Lee Scratch Perry

Nina Keh
4 min readSep 2, 2021

The Upsetting Upsetter Who Makes Music Better.

The following is a short article that celebrates the life and work of one of the most influential Jamaican artists and Dub music pioneers.

Lee Scratch Perry Live @ Munich 2016 — Author pitpony.photography

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Reggae Giant, and Dub Pioneer left us aged 85.

Lee Perry started working for Jamaican producer Clement “Coxsone” Dod- locating and recording new singers for Dodd’s Studio One record label and others. Following a heavy fall-out, he left Studio One to form his own Upsetter record label. Producing Bob Marley and many others, Perry became successful in Jamaica, and in the 1970s, he opened his own recording facility Black Ark Studios, where he continued to produce. Lee Perry was a key figure in the evolution of reggae out of its predecessor’s ska and rock steady. He invented the studio technique called “dub” alongside King Tubby, and he recorded some of dub reggae's most wild records.

Dub Masters — Lee “Scratch” Perry & King Tubby” Ruddock

King Tubby (use of this image on Wikipedia is contended to be fair use)

The studio Innovations pioneered by Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock and Lee “Scratch” Perry have revolutionized production techniques in reggae, dancehall, and many popular music genres. The Ruddock and Perry Production Techniques have significantly influenced the development of genres such as hip-hop, house drum and bass, and techno. Perry’s techniques allowed the manipulation of musical notes and rhythmic patterns — distorted, delayed, contorted, and sustained to create a new reggae sonic soundscape that is both cosmic and spiritual.

The ‘Sun Ra, George Clinton, Lee Perry’ Connection

Within the well-defined worlds of reggae, jazz, and funk Lee Perry with American jazz composer and keyboard player Sun Ra, and American funk musician, singer, songwriter, bandleader of Parliament-Funkadelic George Clinton lived as “brothers from another planet.” They all have created their own futuristic worlds that subtly indicate the marginalization of black culture. With metaphors of space and alienation, these galaxies linked diasporic African…

Nina Keh

Radio Broadcaster, Music Researcher, Video Essayist.