U-Roy – the Originator, “your ace from outer space” – is one of the first and best of the “toasters”.
This version of Natty Rebel by U-Roy from 1976 is one of my all time favorite songs. He’s toasting over what sounds like a Gladiators’ version of the song “Soul Rebel” (originally done by The Wailers.)
Toasting was an influence in the development of rap and hip-hop and had roots going back to African culture.
I can’t imagine a better example of this style. The killer syncopation of the drums and rhythm section; the understated mellowness of the bass; the tight melodicism and soulfulness of the background singing coming through; the call and response; and the joyful, determined sentiment of the toast – it doesn’t get any better than this.

about U-Roy