Iconic Dancehall Producer Robert "Bobby Digital" Dixon Dies at 59

Buju Banton, Shaggy and more have paid tribute
Iconic Dancehall Producer Robert 'Bobby Digital' Dixon Dies at 59
Photo: Beth Lesser
Robert "Bobby Digital" Dixon — an influential reggae and dancehall producer who worked with the likes of Shabba Ranks, Sizzla, Buju Banton and many more — has died. Multiple sources report Dixon passed yesterday (May 21) from a kidney-related illness. He was 59.

Speaking with Loop Jamaica, fellow producer and dub pioneer Bunny Lee called Dixon "one of the greatest producers ever in dancehall and reggae music," citing the late artist's "distinctive feel for the music" and "brilliant mind."

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Dixon attended community dances in the 1970s, discovering sound systems including Socialist Roots and Tipper Tone. He would begin his career as a protege of engineer/producer Lloyd "King Jammy" James in 1985, and would be nicknamed "Bobby Digital" by Lee for early engineering of computerized rhythms.

In the late '80s, Dixon would strike out on his own, establishing his Digital B label and forming his Heatwave sound system. He would produce a string of singles for the likes of Brian and Tony Gold, Admiral Tibet, Coco Tea, Johnny Osbourne, Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy and many more.

Lee noted that Dixon "was the one who brought Shabba Ranks to the world," beginning with 1987 single "Peanie, Peanie." His production would play a part in launching Ranks to international stardom, with work on influential singles "Dem Bow," "Wicked Inna Bed" and "Just Reality."

Dixon's Digital B catalogue also includes work with Ninjaman, Chaka Demus, Garnett Silk, Sizzla and Morgan Heritage. In 2018, Dixon's output was compiled by VP Records for a pair of retrospective albums: X-Tra Wicked and Serious Times.

The late producer is not to be confused with the "Bobby Digital" alias of Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA, who has released three solo efforts under the name since 1998.

Buju Banton, who first came together with Dixon for 1991 single "The Grudge," wrote in tribute on Instagram, "BOBBY DIGITAL. love you from the heart .thanks for giving me the chance as a young man . The lord gave the word. Great were company of those that publish it."

In a tribute of her own, Morgan Heritage's Una Morgan wrote, "Your talents have touched everyone's career in today's reggae music fraternity and for MORGAN HERITAGE ….YOU were THE BEGINNING...There would be NO Morgan Heritage WITHOUT Bobby Digital."

Find further tributes to Dixon below.

Bobby Digital - there are no words right now to express the feeling right. Our brother Peter jus let us know you are now flying with the angels🙏🏾😇🙏🏾. Your talents have touched everyone's career in today's reggae music fraternity and for MORGAN HERITAGE ....YOU were THE BEGINNING. After MCA, Daddy took us to you and the rest is history🇯🇲🙏🏾. "There would be NO Morgan Heritage WITHOUT Bobby Digital" 💜 Thank you Dennis Howard for making the meeting for us and Bobby a reality!! Bless you always 🙏🏾 We will miss you Bob, I'm gonna miss mi friend bad 🙏🏾 I will always love you my brother, friend, producer. You take good care 😘 Shine on from heaven 😘 RIP BOBBY DIGITAL 🎶🙏🏾🇯🇲😘 #bobbydigital #DigitalB #bobdixon #unamorgan #morganheritage #raggaprincess #UnaisHere

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