From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
After working as a selector on the Sound of Silence Keystone sound system, and then his own Gathering of Youth system, he began his singing career as part of The African Brothers in 1969, along with Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard. The group released several singles in the first half of the 1970s on labels such as Micron and their own Ital label, and were an early example of the Rastafari movement's influence on the Jamaican music scene, taking a clear lead from The Abyssinians. After recording "Mysterious Nature" for producer Rupie Edwards, the group recorded 1974's "No Cup No Broke" for Studio One, breaking up shortly after. Minott then teamed up with the producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, as studio apprentice at Dodd's Studio One, working as a singer, guitarist and percussionist, and soon began recording his own singles. Minott developed a talent for writing new songs to fit over existing rhythms (which at the time was common when singers performed live, but rare in the studio), often proving more popular than the original songs, pioneering an approach that would be central to the emerging dancehall style. After a number of moderately successful hits for Studio One, such as "Vanity", "Hang On Natty", "Mr. DC", and "Jah Jah Children", his debut LP Live Loving made his name and increased his popularity, and is regarded as pioneering the dancehall style that would dominate the early 1980s. It was followed in 1979 with a second album, Showcase, which included his singles that had been omitted from the first album.
The Bittersweet album followed, and then the third album of 1979, Ghetto-ology, which saw a return to roots reggae. Roots Lovers (1980) saw a move towards lovers rock, which was a UK hit. He became a bigger star in the UK than in Jamaica, his self-produced "Hard Time Pressure" being a major UK reggae hit in 1980, leading Minott to relocate to the UK, where he became a focus for UK reggae.
Singles such as "Run Come", "Not for Sale", "African Girl", "Lovers Rock", "In a Dis Ya Time", "Africa" and "Make It with You" (with Carroll Thompson) were hits in the years that followed. "Good Thing Going" (a cover of a Michael Jackson song) was picked up for distribution by RCA and reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart in March 1981, leading to an album of the same name. The Herbman Hustling album saw a return to dancehall and roots reggae.
He released an album of recordings from Channel One Studios, With Lots Of Extra in 1983, collecting several hits from his time working with Winston Holness. While Minott was in England he discovered the group Musical Youth and released a number of successful Lovers Rock singles.
Returning to Jamaica, his Youth Promotion sound system performed regularly in Kingston's Maxfield Park, featuring Jah Stitch and newcomers who had been nurtured by his organization such as Ranking Joe, Captain Sinbad, and Ranking Dread. His Black Roots label featured his productions of these artists plus others such as Barry Brown, Tenor Saw, Little John, Tony Tuff, Barrington Levy, Horace Andy, and one of his discoveries from England, Trevor Hartley. Minott also produced early works by Nitty Gritty, Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, Colourman, Daddy Freddy and Garnett Silk, who recorded his first song for Minott.Template:Fact
Throughout the 1980s the hits kept coming. Able to encompass different styles from rough roots to sweet lovers, through to classic dancehall, he was an artist of some influence. In that period he was working for all the top producers in Jamaica including, Mikey Dread, George Phang, Sly & Robbie, Philip "Fatis" Burrell, Channel One, Prince Jammy, and Donovan Germain, as well as recording for United States-based Lloyd "Bullwhackie" Barnes (the Wicked A Go feel It album from 1984). His biggest hits included "Herbman Hustling", "No Vacancy", "Jamming In The Street", "Rub A Dub Sound", "Buy Off The Bar", "Rydim", and "Devil's Pickney".
Sugar Minott continued to record on his Black Roots label, Youth Promotion Label and for Major and Independent labels. His albums receive increasingly exciting reviews. He released over 60 albums and hundreds of singles.
Minott's desire for independence led him to leave Studio One in 1978< and form his own Black Roots label and Youth Promotion organization, the latter with the aim of helping young singers from the same ghetto background as himself. Minott also ran the Youthman Promotion sound-system, giving many young performers their first public exposure. Youthman Promotion again is on the rise, with a strew of new vibrant selectors working alongside the veterans Major Stitch, Ragga Steve and Drifter. The new selectors added to the sound are Starry B, DJ Steewy and DJ Kaos in JA and Empress Skortcher and Poochiny in the USA.
- Live Loving (1978, Studio One)
- Showcase (1979, Studio One)
- Bittersweet (1979, Ballistic)
- Black Roots (1979, Black Roots/Island)
- Ghetto-ology (1979, Trojan)
- Roots Lovers (1980, Black Roots)
- Give The People (1980, Ballistic)
- African Girl (1981, Black Roots)
- Good Thing Going (1981, RCA)
- Dancehall Showcase (1983, Black Roots)
- With Lots Of Extra (1983, Hitbound)
- Herbman Hustling (1984, Black Roots)
- Slice Of The Cake (1984, Heartbeat)
- Wicked a Go Feel It (1984, Wackies)
- Leader For The Pack (1985, Striker Lee)
- Rydim (1985, Greensleeves)
- Time Longer Than Rope (1985, Greensleeves)
- Inna Reggae Dance Hall (1986, Heartbeat)
- Sugar & Spice (1986, Taxi)
- Jamming In The Streets (1987, Wackies)
- African Soldier (1988, Heartbeat)
- Buy Off De Bar (1988, Sonic Sounds)
- Sugar Minott & Youth Promotion (1988, NEC)
- Lovers Rock Inna Dance Hall (1988, Youth Promotion)
- Sufferers Choice (1988, Heartbeat)
- Ghetto Youth Dem Rising (1988, Heartbeat)
- The Boss Is Back (1989, RAS)
- Ghetto Child (1989, Heartbeat)
- Smile (1990, L&M)
- A Touch of Class (1991, Jammy's)
- Happy Together (1991, Heartbeat)
- Run Things (1993, VP)
- Breaking Free (1994, RAS)
- International (1996, RAS)
- Musical Murder (1997, VP)
- Good Thing Going (1998, VP)
- Easy Squeeze (1999, World)
- Split albums
- Rockers Award Winners (1985, Greensleeves)
- Double Dose (1987, Blue Mountain) (Sugar Minott & Gregory Isaacs)
- Showdown Volume 2 (Channel One) (Sugar Minott & Frankie Paul)
- With Lots of Extra (1983, Hitbound)
- Best of Vol 1 (1988, Black Roots)
- Collectors Collection Vol 1 (1996, Heartbeat)
- RAS Portrait (1997, RAS)
- Sugar Minott's Hidden Treasures (1999, Easy Street)
- With the African Brothers
- Collector's Item (1987, Uptempo) (Sugar Minott & the African Brothers)