Jah Screechy was born Elton Sinclair, and raised by his grandparents in Kingsvale, Hanover, Jamaica. Jah Screechy moved to the UK at age 7 and grew up in Northwest London. As a youth, he was inspired by artists such as I Roy, Willie Williams, Dillinger and Toots and the Maytals.
“I began learning the trade on a small sound with some friends of mine, the sound was called Black Lion. We used to play excursions and against other sounds at parties. I wanted to be a mic man from long time.”
As a young man, he couldn’t resist the magic of the dancehall and sound culture, finding his way into Sir Coxsone Sound events by carrying sound boxes to obtain free entry to the dances. Although trained as an engineer, Screechy’s skill as a wordsmith is what made an impression on audiences.
Many Jah Screechy fans were first exposed to his signature style of toasting, as it was once called in the 70s, through his performances with Sir Coxsone Outernational Sound System. In May 1984, Jah Screechy released the unique vinyl sound of Walk and Skank, produced by Blacker Dread. His record debuted in the UK Reggae Chart at Number 2 and continues to sell worldwide, achieving status as a reggae dancehall classic.
Rooted in London’s diverse communities from North to South, his emcee lyrics are modern-day Ragga, embracing relevant yet uplifting cultural and social themes. Positive chat and the dancehall vibrance of Screechy’s poetic style brought a new dimension. He said to Independent writer, Jim White in a 1993 interview, “I can’t stop the chat, man. Because of what’s going on around me.” Like American Blues, Screechy’s Ragga lyrics are drawn from real life.
Walk and Skank has since been immortalized when SL2 brought Jah Screechy’s vocal to a mass audience worldwide by sampling his distinctive vocal for the XL Recordings release On A Ragga Tip in 1992, peaking at number 2 in the UK charts and number 1 in the Network and Dance charts.
Played by radio and dance club DJs over the years, Walk and Skank has become popular as well across the web on internet radio stations around the globe. This resulted in Jah Screechy becoming one of the most sampled voices in music, included in Soul Jazz Records’ definitive compilation, An England Story: The Culture of the MC in the UK 1984-2008.
Jah Screechy has never been away from the music business and is well known on the artist circuit as an MC who gives the public their money’s worth. Screechy has worked with numerous producers and record labels including Kris Kemist from Reality Shock Records, Red Eye HiFi, Jahtari, Digital Steppaz and Cubiculo Records to mention a few.
Today Jah Screechy remains one of the UK’s most in-demand and respected MCs and Reggae artistes. His intelligent rhyming lyrics and intuitive musical sensibility are the foundation of his active life as a recording artist and international performer.