So you think you know Caribbean ‘riddim’? Guess again || Wisdom Wednesdays

If you enjoy Caribbean music, there is a high likelihood that you’ve heard references to a ‘riddim’ (rhythm) more than once. Many West Indians assume that everyone knows what they are referring too when that term comes about, but, the reality suggests otherwise. It seems to be a more popular concept throughout Caribbean  music more than any other. If nothing else, Caribbean people definitely know how to execute the concept in a very entertaining and engaing way. Every island and genre Caribbean music executes it differently, for example a dancehall ‘riddim’, may have a different flavor to a soca ‘riddim,’ but the overarching concept remains the same.


According to Wikipedia, Riddim is the Jamaican Patois pronunciation of the English word “rhythm”, but in reggae, dancehall, calypso, soca, and reggaeton parlance it refers to the instrumental accompaniment to a song.’ We challenge that definition to include all of the Caribbean .


Some say, this culture of sharing riddims originally developed from the ghetto singing competitions where they would play a riddim and all the competitors would do a “free-style” song to that riddim and based on the crowds reaction a winner would be chosen. This eventually started to attract a lot of attention from the music produces who would then go to these competitions to find potential artist, so not only would they now win a few dollars or whatever the price was, they would actually get a real music contract as well. This gave rise to a lot of famous artists ,some of which would have never made it big without such an opportunity, and eventually this became so big it gave rise to the so called “sound clashes” and free style clashes between big name artists and big name DJ’s and fans would pay to go and watch these.*


When record labels and producers saw how fruitful it was for them from both a marketing and financial standpoint, they began inviting more and more artistes to be featured on their ‘riddims.’  There is usually one song from an artiste that really connects with the listening audience and creates buzz and promotion for not only that artiste, but, everyone on the riddim as well. There is also the added benefit of building brands and resumes for producers and many others in the musical food chain.


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MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.


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