Linton Kwesi Johnson is revered as dub's first poet. A journalist and poet
by trade, Johnson lived in rural Jamaica with his grandmother until he was
11, when his family moved to London. In England, he experienced racism at
the hands of both teachers and fellow students, and discovered that Britain
suffered from the same class inequities that plagued his native country.
Johnson joined the English Black Panthers in his teens, where he learned
about black history and socialism, and found an outlet for his rage in
poetry. He began publishing in race-focused journals, often writing in
Jamaican patois. It was only a matter of time before roots artists
discovered his work and helped him set it to music. Hailed for his rhythmic,
intelligent lyrics and streetwise sensibility, Johnson is now a central
figure in reggae despite his erratic recording history.