In “They Don’t Know,” one of his most intimate songs, the Jamaican roots-reggae artist Chronixx bares his soul. In his signature style, which combines singing with tumbling dancehall chanting, Chronixx delivers a litany of woes in uncompromising Jamaican patwa. He listens to his father, the dancehall singer Chronicle, complain about poverty; he talks about dealing with an unrighteous music industry, and how even though people see him brilliantly conquering the stage, they don’t know that he has little to show for his success:

But dem never know seh a one shirt mi have Mi haffi wash it and, mi haffi sun it, oh

Chronixx is a roots man, and the face of Jamaica’s “roots revival” movement. The “revival,” as it were, combines dancehall with traditional roots music, and is characterized by use of the one-drop reggae beat, which stresses the third of a four-bar rhythm. In the production studio, it...

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