However, rude reggae did not start with the slackness of DJs in the 1980s and later. As Stanley-Niaah notes, Jamaica has a long tradition of rude lyrics dating back to mento, perhaps the first distinctively Jamaican musical genre, in the 1950s. Stanley-Niaah specifically mentions Lloydie and the Lowbites album, Censored, and some tracks by Prince Buster.
The Lloydie and the Lowbites album—the pseudonymous Lloydie was actually the rock steady artist, Lloyd Charmers—was released in 1972 and represents something of a high point in the tradition perhaps influenced by rude reggae’s popularity in Britain among skinheads. Kevin O’Brien Chang and Wayne Chen write that:
Jamaica has a long and honoured tradition of .. . suggestive, sexually-oriented music. Mento, even more than its Trinidadian cousin calypso, was always noted for its earthy themes. Songs such as ‘Mary Ann’ .. . and ‘Big Bamboo’ .. . are still staples on the tourist circuit.
They go on to discuss the importance of rudeness in ska and mention Prince Buster’s 1969 release, ‘Wreck A Pum Pum’ (‘pum pum’ can be translated by the vernacular ‘pussy’) which Buster sang over a version of the Christmas carol, ‘Little Drummer Boy’. A year earlier, Buster had released a ska version of the mento track, ‘Rough Rider’. The album which included it, as well as ‘Wine & Grind’, She Was a Rough Rider, was released in Britain in 1969.
From: Judge Dread, Ska, Rock Steady and Rudeness, found in:
Jon Stratton (2014) Judge Dread: Music Hall Traditionalist or Postcolonial
Hybrid, Contemporary British History.
Image source: Prince Buster’s All Stars / The Rude Girls – Wreck A Pum Pum / Wreck A Buddy