Born: Circa 1948
Died: June 14, 1999
During the early years of dancehall reggae, Henry “Junjo” Lawes was the most important and influential producer around. His raw, street-level sound and use of pre-existing rhythms virtually defined dancehall in its predigital phase. Lawes produced many of the top DJs of the early ’80s, and also helped more traditional reggae singers bridge their influences and the new style. Unfortunately, Lawes was also something of a star-crossed figure: he spent the latter half of the ’80s in jail, halting his career just as the new, electronic ragga sound was changing
the face of dancehall. Although Lawes returned to work in the ’90s, he was no longer on the cutting edge. He was shot to death in the Harlesden area of London
by two men -likely gang members-
in 1999. The case remains unsolved.