Words by DJ Autograph—
Most people think of Snow as the first Caucasian male dancehall artist. Little do they know that prior to Snow there was Johnny Nice and even before Johnny there was Dominick.
Dominick, a British journalist turned deejay, got his start in the Jamaican dancehall thanks to veteran artist Peter Metro, whom he met during a performance Metro gave at Brixton Academy. Metro invited Dominick to come to Jamaica if he wanted to “buss” after Dominic told Peter that he was a deejay. It took Dominick a couple years to take Metro up on his offer but he eventually did. One of his most memorable tunes was “ Cockney & Yardie,” penned with Metro.
In this clip from the 1987 edition of Reggae Sunsplash, Peter Metro brings Dominick on stage to perform “Cockney & Yardie” for the Jamaican massive, getting a few forwards due to Dominick’s on-stage antics.
Johnny Nice, another predecessor of Snow, had moderate success in the Jamaican dancehall scene, collaborating with artists such as Pinchers and Bounty Killer. (Like Dominick, he also recorded some for King Jammy’s.) One of his bigger tunes was “Dolly Pot Mash Up.” The hilarious video shows a couple of confrontations between Johnny’s “wife” and his other woman. Arguably the funniest part of the video is Johnny’s “yard style” attire.
The mysterious deejay, about whom not much is known, returned several years later to flex his sway with Jamaican women—and even show off a few of his “pickneys”—in the video for his Pinchers collaboration, “Gal Dem Cereal”:
Snow may have been the first Caucasian dancehall artist to attain widespread commercial success but Johnny and Dominick were the first to gain acceptance in the notoriously tough dancehall circles of Jamaica.