Dub poetry is a form of performance poetry of West Indian origin, which evolved out of dub music consisting of spoken word over reggae rhythms originating in Jamaica in the 1970s. Unlike dee jaying, a style was made famous by deejays like U-Roy, I-Roy, King Stittt, and Big Youth along with many others, the dub poet's performance is normally prepared, rather than the extemporized chat of the dancehall dee jay.
Dub Poetry is subversive, revolutionary and anti-establishment.” Poet Oku Onuora was the first to coin this poetry as “dub poetry”. He said the term referred to “a poem that has a built-in reggae rhythm, hence, when the poem is read over the reggae rhythm ‘backing’ so to speak, one can distinctly hear the reggae rhythm coming out of the poem. Dub Poetry began as mainly protest, or rebel, poetry, carrying over many of the same messages as traditional reggae music. The sounds in the poems, as much as the actual words themselves, were meant to portray the life of the poor, the forgotten, the struggle endured by so many.
In musical setting, the dub poet usually appears on stage with a band performing music specifically written to accompany each poem, rather than simply perform over the top of dub plates, or riddims, in the dancehall fashion.
Musicality is built into dub poems, yet, dub poets generally perform without backing music, delivering chanted speech with pronounced rhythmic accentuation and dramatic stylization of gesture. Sometimes dub music effects, e.g. echo, reverb, are dubbed spontaneously by a poet into live versions of a poem. Many dub poets also employ call-and-response devices to engage audiences.
Dub poetry is mostly of an overtly political and social nature, with none of the braggadocio often associated with the dancehall. The odd love-song or elegy appears, but dub poetry is predominantly concerned with politics and social justice, commonly voiced through a commentary on current events (thus sharing these elements with dancehall and "conscious" or "roots" reggae music).
Jamaica has the largest concentration of bud poets, followed by Canada and then England.