Sizzla

Emerging during the latter half of the '90s, the enormously prolific Sizzla was one of the leaders of the conscious dancehall movement. Along with Buju Banton and Capleton, he helped lead dancehall back to the musical and spiritual influence of roots reggae, favoring organic productions and heavily Rastafarian subject matter. A member of the militant Bobo Ashanti sect, he sometimes courted controversy with his strict adherence to their views, particularly his aggressive condemnations of homosexuals and white Western oppressors. Yet overall, his music was generally positive, advocating faith and compassion for poor black youth, and respect for women. He remained something of an enigma to the public at large, rarely granting interviews and keeping his concert appearances to a minimum. Nonetheless, he still ranked as arguably the most popular conscious reggae artist of his time, thanks to a normally high standard of quality control -- all the more impressive given the frequency with which he recorded. A versatile singjay-style vocalist with a gruff, gravelly tone, he was capable of both rapid-fire chatting and powerful, melodic singing, and his best backing riddims were among the strongest in contemporary dancehall.