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Ride de riddim! “riddim”?

Posted On: January 4, 2012

Daytime career: director & creative at Q

Nighttime career: DJ.

deejay gramera

I recently presented my monthly party SoulSkank and was approached by someone on the dance-floor about a ska song I played… then the conversation began:
“Riddims” (rhythms, but you really need to pronounce it “riddims” when talking about it in this context – trust me, you’ll be ejected out of context if you say it any other way).
The song was the Baba Brooks Band doing ‘Shank I Sheck’. A classic instrumental ska track from 1964! This is foundation.
The riddim discussion thus ensued…

Riddims are when a producer/artist/band produce a base instrumental song, sometimes intended for a specific artist to sing over top of. The instrumental is then re-used by other artists to create “versions” of the song (‘Shank I Sheck’ in particular was versioned slightly for a slower reggae “downbeat” as transitioned from its original ska “upbeat” style). This riddim being called the “Shank I Sheck” riddim.
• here’s the original Shank I Sheck riddim by Baba Brooks Band
• and here are the versions of the riddim

First instincts may be obvious copyright issues, but that’s not the case as its seen as a form of respect and the legacy of your riddim living on.

This is fairly a common practice in the reggae & dancehall world. And it gives us DJs the opportunity to “ride a riddim” with several consecutive songs.
My favorite riddim to play when DJing is the “Stalag” riddim with its multiple versions:
Stalag riddim

Some other notable riddims from throughout the years:
Sleng Teng riddim
• Real Rock riddim
• Queen Majesty riddim

Be sure to also check out my weekly radio show, StolenSouls
Wednesdays 6-8pm EST on CHRY 105.5

Graeme has been working with Q Media for the past eight years and is Q's creative lead and director. Nighttime gig: deejay Gramera. You can also catch him on his weekly soul, ska and reggae radio show, "StolenSouls", Wednesdays from 6-8pm on CHRY 105.5fm. Find more fun facts about Graeme. ...

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