Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Respect - A Big Word in Reggae Music

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I've spoken about this before but reggae allows for expression of topics that are not easily found in other genres. 'Conscious Lyrics' sit comfortably with the music. Reggae was born out of struggle and the voice of the people. There is a feeling that reggae is becoming more popular because it allows this expression and has the 'Conscious' messages that people want to hear. These can be found in reggae music past and present. This is one reason why reggae greats like #BobMarley and #PeterTosh are as popular as ever. It is their message.

As I have mentioned before, Bob Marley especially was a big influence in my musical journey. He seemed to live his lyrics. So, I understood very early that his songs and lyrics were a way of life. They weren't just words, there was a meaning which you had to 'overstand' ( a higher state off understanding) and respect had to be earned before it can be given. 

An early example, and something I am proud of, was how the band I was in with my brothers (The Instigators) progressed. Like a lot of people from my generation, I lived in a household with strict values. When we decided to start a reggae band our father told us if we grew dreadlocks we weren't living under his roof (sounds harsh but that was just how it was). As we progressed and reggae gained in popularity all our peers wanted to look the part and most members had locks.

We decided that we would let out music do the talking and we did get some stick about not having anyone with dreads in the band 'the bands full of baldheads!'  (until Courtney our lead singer came on board).

my photo of courtneymy photo of the instigators

However, over time we gained a reputation for authentic reggae and things changed, having dreadlocks was not so important ( for those that were not Rastafarians) and hairstyles changed. But, what I remember is people then coming up to us and saying you guys didn't 'follow fashion you did your own thing, nuff respect'.That early lesson stayed with and even now as an indie artist and producer it gives me the courage to travel my own road and believe in what I am doing.

Reggae itself, I believe, has not received the respect it desires and because of this I believe a lot of young people have chosen other genres to make their way in the industry. However, in some ways, because of the lack of recognition for the music, reggae has a standing when it comes to messages of peace, love, inequality, equal rights, struggle and war, that is recognized and respected. As these are messages that have been written and sung about since its creation.

So, in a world, where in many places, the word respect seems to have little value, or it is only applied according to specific rules, people are looking for something a bit deeper in their music. Respect has always been a big word in reggae and a fundamental principle for peace. That is why you hear it in the lyrics of many reggae songs.

Respect, it is only one word but it can solve a thousand problems.