Lee "Scratch" Perry 

Lee "Scratch" Perry is to reggae and dub what James Brown was to funk: among its first proponents and one of its greatest popularizers. The diminutive Jamaican has made music for more than 50 years, authoring an unfathomable number of releases and producing Bob Marley's early hits. A feisty iconoclast, the colorfully attired singer has a voice as distinct as his character; he compensates for his lack of vocal power with a wiry, weaving, imperturbable "riddim." While perhaps not as musical as legendary production duo Sly and Robbie, Perry blazed a trail to explore the dub wilderness, with the emphasis on wild. Releases from the notoriously mercurial musician over the past two and a half decades have suffered from inconsistency, but he has turned out some brilliant collaborations, including 2004's Panic in Babylon with White Belly Rats; 2000's Lee Perry Meets the Mad Professor; and last year's The Mighty Upsetter with Adrian Sherwood, who also helped create 1987's Time Boom X De Devil Dead. At 73, Perry is a living legend, still in possession of some old-school magic.

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