The sound system concept first became popular in the 1950s, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. In the beginning, the DJs played American rhythm and blues music, but as time progressed and more local music was created, the sound migrated to a local flavor. The sound systems were big business, and represented one of the few sure ways to make money in the unstable economy of the area. The promoter or DJ made his profit by charging admission and selling food and alcohol; often thousands of people were in attendance.
• These sound systems were the method in which these migrants were able to maintain their cultural connection with their roots.
• They broadcast the remixed samples of Reggae beats and created an underground music culture
• This culture was separate from the larger population which relied on the radio to provide popular music.
• These sound systems were played in warehouses, clubs, and street corners.
• This was not simply just music played on the radio for a few people to hear, but a culture that involved many people was developed out of being consumed by sound through large sound systems.
• Sound system culture presented what Julian Henriques refers to as sonic dominance.