Listen: King Stitt / Dance Beat DanceBeat.mp3
King Stitt is the oldest living Jamaican DJ today, having begun in the late ’50s deejaying on Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat Sound System. His break came when he was given a chance on stage by Coxsone’s reigning DJ, the legendary Count Machuki. Back then, the sound systems only ran one turntable so the DJ would fill the moment of silence between tracks with public service announcements and other patter, etc. As time went by, the competitive nature of the DJ’s meant they got more original and humorous as they began rhyming and clowning around. This led to them talking over the records, which led to singles coming out with instrumental versions on their Â B sides in the hopes that it would seduce the DJ to play it so he could toast over it.
Stitt had his own style of delivery, as well as a distinctly memorable voice. Facially deformed at birth, he took his nickname “The Ugly One” from the popular movie of the day THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He had Clancy Eccles produced hits with ‘Herbsman Shuffle’, ‘Vigarton’ and the track featured here – ‘Dance Beat’. In it, he recalls the days of the great dance clashes at Forrestors Hall and other places, name checking Machuki as he remenices in a back and forth with Clancy.
photo: King Stitt, back in the day