Lee “Scratch” Perry, the hugely renowned Jamaican musician and producer who pioneered dub reggae, has died at the age of 85. Rainford Hugh Perry, the eccentric producer, died on Sunday morning in the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, according to Just Jared. No cause of death was given.
Perry is well-known for his artistic dub experiments, which revolutionized not just reggae, but also hip hop, dance, and other genres. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness paid tribute to the icon, “My deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary record producer and singer, Rainford Hugh Perry OD, affectionately known as ‘Lee Scratch’ Perry,” he tweeted. Born in rural Jamaica in 1936, the scrappy Rainford Hugh “Lee” Perry moved to Kingston in the early Sixties. “My father worked on the road, my mother in the fields. We were very poor. I went to school… I learned nothing at all. Everything I have learned has come from nature,” Perry told NME in 1984.
Perry was one of music’s most prolific performers during a seven-decade career; Kiss Me Neck, a book that chronicles Perry’s entire recorded output until the early 2000s, is over 300 pages long.
Meanwhile, many artists, including Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Flying Lotus, Lupe Fiasco, and others, rushed to social media to pay their respects to Perry. “We send the most love and respect we can to Lee Perry who passed today, to his family and loved ones and the many he influenced with his pioneering spirit and work,” Mike D tweeted. “We are truly grateful to have been inspired by and collaborated with this true legend.” However, Rapper Fiasco tweeted, “AFRICAN BLOOD IS FLOWING THROUGH I VEINS SO I AND I SHALL NEVER FADE AWAY!!!!”
Our thoughts are with Lee “Scratch” Perry‘s loved ones at this difficult time.