Singjaying is a Jamaican style of reggae vocals combining toasting and singing in an elastic format that encourages rhythmically compelling and texturally impressive vocal embellishments. The performer is called singjay, a combination of singer and Deejay.
The fusion of singing and deejaying happened early in reggae music. Artists like Big Youth combined singing and toasting on tracks like “Sky Juice”, “Every Nigger Is A Star” and “Hit The Road Jack”. But the term “singjay” doesn’t really apply to deejays gone singing, but rather singers gone deejaying. For some reason this phenomenon happened years after the deejay style had gone mainstream. Among the earliest performers of what would later be known as singjaying is Micheal Rose, who used to integrate highly rhythmic but completely meaningless deejay “scatting” in his Roots songs. As the rhythm of reggae changed in the late 70s and became what is now known as rockers, the theme changed as well. The classic roots themes were slowly being replaced by songs inspired by the life at the dancehall. With this thematical change also came a change in the vocal delivery. Artists such as Echo Minott and Little John represent this “rockers” singjay style. Half Pint, though mostly known for his “lovers” style, also did a singjay style on his classic hit “Greetings”. Around the mid 80’s the singjay style became the dominant and mainstream way of expression in Jamaican music., Eak-a-Mouse, Anthony Red Rose, King Kong, Pinchers, Wayne Smith, Courtney Melody, Conroy Smith, Lilly Melody, Wayne Palmer, Eccleton Jarrett, Nitty Gritty and Yami Bolo are all original singjays. Today’s singay include artists such as Mr Vagas, Mavado and some others.