U Roy had invented and popularized the art of “toasting”, a technique of singing talk.

Jamaican artist U Roy, real name Ewart Beckford, has died at the age of 78, the Trojan Records label confirmed on Twitter , without specifying the cause of his death. “We are sad to announce that this pioneer DJ who revolutionized Jamaican music in the 1970s passed away yesterday in Jamaica,” the label wrote.

Legend of reggae and dancehall, he is particularly known for having invented and popularized the art of “toasting”. Considered one of the very first deejays in the 1960s-70s, it was also known as The Generator.

Born in Jones Town in 1942, U Roy began his musical career in the early 1960s as a deejay for several sound systems, reports the site reggae-live.fr , which pays him tribute on Thursday. He was one of the first to experience toasting, speaking on riddims (instrumental of a song), reggae and dancehall. Author of about twenty albums, including the last  Rebel in Styylle in 2019, he enjoyed international success with titles like Natty Rebel or Go De Natty Dread .