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HEY MR DJ: (from left) Chris Goldfinger, Daddy Ernie and Robbo Ranx

Davina Hamilton profiles five of the UK’s leading reggae and dancehall DJs

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DADDY ERNIE

BEST known for his time at Choice FM (now Capital XTRA), Daddy Ernie is one of the UK’s leading reggae specialists. He now (amongst other things) hosts the show Superjam every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8pm-11pm on Vibes FM. Visit www.vibesfm.net

What have you been up to since departing from Choice FM?
I’m now on Vibes FM and my show Superjam goes out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8pm-11pm. I also do a recorded show for RandysRadio.com in New York, which goes out every Wednesday morning from 8am-10am EST, and I’m on www.genesisradiobirmingham.com on Sundays from 1pm-4pm.

What are some of your career highlights?
Interviewing most of the legends of reggae/dancehall and bringing many of them on stage. Hosting International Night at Reggae Sumfest in 1993; the first Choiceathon, where I did a 72-hour broadcast with [fellow DJ] George Kay; the first time I played in The Gambia – there are so many highlights.

What era do you think produced the best male reggae artists?
From the ska era of the 1960s, right through to the beginning of the computer age in 1985. I think that was a truly amazing time, producing the cream of the crop of artists.

Who is your favourite male reggae/dancehall artist at the moment and why?
Buju Banton and Beenie Man are still my favourites. Buju for turning to roots music with his album Til Shiloh and Beenie Man is the finest entertainer of them all.

Who are your top five reggae artists of all time?
Dennis Brown, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Beres Hammond and Vybz Kartel.

What’s the best thing about being a reggae DJ?
Although I am a reggae specialist, I do play other genres. But what I like about being a reggae DJ is the influence my music has across the world. It's the people's music.

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ROBBO RANX

THE former dancehall authority for BBC 1Xtra, Robbo Ranx now flies the flag for the genre via his own internet platform Robbo Ranx Radio, where he streams his show live every Thursday from 10pm-12am.
Visit www.robboranx.com.

What have you been up to since departing from BBC 1Xtra?
I launched Robbo Ranx Radio in October last year and I now live stream my show as it was my aim to go directly to the consumer. Moving to an internet platform has been great. I have a two-hour show that’s loaded with content; much the same as what I was doing before, but this content is owned, produced and distributed by me.

What are some of the highlights of your career?
Doing a radio interview with Sizzla not long after I joined 1Xtra. Broadcasting events like the UK Cup Clash and dancehall event Sting live on radio was great. Doing live broadcasts from Africa and America was also great. And winning three Sony Awards. They’re like the Grammys of radio and they’re sitting proudly in my mum’s house!

What era do you think produced the best male reggae/dancehall artists?
I think it’s hard to argue that the ‘90s wasn’t the best era. That was the point when people really sat up and paid attention to dancehall, as opposed to reggae, thanks to the likes of Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man and Buju Banton.

Who is your favourite male reggae/dancehall artist at the moment and why?
My favourite male singer is Jah Cure. I think there’s something very special about his music.

Who are your five favourite male reggae/dancehall artists of all time?
At the top it has to be Dennis Emmanuel Brown. Beres Hammond also has to be in the mix, as does Bob Marley. Final two: Vybz Kartel and Shabba Ranx.

What is the best thing about being a dancehall DJ?
I think dancehall DJs have a unique way of commanding an audience. I’ve seen some dance music DJs just stand there and look at their CDJs and have no real connection with their crowd. But as a dancehall DJ… I don’t think DJs who play any other genre have the same ability to be all-round entertainers like dancehall DJs are.

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CHRIS GOLDFINGER

FOR 13 years, Chris Goldfinger spearheaded the genre with his Reggae Dancehall show on Radio 1. Currently touring Africa, playing in countries throughout the motherland, Goldfinger now spins the freshest reggae/dancehall on OnTopFM, every Friday from 8pm-10pm. Visit www.ontopfm.net

What have you been up to since departing from Radio 1?
After Radio 1, I started Tabu nightclub in Croydon, so I stayed away from radio for a little while, in order to concentrate on the nightclub. But people started asking me where they could listen to me, so I decided it was time to go back to radio. I’ve been on OnTopFM since last year. I’m on every Friday from 8pm-10pm and I also do a soul music show every Sunday from 4pm-6pm.

What are some of your career highlights?
Being the only reggae/dancehall DJ on Radio 1 is definitely one of them. Being on Radio 1 for 13 years playing the music I love, was a huge achievement.

What era do you think produced the best male reggae artists?
I love the music of the ‘90s. That’s when I started playing music here in the UK so I love that era, and the early 2000s. Beenie Man was in is heyday, the bogle [dance] was in full swing; Sean Paul was just coming through in the early 2000s – it was an era that was a lot of fun. Chaka Demus & Pliers were out, Mr Vegas had his hit Heads High and then there was the dancing – people dancing in unison in the clubs. I was happy to be a part of that era where I could break those artists on radio.

Who is your favourite male reggae/dancehall artist at the moment and why?
Because I’m more mellow now, I’m too old for all the dancing [laughs]. I still love dancehall, but I’d go for like Tarrus Riley and Chronixx; the mellow vibes is more my thing.

Who are your top five reggae artists of all time?
Dennis Brown has to be in there. Bob Marley too. Last three… Chronixx, Dexta Daps – look out for that name – and Mavado.

What’s the best thing about being a reggae DJ?
Playing out and getting to meet people while playing the music that I love – it’s great. To this day, I still can’t get enough of it.

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NATTY B

THE former Choice FM DJ is a true reggae enthusiast, with a passion for both the classic and modern elements of the genre. He now keeps the pulse of reggae alive on Mi-Soul.com every Saturday from 9-11pm.

What have you been up to since departing from Choice FM?
Since the end of 2013, my Official Reggae Chart Show has found a new home at Mi-Soul.com The show has featured some exclusive interviews, giveaways, music and great vibes. I can actually now confirm that the station has acquired a DAB license, which goes live from June 27, so a transition will be made from solely internet to digital airwaves! In addition, I’m still hosting my events, namely my monthly dance Throwback Fridayz and bi-monthly session Pure Lovers.

What are some of the highlights of your career?
Recently, I have been filmed doing interviews with a number of reggae guests for Mi-Soul TV, which is part of the station’s platform. One of my producers, Sophia Johnson has been instrumental in this feat. This has been a real highlight, as it has enabled me to combine this new experience of television and filming with my old faithful skills in radio and broadcasting.

What era do you think produced the best male reggae artists?
The ‘90s era has a special place in my heart. The whole scene was vibrant. I was feeling the likes of Admiral Bailey, Josey Wales and Admiral Tibet.

Who is your favourite male reggae/dancehall artist at the moment and why?
I’ve got three! Randy Valentine is great. Dexta Daps is a very talented young man who’s future looks bright in the business. There’s also Omi – I like his style and he’s dominating the commercial music charts worldwide with a remix of his song Cheerleader.

Who are your five favourite male reggae artists of all time?
Bob Marley, Dennis Brown – I remember when I used to play out in my early career days, drawing for one or two Dennis Brown tracks would get me out of a lot of trouble with the crowd! Last three… Alton Ellis, Shabba Ranks and Beenie Man.

What is the best thing about being a reggae DJ?
Reggae music is a global commodity. Many people have embraced it and its message. Being a part of that is monumental.

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JAMIE RODIGAN

A triple threat talent as a DJ, producer and radio presenter, Jamie Rodigan is no stranger to reggae music. The son of revered reggae DJ and broadcaster David Rodigan, Jamie can be heard on BANG Radio every Sunday from 10pm-1am, playing reggae, dancehall and soca.
Visit ww.wearebang.com

How long have you been a DJ?
I’ve always had turntables and messed around with music, but professionally, I’ve been DJ-ing for about five years. It’s been five years as a club DJ and about a year as broadcaster on BANG.

What made you decide to pursue a professional career as a reggae DJ?
I’ve got a big passion for the music and it just felt like the right time to pursue it. I played at the World Cup Clash [along with his father] in 2010 and going into a clash and performing in front of such a huge crowd was a real experience. I really enjoyed it – and we won the trophy! After that, it felt like the time was right to pursue a career as a DJ.

What are some of your career highlights?
Definitely performing at Rototom Reggae Sunsplash in Italy in 2010. Also, supporting [reggae artist] Dre Island for Riddim Up Live, which is BANG Radio’s reggae event. That was a definite highlight.

Do you think your dad being one of the UK’s leading reggae DJs has helped your career?
It’s hard to say. [Rodigan] is the name I was born with! Perhaps if I’d had another name, things would have been different, but who knows? Maybe to some extent it’s opened a few doors, but I’ve trod my own path since the clash.

What era do you think produced the best male reggae artists?
I think each era has produced so many great artists. But I think the 70s era produced a lot of stars; stars whose music really stood the test of time.

Who is your favourite male reggae/dancehall artist at the moment and why?
I would have to say Chronixx, purely because he’s so exciting and he has a great catalogue of songs. I’m always excited to hear new projects from him.

Who are your top five reggae artists of all time?
Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown… Wow, we might be here for a while! Sly & Robbie – do they count?

Yes, I’ll count them as one. Last two?
Ok…. Garnett Silk, definitely. One more… Damian Marley.

What’s the best thing about being a reggae DJ?
I think it’s the community spirit of the music and the industry. It’s like a family. Once you’re in there, you’re accepted into this family. Also, building friendships with artists is great. I’ve formed friendships with artists like Chronixx and Dre Island and get music from them regularly, which I’m then able to share. It’s great.

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