overall tampon of this music is fast-paced.

  • Dub music

Some artists mention the genre as Dub Reggae, it is created from an accident. But later it became so popular. It has some specific characteristics, such as the absence of lead vocals, and emphasis on Riddim. Instead of vocals, you will see toasting, and it is very enjoyable. And lastly, it has some specific sound effects that are to die for.

  • Ragga

Ragga is another subgenre of the classic that has become widely popular. This is one of the forms that are widely popular in India and is used in Bhangra songs. Due to this, Reggae has become massively strong within the country.

Read Also: A Study of Jamaican Music: You Would Love to Know
  • Reggaeton

Reggaeton is a music theme that has strong Hiphop influences. It also has an element of rap, and some interesting lyrics. Reggaeton is most popular in Puerto Rico, among other islands. Some artists describe sexual points in these songs in the initial stages. However, there is a shift in the overall approach, as it has moved away from this notion, and talks about cultural and social issues. It is done to ensure it is not described as an uneducated version of the politically conscious Reggae.

  • Seggae

A fusion between Mascarene music (a very traditional one), and Reggae. It is very popular in Mauritius, along with the rest of the world. Seggae has a lot of characteristics, such as guitar, drums, keyboard, bass, percussions, and the tempo is a moderate one.

  • Two-tone

Two-tone is a British music form that is formed by fusing Jamaican music (particularly ska), Reggae, rocksteady, and American punk.

  • Samba reggae

Samba Reggae came into existence by combining the features of soul or funk music, and Reggae. It originated from Brazil, and people who want to celebrate their African origin created this step. The rhythm used here is quite huge, and the use of percussion is paramount here. The drums used are from Afro-Brazilian origins. An artist who sings these songs is a true ReggaeRockstar.

  • Reggaestep

Again this is a modern interpretation in which more than two or more music styles are fused to form an awesome music style, Reggaestep. Here, the two genres are Reggae (obviously), and Dubstep. It was quite popular during the 2010s, a report from Soundcloud shows that. Now, the market has gone down, but we cannot ever disagree that Make It Bun Dem by Skrillex is a well-known song of this genre.

  • Dancehall music (yes, it is a subgenre of Reggae)

While Reggae hints towards subtlety, Dancehall does not. Although there are sub-genres that have an upbeat tempo, unlike Reggae, none comes close to Dancehall.

It’s like having a rebellious teen, who does not meet the parent’s expectations. It’s more vulgar, provocative, and explosive. No soul is searching here, that’s why it did not receive any attention from musicians worldwide.

But it slowly began to change, and more people started enjoying it. While no one is denying Reggae and its influence, it’s alright to let loose sometimes. Dancehall helps people in exactly doing that.

As said earlier, Dancehall is much more explosive, and it resonated with people. The situation in which the genre started its journey could be best described as sticky. So, you guys can understand why the lyrics of these songs are like that.

In today’s reference, some of these lyrics will be downright absurd, inhumane, and illegal, in the USA, and the rest of the world. But, the sub-context was different back then. I am not saying it is or was right, not at all, just different.

There are a lot of singers singing these songs. And you can see notable differences in it right? I listen to these songs whenever I need to let loose.

But as a Reggae artist, you can probably guess which one is my favorite genre. All these genres have created a positive influence and faced some controversies. Again we are not defending any controversies, just stating the facts.

Hiphop music is another style you are probably aware of. It is one of the most heard song genres on different platforms, such as YouTube, among others. We are awarded some of the best songs out there.

Also Read: Hiphop in Its Many Forms and Shapes

Dancehall also has some subgenres that need special attention too. We will cover them in future articles. But here is a glimpse:

As Dancehall is more inclined towards heavy bass, its derivatives are too. Some of the best versions are dembow, and afro swing, among others. Reggae fusion, Old School Jungle, and Tropical House are the best examples.

As an artist, I dab in all these sections. I aim to become better, and get more people to hear, and make them happy. Some of the songs that I would like you to hear are:

  • Poppy Show
  • Black is the Color of My Skin
  • Motion
  • Rude Boy Loving
  • Side Man
  • Bad for You
  • Caribbean Wine
  • Bam Bam
  • One and Only
  • This Feeling
  • As long as you Stay
  • Over You
  • No Woman No Cry

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