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Massive Dread

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 9 months ago


Massive Dread (b. Dennis James circa 1960, Trenchtown, Jamaica) began his career recording for Tapper Zukie in the late 70's. In 1978 he cut the song »Owner Man Skank« for Tapper Zukie's New Star. He also released »Food Is The Staff Of Life« for Zukie in '79. The same year saw the release of his first album on the Gorgon label.


After his work with Zukie he toured with Byron Lee and The Dragonaires. This led to an appearance at the show Jamaican Reggae Sunsplash. He then introduced a new deejay style for the first time at the Crazy Jim show - he named it the bubbling style. His bubbling new style was a major success with the audience. At this time Massive withdrew from the live circuit while his reputation grew. In 1982 he released his second album Strictly Bubbling that featured his new deejay style. It was produced by Tommy Cowan's first wife, Valerie Chang-Cowan, at Music Mountain.


He then recorded for Winston »Pipe« Matthews and Lloyd »Bread« McDonald of the Wailing Souls. They helped him get his greatest hits with songs such as »Nice Dem Up« (on Wailing Souls »Things And Time«), »Just Cool Melba« but and his Jamaican chart-topper »This Is Massive«. His albums with the same title as the hit single was released in 1983.


Massive Dread was featured on a music documentary on Jamaican music for the program The Tube. It showed him at a live dance in his riding hat in reference to the jockey-ride dance trend of the time where he performed at the Valentines dance alongside Yellowman, Eek A Mouse, Burro Banton and Billy Boyo at Aces. It was a session with Junjo's Volcano Sound System. After his association with Volcano, Massive dread joined Metro Media where he performed with artists such as Peter Metro and Zu Zu.


In 1984 he had further hits with »Young Gal No Sell Your Body« and »Justice Love And Harmony«, both from his third album.


He performed at the Valentines dance alongside Yellowman, Eek A Mouse, Buro Banton and Billy Boyo at Aces. The DJs appeared as a showcase of the Volcano sound system's top performers under the guiding light of Henry "Junjo" Lawes. In 1984, the hits continued with "Young Gal No Sell Your Body" and "Justice Love And Harmony" lifted from his second album. Following his association with Volcano, Massive Dread joined the Metromedia sound where he performed alongside Peter Metro and Zu Zu.


He also recorded for the Canadian produced King Culture with the 12" disco »Soca Massive« on the Rose Bud label.


In November 1993 Massive Dread among others started working on the Trenchtown Reading Centre - a community project designed to improve literacy and learning for the children of Trenchtown. The reading centre was completed in December and Massive Dread entertained at the opening as a deejay and selector.


In 1994 Massive Dread was shot. He was supposedly murdered for publicly speaking out against the political authorities (1).


In 2006 the label Silver Kamel (formerly known as Silver Camel) released a split album with Ranking Dread and Massive Dread featuring mostly unreleased material produced by Tapper Zukie.


Sources & Links

(1) http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/domenico.html

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