The Riddim Database
What is a Riddim?
“Riddim” is the Jamaican Patois spelling of the English word “Rhythm”.
Jamaican music typically consists of a riddim (the instrumental part) plus a voicing (the vocal part). Together they form a song (also called a tune). A riddim is not exclusive to one song, but is rather used in many other songs. The more popular riddims are used hundreds of times. Riddims have their own name, their own producer and owner, and their own musical life independent of particular songs. The riddim phenomenon started in the late 1950's and continues strong up until this day.
Riddims are mainly used for Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Lovers Rock, Dub and Raggamuffin music. The first riddims were recorded in studios, as most studios had their own house band with a wide variety of musicians. Halfway through the 1980s the usage of synthesizers and drum machines became more common, which propelled riddims into the digital era.