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Why Are There So Few Reggae fans Among the Rock Audience?


Guest Len B'stard

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Guest Len B'stard

It's something i've never understood. Reggae permeates the history of popular music and yet, among rock fans you'd think there weren't no such genre, just Bob Marley.

As far back as the 50s when early rock n roll was kicking off in London you had Calypso playing in certain trendy London clubs in the same way that Jazz and Blues was...then in the 60s when the mod thing was kicking off you had like, Ska, Ska was a HUGE thing, especially amongst the skinheads of the 60s...then of course the big boom with Bob Marley and all that, highest point of exposure with all your Rolling Stonses and Eric Claptons dipping their toe in the water...and then the Punk/Dub connection, reggae was a HUGE part of the punk thing...and so influential to it in so many ways...then you had like, the 80s SKA revival with The Specials and Madness and Bad Manners and all that. And hip hop, hip hop basically is dub reggae, every single element of hip hop can be traced back to reggae, Dub Reggae consists of stripping down an instrumental and doing other lyrics over it, how different is that from mixing two seperate instrumentals and some bloke rapping over it? In fact, rapping more or less is toasting, which is what reggae DJs did at sound system parties, just rap words over the instrumental and make em rhyme loosely. The first DJ, Kool Herc, to take two discs and mix em together and a block party in NYC, the Father of Hip Hop, was a Jamaican DJ. Hip Hop IS more or less an offshoot of reggae.

And then like...Dancehall, Jungle, Drum n Bass...or the Ragga boom through the 80s...and even more contemporary stuff like Grime and loads of the UK Garage stuff.

And despite all of this, despite reggae or Jamaican music figuring in almost every major aspect of popular music since the 50s, it might as well be an unknown genre for all the awareness people have of it. Like, Bob Marley, thats about it. I don't understand why that is, why is that? It seems to be a genre that is raped and pillaged for ideas but never given any credit.

Edited by sugaraylen
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Guest Len B'stard

Because reggae sounds awful.

You would say that white man, you ain't got no rhythm :lol: This is why all you Scandanavian types like music thats downstrummed on Ibanezs with some prat dressed in black wailing something about Satan over a guitar sound that can only be described as sounding like a faulty food mixer :lol:

But no, joking aside, OK, if that was true and it does sound awful, i'm sure many would agree with you, it don't really follow because otherwise nicking elements of it or nicking from it wholesale wouldn't be much good.

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Guest Satanisk_Slakt

I don't know. I personally never saw the appeal in it. I think it's really boring to listen to. All of it sounds the same too.

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I don't think its all bad, the bass line is usually the focal point but for the most part it all sounds the same to me. Seems like it always has the same meter and there can't be more than like 3 or 4 chord progressions in the whole genre...

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Back in the day, most of the reggae songs were done by bands, but it's like asking a metalhead why he doesn't like going to dance clubs. The reggae genre did little to evolve with live bands, it's all about who's on the mic.

But - the last "movement" where rock and reggae met was prob. Sublime & No Doubt. You had a lot of wannabes, soundalikes, and one hit wonders, but I just think people got tired of it really fast, and No Doubt went from being a straight ska band and started doing a little of everything.

Surprised you didn't mention reggaeton, because that's the biggest offshoot of reggae out there.

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Guest Len B'stard
Surprised you didn't mention reggaeton, because that's the biggest offshoot of reggae out there.

I'm suprised i didnt mention reggaeton. Thats like an entire genre their based upon the rhythm of one song by Shabba, pretty fuckin impressive. It's a big thing more round Americaways than over here cuz we ain't got that many Latinos so you hear about less of it. As it happens my birds from around them ways so i know a bit more than maybe your average person on the street about it. Plus i have a huge interest in music so, y'know, Playero, Daddy Yankee, Divino etc, i'm aware of em :)

To really dig reggae though you kinda need to....de-educate yourself from typical rock structure. Also its music that you need a decent system to listen to and since we're in the age where no one gives a shit about quality, it don't really translate as well to CD or MP3. Reggae on viynl on a proper system...in fact on a sound system, reggae demands to be listened to in that way, with bass that makes your ball-bags buzz..

Reggaes simple to play, a fuckin' bastard to play well...it's so sparse so you really gotta have the rhythm in your bones or you'll be trippin' all the way home. I'm turning this into the reggae jukebox thread, it's summertimeee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HZ04FPK0S8

Turn it waaaaay up :D

Edited by sugaraylen
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Guest Len B'stard

In further response to your post Dalsh, you mentioned that it's like asking a rock fan why he don't like dance, dance and rock are relatively far removed but Reggae is basically music that came about from black jamaicans immitating black sort of...Motown and Blues stuff and "doing it wrong", the reggae rhythm, that on the offbeat stuff, thats basically the fundamental difference between rock and reggae...which isn't much if you think about it. I suppose a big difference would be the reggae boys had a clearer idea of where they wanted to go with experimentation.

I think thats the fundamental difference between rock and reggae is that reggae evolved whereas rock doesn't or didn't and the reason for that is, in my opinion, rock goes about experimentation the wrong way. Rock experiments by adding shit to the form, like...y'know, the best description i can come up with is like decoration of a kind, shit laid on top and that kind of experimentation never really hangs in there in terms of creating like, a substancial sub-genre. Whereas when reggae experiments they do so by stripping music down to it's elements and messing with that, so it's kinda like creating a new foundation, rock never does that, rock never fucks with it's foundations for some odd reason. This is why revolutions in rock are things like punk, which kind of went the way reggae music did with it's stripping down and then restructuring. Probably why punk and reggae had this kind of psychic affinity cuz they were kinda doing the same things.

Rock will like, take structure and add stuff, pheriphery, like effects...or lengthen a particular element like, i dunno, huge long solos...an reggae innovation is stripping the music down to it's bare essentials, like dub and messing with the core rhythm stucture of it.

Rock either ain't bold enough or the people in it ain't got the suss to fuck with it properly. The rock end seem to put a lot more importance into the structure, rock is very precious about all that stuff...probably why it's so fuckin' stale. The reggae bunch were like mad alchemists, people like Lee Perry and King Tubby and Joe Gibb, just fucking geniuses.

Edited by sugaraylen
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Maybe it's bcos Marley made it more of political thing. So people shy away from it. There isn't the ponce factor of jazz. No smooth reggae.

Didn't The Specials, Madness, UB40 take some reggae. Maybe even The Clash.

UB40 seem to take mainstream but not sure who listens to that.

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