Major Lazer’s Jillionaire has long cited dancehall legend/BBC radio DJ David Rodigan as a personal hero and gatekeeper to the culture. Now, ahead of the paperback release of Rodigan’s biography, My Life in Reggae, out April 24, the Trinidadian artist explains why it’s a must-read.
Rodigan has a masterful approach to music and storytelling. I think that’s why he has so many fans across the world — he can play to a seasoned reggae-dancehall crowd, and to 18 and 19-year-olds [who] want to rave their heads off. He does an excellent job of not only chronicling the evolution of Jamaican music, and Jamaican music in the U.K., but also tying [in] his own cultural evolution, from being in high school to changing careers and getting on the radio.
He’s widely revered and respected as gatekeeper of the culture, which is a very unique position to be in, given the fact that he is neither Jamaican nor black. What made a lot of sense was when he talked about going into acting school [and learning] about phonetics and projecting onstage. Those are reflected in his radio persona and his onstage performance.