Reggae singer Sugar Minott dies at 54

Jamaican performer played key role in spread of dancehall reggae

Sugar Minott, a Jamaican singer, songwriter, producer and DJ who played a key role in the spread of dancehall reggae in the 1980s, died July 10 in a Kingston hospital. He was 54, and was reportedly suffering from a heart ailment, the Associated Press reported.

Born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956, he got his start as part of the vocal group the African Brothers. During the 1970s, he recorded successfully as a soloist for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One Records, one of the island’s most prominent labels.

Reggae historian David Katz credits Minott, with Freddy McGregor and Johnny Osbourne, for steering Studio One away from the roots reggae sound towards the more lubricious dancehall style.

In 1978, he split from Dodd and founded his own imprint, Black Roots. He scored his biggest hit there in 1981 with a cover of the Jackson Five’s “Good Thing Goin’.” He also mentored such younger dancehall performers as Junior Reid and Tenor Saw.

His survivors include his wife Maxine Stowe. (Christopher Morris)