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What is a Dub Plate?


A dubplate is a 7”, 10” or 12” acetate that has music cut into it in grooves, on a lathe (see dub cutting in Pinch music video at Optimum in Bristol). Whilst all records start out life as a dubplate, from which a master copy is later pressed, in reggae dancehall culture a dubplate is an exclusive ‘one-of-a-kind’ record that only some DJs have access to play. The most exclusive versions of these dubplates are known as ‘specials’, where the track is re-recorded by the artist to mention the DJ or soundsystem in question. These are used in soundclashes between rival sound systems, to show who has the most exclusive ‘dubs’. Competition between DJs in the early days lead to extreme secrecy over the credentials of a record, so the labels were often scratched off or left blank.

 

© Adrian Boot / urbanimage.tv

© Adrian Boot / urbanimage.tv

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