Massive Dread

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Massive Dread's self-titled debut album (1979)

Massive Dread (born Dennis James; c. 1960 – 1994) was a reggae deejay who first recorded in the late 1970s for Tapper Zukie[1] and came to prominence in the early 1980s, touring with Byron Lee and The Dragonaires.[2] Dread also worked on Peter Metro's Metromedia sound system.[3]


He introduced the "bubbling" style of delivery, which was well received by audiences at events such as Reggae Sunsplash,[2] and his album Strictly...Bubbling (on The Wailing Souls' The Up Front Organization label, and produced by Tommy Cowan's wife Velerie) capitalized on his popularity, including Jamaican chart-toppers such as "This Is Massive". Dread's links to The Wailing Souls saw him appear on a Tyne Tees Television documentary on reggae which was broadcast on The Tube, featuring Dread performing wearing his riding hat - the 'jockey-ride' being a popular dance at the time in the Jamaican dancehalls.[2] A second album followed in 1984 with It's Massive, which provided the hits "Young Gal No Sell Your Body" and "Justice Love and Harmony". A further album, 2 Dread Inna Babylon, split with Ranking Dread, appeared in 2006, although it features Tapper Zukie productions from the later 1970s/early 1980s.

In November 1993 Massive Dread, among others, started working on the Trenchtown Reading Centre - a community project designed to improve literacy and learning for the children of Trenchtown. The reading centre was completed in December and Massive Dread entertained at the opening as a deejay and selector.

In 1994, Massive Dread was shot and killed. Geoffrey Alex Domenico alleged it was for publicly speaking out against the JLP political authorities.[4]

Album discography[edit]

  • Massive Dread (1979, His Majesty)
  • 2 Dread Inna Babylon (2006, Silver Kamel) (split with Ranking Dread)
  • Strictly...Bubbling (1982, The Up Front Organization)
  • It's Massive (1984, The Up Front Organization)


  1. ^ On the Wire – Radio Lancs: Dub Column – April 2007
  2. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin: "The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Reggae", 1998, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
  3. ^ Who Cork The Dance?: Welcome One & All To Chapter One
  4. ^ Geoffrey Alex Domenico. "Don't Shoot the Sheriff: An Overview of Rastafarians and the Legal System". The Dread Library. Retrieved 5 December 2009.

External links[edit]