You’ll often hear it said that dubstep has nothing to do with dub, often in quite an irritating know-it-all tone, which is bollocks of course. Much of reggae and dub was built around the one-drop rhythm, with an accent, usually a snare, on the 3rd beat of the bar which still features today as one of the most common components of yer dubstep record. Trying to single out an example in reggae is a bit like trying to point out a heavy sub bassline in dubstep – where do you start? – but anything off Don Carlos & Gold’s magnificent Ghetto Living album stand out, all smoky echoes on the snared 3rd, and one beat after another that a dubstep producer would kill for.
Robert Emmanuel’s dancehall classic goes one better though because this is almost a wobble bass line. Way before producers started messing with low frequency oscillators, this is a bass lick that reverberates like a herd of elephants. The whole thing sounds slightly sped up and it is still perhaps one of the most stomping roots tracks to ever nice up the dance. It was re-released on vinyl a few years ago on the flip of the African Brothers’ seminal ‘Gimme Gimme African Love’ and tore the roof off of Carnival that year. The dub version on the vid below is a bit confused with the needle jumping all over the place so this is definitely one to own. Play very loud.