What a weekend. The ever-youthful and charismatic reggae and dancehall singer and songwriter Sugar Minott passed away Saturday, July 10 at University Hospital, Kingston. His cause of death was not reported. He was 54 years old.
Lincoln Barrington “Sugar” Minott’s (pronounced My-naht) was born on May 25, 1956. His career began in the late ’60s as a selector (D.J.) for several sound systems and then as a member of the reggae trio The African Brothers. The group’s music was influenced by the early Rastafari movement. In the ’70s Minott worked extensively with Clement “Coxsone” Dodd at Dodd’s famed Studio One studios. There he developed his songwriting and musician skills by singing and playing guitar and percussion on numerous sessions for other artists, as well as his own songs. He recorded hits like “Vanity,” “Oh Mr. DC” and “House Is Not A Home.” Minott also found particular success writing songs over existing riddims, which would become a hallmark of dancehall music. In 1981 he scored a hit with a cover of the Jackson 5’s “Good Thing Going,” which charted at No. 4 in England.
Minott also promoted new artists through his Black Roots and Youth Promotion labels. He nurtured many reggae and dancehall stars, including Junior Reid, Garnett Silk and the late Tenor Saw.
Minott’s latest album, New Day, is scheduled to be released on July 21, according to his website. The album New Day features production by U.K.-based Roman Pryce and appearances by peers Josey Wales, Ranking Trevor and more.