Dan Dabber started out in 2001 like many reggae DJs before him, juggling 45s and digging for foundation riddims. But, although Dan has exclusively played reggae and dancehall his entire career, his experiences and approach are very different from that of a traditional reggae soundsystem.

While most reggae/dancehall selectors concentrate on collecting dubplates and flexing mic-work to hype the crowd, American-born Dan Dabber, who learned the art of DJing from hip hop, house, and drum-and-bass DJs, focuses more on seamless, creative transitions and building and breaking down vibes. His experience playing Caribbean music for a wide spectrum of demographics in a variety of settings has made him a master at reading and influencing party-goers with music they may or may not be familiar with.

Dabber’s mixing style is unique, solid, and undeniable, but Dan’s approach to selection can vary greatly depending on the crowd for which he is playing. Drawing mostly from Jamaican music that dates as far back as the 1960s- Dub, Rocksteady, Dancehall, Rub-a-Dub, etc.- Dabber can create a proper musical vibe for any crowd, regardless of age, ethnicity, or class. Dan’s command of the historical breadth of modern Jamaican music, including contemporary and near-future hits, allows him to float effortlessly between decades and musical movements, drawing on structural similarities and skilled transitions to bridge any generational gaps. Some have gone as far as to call him more of a musical historian than DJ, though this is one history course guaranteed to mek di gyal dem bubble!

While many reggae DJs throughout the world try to emulate the Jamaican soundsystem experience, Dan Dabber is one of the few trying to translate it into something more relatable to an American/Western audience. Through Dan’s eyes, the music of Jamaica has influenced contemporary Western music as much, if not more, than any other single nation in the world. Dan is strapped to the hilt with these subtle points of musical crossover, ready to convince even the most resistant American crowd that they’ve loved Caribbean music all along.


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