Nicodemus, the deejay’s deejay

UNSUNG

Howard Campbell

Friday, October 26, 2012

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In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment section recognises 50 persons who made significant, yet unheralded, contributions to the country's culture. This week, we feature deejay Nicodemus.


IN the good old days, fans went to a dance to hear exclusive dub plates and take in their favourite singer or deejay rocking the lawn. Few were better at this than deejay Nicodemus.


He belonged to a generation of toasters that emerged in the 1970s, inspired by the trailblazing feats of U Roy and Prince Jazzbo. Like his mentors, he cut his teeth on sound systems like Socialist Roots, one of the most powerful forces in underground reggae during that decade.


It was not until the early 1980s that Nicodemus temporarily stepped away from the sound system to record, scoring with the comical Boneman Connection in 1981. But it was his ability to 'build lyrics on spot' that influenced a new breed of deejays and toasters including Early B, Super Cat, Chaka Demus, and Professor Nuts.


Super Cat was probably his most grateful student. Along with Nicodemus, Junior Cat and Junior Demus, he recorded the 1994 album The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Crazy which is considered one of the best hardcore dancehall albums.


The quartet also featured on the hit song, Cabin Stabbin'.


Nicodemus, whose given name is Cecil Wellington, died in 1996 at age 39 from diabetes.


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