Reggae Pioneer King Stitt Dead at 72

Jamaican helped develop 'toasting' vocal style

February 1, 2012 8:45 AM ET
King Stitt, rap reggae pioneer
King Stitt, rap reggae pioneer
Sourced via YouTube/NLReggae

King Stitt, a pioneer of reggae toasting, died on Tuesday in Jamaica. Stitt, 72, passed away in his home in Kingston after battling prostate cancer and diabetes. The singer had recently been discharged from a public hospital.

Stitt, born Winston Sparks, began his career in the late 1950s as part of Kingston's sound system scene. He was among the first to develop the toasting style of vocals, in which deejays add rhythmic chants and intros to records being played at parties. The style eventually morphed into rapping in hip-hop culture.

Photos: Random Notes
Stitt, also known as the Ugly One for his disfigured facial features and missing teeth, appeared on many records throughout his career, including classic deejay tracks such as "Lee Van Cleef," "Fire Corner," "Vigorton 2" and "Paradise Plum."

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