In a world which still tries to force the evil and false philosophy of white supremacy down the throat of the people, they would have us believe that Bob Marley is bigger than Reggae because of his white father. The truth is, while Bob Marley gained international fame and fortune from reggae music, he pales in comparison to some of the real geniuses of Reggae music.
What if I told you that at one time in Jamaica, every single recording studio that was putting out Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae Music was owned by Chinese people? It might sound unbelievable, but it is actually true. The sweet drum and bass brought from Africa by African people, was controlled and run by Chinese people in the little island called Jamaica. Then enter Clement Dodd to change the landscape in Jamaica in music.
Dodd’s Studio One was the first Black-owned studio in Jamaica, and island that is 99.4% Black. Before we talk about his history making move, however, we should start from where the genius actually started.
Clement Dodd is one of the main influencers behind the development of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae on the island of Jamaica.
Dodd was born in Kingston, Jamaica and that is where he set up his Downbeat Sound System in 1951. Downbeat would become the most popular Sound System in the Kingston area and is responsible for reggae greats like U-Roy and Prince Buster becoming top celebrities in Jamaica.
While Dodd’s Studio One attracted some of the best talent in Jamaica through his Sunday auditions in the late 1950s, it was not until 1963 that the studio became known as the best studio in Jamaica.
Dodd recorded and released music by most of the top reggae recording artistes of the era across all genres, including The Skatalites, The Ethiopians, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals, John Holt, Horace Andy, Ken Boothe, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, and Alton Ellis. All had fans in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
Dodd continued producing throughout his later years and acts including Burning Spear, Ras Michael, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy, and Sugar Minott passed through his hands.
In 2002, he was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica for his contribution to Jamaica’s music.
On May 1, 2004, Dodd died of a heart attack at his studio. He was 72.
In his honor, Brentford Road was renamed Studio One Boulevard. He was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction, in the rank of commander on October 2007.
So why isn’t Dodd talked about by Jamaicans the way Bob Marley is? Because Dodd’s mother and father were both Black so he never got the stamp of approval from white people. Unfortunately, most Black people (especially in Jamaica) only value what white people tell them is valuable.