When people talk about the greats of reggae music, one of the first name that comes to mind is Bob Marley. If greatness is about popularity then yes, Bob is definitely the greatest. If greatness was based on the people you uplift, however, there is no doubt that Sugar Minott would have to be one of the greatest in the history of Jamaican music.
Lincoln Barrington Minott better known as Sugar Minott (pronounced my-Not) is responsible for the success of so many other artists, it is difficult to count them all.
Sugar Minott is not only a great dancehall reggae artist in his own rights but he was also the owner of the Youthman Promotion sound system. Like the sound system name implies, it is responsible for introducing Jamaica to all the who is who of early dancehall music.
It is because of Sugar Minott why the world knows artists like Junior Reid, Michael Palmer, Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty, Yami Bolo, Barrington Levy and so many others.
Sugar Minott started off his career as part of the African Brothers which comprised of himself, Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard. He then went on to a successful solo career with hits like Vanity” and “Mr. DC”.
“He mastered every reggae style and made significant contributions to each of them — from roots and message music into lover’s rock to the computerized techno music of the dancehall genre in the mid-’80s,” said Roger Steffens, a reggae historian.
“Sugar brought his trademark sweetness and humor, even to what can be quite a violent genre,” said Vivien Goldman, the adjunct professor of reggae at the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University. “Reggae has always been loved for its golden voices, and Sugar Minott ranked among the greatest.”
Lincoln Barrington Minott was born in Kingston on May 25, 1956, one of eight children of Austin and Lucille Minott. He attended a trade school, where he learned how to install shelves, and then worked with friends who built sound systems. That led to the formation of the African Brothers and his work with Studio One, which had been founded by Coxsone Dodd.
In 1993, Mr. Minott married Mr. Dodd’s niece, Ms. Stowe. Besides his wife, he is survived by his mother, three sisters, four brothers and 14 children. Ten of his children, Ms. Stowe said, came from two previous relationships.
An animated entertainer, Mr. Minott roamed the stage to reggae’s pulsating, off-beat rhythms, acting out the roles in his songs, dancing. But another “uniquely striking” feature encapsulated his exuberance, Mr. Steffens said: “a hugely gap-toothed smile that you could drive a minibus through.”