Real Name: Roy Samuel Reid
Born: June 28th, 1942
Place of Birth: Spanish Town, Jamaica
Died: November 27th, 1999
I. Roy, aka Roy Reid, aka Roy Senior, was one of the great originals of Jamaican music. Always the most intellectual of his peers, he arrived at the start of the 70s as an accomplished DJ with a neat line in storytelling and the ability to ride a rhythm as if it was first recorded for him and not simply "borrowed". He drew his name from U-Roy, the first truly popular reggae star, and his first records were slightly derivative of the older man's style, and also owed a little to another DJ pioneer, Dennis Alcapone. However, I. Roy soon hit his stride and recorded a mighty series of singles for producer Gussie Clarke, including "Black Man Time", "Tripe Girl" and "Magnificent Seven". "Brother Toby Is A Movie From London" emerged for Glen Brown; "Dr Who" for Lee Perry and innumerable sides for Bunny Lee. His debut album Presenting was magnificent, collating most of his hits for Gussie Clarke. It remains a classic of its genre today. Further albums Hell And Sorrow and Many Moods Of were nearly as strong. In 1975, he became involved in an on-record slanging match with fellow DJ Prince Jazzbo, a bizarre name-calling affair that nonetheless presented the public with a new twist to such rivalries and helped to maintain sales.
In 1976, a liaison with producer Prince Tony Robinson brought I. Roy a contract with Virgin Records and Roy's albums graced the label five times: General, Musical Shark Attack, World On Fire, Crisis Time and the excellent 1977 set Heart Of A Lion. By the early 80s I. Roy had burnt out his lyrical store and was overtaken by younger DJs. However, he was still to be found on the periphery of reggae until his death from a heart attack in 1999, sometimes, ironically, on Ujama, the label owned by his old rival, Prince Jazzbo.
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
Source - BBC Music Profiles