Dancehall is not reggae: Fred Locks reveals controversial origin of the dancehall

Reggae singer, Fred Locks, Screenshot Credit: INeverKnewTV

Roots reggae stalwart, Fred Locks has said that dancehall is not to be confused with reggae music as the former was born out of an effort to ‘water down’ the conscious message of reggae.  

“The people are running from the truth, they don’t want to hear nothing about certain [conscious] tings. So it [creates] an avenue now for the people who are not religious and are not conscious, and the world accepts that more,” Locks explained.

“Then out of that, they made a ting called ‘dancehall’, and the dancehall is a place where any music play. So I have some bredren who call it ‘duncehall music’,” Locks added.

Fred Locks describes the sounds of dancehall as ‘infectious’ and ‘contagious’ and compliments the genre as being ‘nice’.

To the veteran singer, whether danechall is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ comes down to the message the particular artiste chooses to send out to the masses. 

“How I observe that now is that even people without much talent can create some dance moves off of it. They choose a beat and the dance alone can make it [go places]. Then they start to put lyrics to it, like ‘signal the plane’ or something like this. And some start to put derogatory lyrics to it,” said Locks.

The Rastafari singer pointed out that certain American platforms such as award shows do not make the distinction when they do choose to highlight Jamaican music. 

“It’s nice, you know. It’s our music. dancehall is reggae’s baby, but it’s not reggae,” he added