Since the death of Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley, many reggae artistes have come and gone and none has been able to match Bob Marley’s roots-rock reggae. In this piece, ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM and SAMUEL ABULUDE look at what may have relegated this genre of music to the background.
Before America met Bob Marley, reggae was merely “novelty music.” Criticism in the U.S. focused on how it was “crude, cheap, not to be taken seriously on any level.” It had no tune or any “good words (and you couldn’t understand them if it did).” Yet, after hearing Marley’s early hits songs— like his inspiring Get Up, Stand Up and I Shot The Sheriff, a subtle critique of global police brutality — America grew to love the genre’s feel and insights.
Bob Marley’s kind of reggae music is called Roots Rock Reggae, the original reggae music from its roots. After his death, his children have been some of the most active artistes in continuing roots reggae’s simultaneously joyful and politicised sound. His sons released a new compilation Set Up Shop Vol. 2 through their record label Ghetto Youths International featuring music from the brothers and the label’s other acts.