Remembering Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson Aug. 18, 1962 – Sep. 1, 2009

Two The Hard Way: Steely & Clevie did it real big during dancehall’s digital era.

Even after reading the sobering words of his musical sparring partner Cleveland “Clevie” Browne in this Sunday’s Jamaica Observer, the untimely death of ace Roots Radics keyboardist and pioneering dancehall producer Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson still comes as a terrible shock. The 47-year-old musician, composer, and groovemaster has played such a vital role on so many classic reggae recordings—from Gregory Isaacs’ immortal “Night Nurse” to the ubiqitous Punany riddim to “Sorry” (by “the other Foxy Brown”) to dancehall blasters like Tiger’s “When” and Shabba Ranks’s “Ting a Ling” even soulful cuts like Beres Hammond’s “Double Trouble” and the hit remake of Dawn Penn’s “No No No”—that it’s hard to imagine Jamaican music without him. [UPDATE: V.P.’s new Reggae Anthology pays tribute to Steelie & Clevie] Read more »