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Toasting (also chatting or deejaying ) is a spoken song used in reggae and its modified forms such as dub and dancehall . When toasting, the dub version of a song is used as the musical basis, on which then, mostly improvised, spoken, sung, commented and dialoged with the original singing. He is one of the historic pioneers of rap in American hip-hop . Hence, toasting and rap are related.

Definition of terms

Toasting means in English to celebrate something or someone, in the sense of praise.

The place of performance and the driving force behind the development of toasting is the sound system . The deejay puts his chant over the pieces of music that are put on by his selector . The DeeJay is the Master of Ceremonies (MC, master of ceremonies), who stages the music as a shared and above all interactive experience between him and his audience. He toasts over the pieces of music and moves to the rhythm. Often the texts also contain encrypted and satirical messages to the audience. For this purpose, the individual lines of the texts are always brought into rhyme form, less by choosing words to be pronounced the same, than by adjusting the sound of any words.


According to the English meaning, the term "toast" was used in America as early as the 1960s for a narrative poem that was performed theatrically by black young people and served to assert oneself in a group. In the Caribbean, too, there were toast rituals known as "giving rag" or "making mock". The rituals incorporate a talent for storytelling while also being a legacy from Africa and the time of slavery. This type of storytelling is still practiced and appreciated in Jamaica today.

Based on the origins shown, toasting continued to develop especially in Jamaica. The Deejay first used Patois , a Creole language spoken in Jamaica . With the worldwide growing success of reggae, toasting was increasingly also in English. Equipped with mobile amplification and loudspeaker systems, the Deejays traveled around Jamaica to provide their audience with music. Above all, they commented on their music in a singing tone of voice, the toasting, in order to promote their sound system and their dubplate more.

In the mid-1950s, Sir Coxsone Dodd became aware of these promotions on a trip through the USA. There Afro-American radio disc jockeys like Clarence "Poppa Stoppa" Hayman or Satelite Papa announced their R'n'B records with their toasts to the audience . Coxsone recognized the effectiveness of these toasts and speculated that they could have a drastic new effect on the sound system. In Jamaica, because of this idea , his employee Count Matchuki spoke his rhyming sayings live on the microphone over the R'n'B records and was the first Jamaican deejay to toast in this way. Examples of his toasts were praising his plate or short, rhyming sayings and shouts. The main effect of these toasts was to give the title fullness, mood and liveliness and to cheer the dancers on. In addition, the direct address of the DeeJay has a much more emotional effect on the audience than vocals recorded on sound carriers. When calling out the toasts, the DeeJay begins a kind of conversation with the audience, and the audience can respond to his calls. An example:

"Now we'll give you the scene, you got to be real keen. And me no jelly bean. Sir Lord Comic answer his spinning wheel appeal, from the record machine. Stick around, be no clown. See what the boss is putting down! (Now we'll show you, you have to be careful. I'm not a frog. Sir Lord Comic gives the rotating turntable what it needs. Stay here, don't be a fool. See what the boss is putting on!). "

- Wynands, René (example of Sir Lord Comics from the plays: Ska-ing West and The Great Wuga Wuga, 1966)

Toasting is also used in younger forms of reggae such as dancehall reggae, ragga and jungle . The first toaster to become known was U-Roy. Others were Dennis Alcapone and members of the Big Youth groups . Linton Kwesi Johnson eventually developed toasting into a poetic art. He writes down his poems and reads them to reggae music. U-Roy is one of the few of these early DeeJays who made it to a record. The toasting versions of the reggae tracks often develop a similar, sometimes even greater level of awareness than the originals.

Audio samples


  • Bradley, Lloyd: Bass Culture. When Reggae Was King. Hannibal Publishing House. 2003. ISBN 978-0140237634 .
  • Lipsitz, George: Dangerous Crossroads. Pop music, postmodernism and the poetry of the local. Robert Azderball Hannibal Verlag, 1999 ISBN 3-85445-166-0 .
  • Wynands, René: Do The Reggae. Reggae from Pocomania to Ragga and the legend of Bob Marley. Pieper Verlag and Schott, 1995 ISBN 3-492-18409-X (Pieper), ISBN 3-7957-8409-3 . (Schott). PDF version can be freely downloaded from: .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Archived copy ( memento of the original from January 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . As of February 10, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b as of February 17, 2015.
  3. a b c d e Wynands, René. Do the reggae. Reggae from Pocomania to Raga and the legend of Bob Marley. Pieper-Verlag and Schott, 1995. pp. 110f.
  4. ^ Wynands, René. Do the reggae. Reggae from Pocomania to Raga and the legend of Bob Marley. Pieper-Verlag and Schott, 1995. p. 112.