Aswad was one of the first British reggae groups to gain national renown. Hailing from London, the group started out in the mid-1970s purveying a melodious brand of roots reggae in line with what was coming out of Jamaica. In the '80s, bassist Tony Gad and drummer Drummie Zeb became in-demand session musicians, backing up other reggae artists on numerous hit records. By the end of that decade, Aswad had taken a more commercial turn, incorporating pop and R&B into their sound to great success. As they inched towards a slicker sound, they became heavily influential to the "conscious" school of dancehall artists who nodded to the roots style. Throughout numerous changes in both style and personnel, Aswad maintained a high international profile into the 2000s.