German reggae singer Gentleman (born Tilmann Otto) fell in love with Jamaican music when he first visited the island at the age of 17. He had already heard and appreciated the sounds of Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley, but when he heard more contemporary artists like Sizzla and Anthony B., it made him realize that roots-flavored reggae was still alive and well, and all he had to do was bring the good word back to Germany. In 1997 he got his chance when the German hip-hop group Freundeskreis asked him to lend his singjay skills to their track "Tabula Rasa." A series of solo singles led to his 1999 debut, Trodin On. The album was a mix of dancehall and hip-hop with Gentleman singing in English and Jamaican patois. It was an important release and laid the foundation for what would eventually be dubbed the "Germaican" movement, but it failed to make an international impression.