mahabis music // lee 'scratch' perry, king of dub

keith richards calls him the salvador dali of music and his name is often prefixed with ‘seminal’.  we love 78 year old lee 'scratch' perry for his realness and rawness, and for bringing reggae and dub from jamaica to the world.

dressing as loud and as free as his music, the self-proclaimed god, who is at least the king of dub, is still a mover and shaker with two recent documentaries about his life (volker schaner's vision of paradise and the upsetter by film-makers ethan higbee and adam bhala lough), a new album that has been rumoured to be released for months and a constant presence on the world music stage.

perry started changing the way music was made as early as the 1950, producing bob marley and the wailers in 1970 but it was his black ark studio built in his backyard in 1973  that came to define the reggae sound. he`d eventually burn it down in 1978 in a fit of rage and fled abroad to Europe, the UK and USA.

in the 1990s he was behind the beastie boys sound and dare we say look.

before, between and after lee 'scratch' perry was and is constantly collabortating, touring and creating on commercial and avant-garde projects. the 1986 collaboration with marcus downbeat on the groundbreaking 'battle of armagideon'  for trojan is an outstanding example of this.

the true rastafarian life? he gave up drinking and smoking pot (but not cigars) in the 1980s and lives in switzerland on a german passport.

'if I pulled the plug, just like that, then snap! the entire universe could disappear,' perry told rolling stone magazine last year. 'but then it would be on my conscience. I was sent here to make people happy . . . but repentance is coming.'

while you wait for the new album, slip out of your bling and into something more laidback to enjoy some of lee 'scratch' perry's retro classics.


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