Raggae music makes modern day resurgence

When one thinks of the word “reggae,” the most common thoughts would be Bob Marley, Jamaica, and the Rastafarian colors black, green, yellow and red. However, reggae music today is tearing down these cliches by encompassing a variety of styles to appeal to a wider audience of listeners.

“I think that reggae music is coming back into popularity because it is so easy to listen to,” senior Cameron Gulledge said. “Also, when friends share it with their friends, a domino effect occurs, and tons of people end up enjoying a new reggae band.”

The essential element of reggae music focuses on accented guitar or keyboard chords on beats two and four in each bar and a drum hit on beat three.

“Reggae music is so chill and relaxing and puts you in a great mood,” senior Gunter Jones said. “It is a lackadaisical and carefree genre that is so diverse from different styles including roots, dance-hall, reggae-rap, ska and rock-steady.”

The diversity among today’s popular reggae bands has been a key element in the rise of the genre. For example, Savannah, Ga., band Passafire employs a southern-rock flare into their reggae music with ripping guitar riffs from lead singer and guitarist Ted Bowne. On the other hand, Oakland, Ca., band The Holdup mixes a variety of styles including pop, rap and electronic to create their unique sound.

“For me, its the variety of the genre that I like the most. No two reggae artists are the same. I can change things up and never get sick of any reggae band or artist while still listening to reggae,” Gulledge said. “Also, I think reggae music involves true talent unlike many popular artists people listen to today. Reggae music for me never gets outdated like the kind of music you hear on Mix 93.3 or 95.7. Give those songs a month and nobody will care about them anymore.”

Although typical reggae hot spot California claims reggae bands including Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid, more and more reggae bands have been popping up all over the United States. Hawaii has bred some of the most popular, including Pepper, Iration and The Green, while the east coast plays host to popular bands such as Passafire, SOJA and The Movement.

This rise of reggae bands across the continent has no doubt played a significant role in the growth of reggae music popularity over the last few years. However, the real success lies in the music itself.

“Reggae music just has great vibes and is great to jam out to. I just love the ‘skankin’,” Jones said.

Whether or not the genre continues to thrive, the music created by today’s reggae artists will live on in the hearts of many for years to come.

“The first time I remember listening to reggae music was when I was in the car with my mom, who is a huge Bob Marley fan, and she had the album ‘Legend’ in her car, and the first song that she played was ‘No Woman No Cry,’ and at first I didn’t click with it, but through the years Drue Eymann has really opened my world of reggae and ever since then it is has been like my favorite toy which can never be replaced,” senior Patrick Male said.