This post is a continuation of my “favorite songs” series and features my favorite Reggae songs. When I say “Reggae” I’m using a very loose definition here. Bands like Sublime and The Slackers are on here but I realize they are more rock or ska than traditional Reggae. For me though, Reggae music is more of a feeling than a traditional genre. Each of these songs has a vibe that personally affects me in some way. Check out the playlist and my write-up below…
Playlist for the week of September 30, 2019:
- 54-46 was my Number by Toots and the Maytals: I’ve written about my love of Toots and the Maytals with my Funky Kingston “retroactive” post before… but this is a track that’s not on that album and it might actually be my favorite by them. It’s defiant, it’s funky and the backstory is even better. It describes Toots’ time in prison for a marijuana arrest and it also ended up being the song that got Toots and the Maytals on the national scene. For me personally, it’s a song imbues confidence within me. Screaming out the lyrics with Toots while driving in a car is an experience like none other.
- Three Little Birds by Bob Marley: So many Bob songs could have been put on this playlist but I chose this one for a very specific reason. When I was a kid, my Grandma and Grandpa rented a beach house in Newport Beach every summer from which some of my favorite memories come from. One of my fondest memories is waking up in the morning to my Grandma cleaning up the house and blasting this song on her little boombox. She would turn the volume up all the way so we could hear it in every room and even down on the boardwalk. Basically, if you weren’t up yet, that was the signal that you should get your ass up. Even now hearing this song, I get those same warm feelings of my Grandma and I remember everything about those moments. From the sandy floor, to the s’mores pop tart breakfast, to the cool breeze wafting through the open windows. All while my Grandma was singing and enjoying this song.
- Legalize It by Peter Tosh: Peter Tosh is a guy I came to love later in life. Once I got to college and I formed certain habits, I realized how great Reggae paired with some of those habits was. Wake and baking in the morning and throwing this song on before I went about my day always got me in a great mood. I’d get to listen to music all day while I did my on-campus job of delivering mail and more often than not, Peter Tosh and Reggae music were at the top of my playlist.
- Badfish by Sublime: I’m a Southern California boy, born and bred. Sublime is in my blood. As far back as I can remember, I heard Sublime playing on every radio station, cousin’s walkman or passing car while I grew up. I learned to love their sound and I learned to love the blend of genres that they implemented. For me, Sublime is what set the stage for my love of Reggae music later in life and without them, who knows if I ever would have delved into the like of Toots or Peter Tosh. I chose Badfish because it’s the quintessential SoCal song and I love listening to it.
- One More by Jimmy Cliff: Jimmy Cliff is another artist I discovered during my college Reggae exploration phase. This song has stuck with me throughout the years and I even have it in my basketball pre-game mix. This song gives me so much self-confidence and Cliff’s voice makes me feel like I can run through a fucking wall. Lines like “I got one more bullet in my gun// And I won’t run// Till the deal is done” gives me so much positive energy that I can channel into working out or annihilating an opponent in basketball. All done with a smile on my face.
- Here I Am by SOJA and Rebelution: Big shout out to the homie Brian Lim for introducing these two bands to me. In high school, B-Lim was the one who knew when and where all the shows were happening. Often times, he would drag me along with him. SOJA’s live show was unlike anything I’d ever seen at the time. It was like a religious experience. Every single person sang the words and the music moved and vibrated through the crowd so that we all felt like one cohesive unit. This is another track that gives me an immense feeling of confidence and positive energy when I listen to it.
- Rude & Wreckless by The Slackers: Shouts out to B-Lim once again for this band. I’ve been listening to these guys pretty regularly since high school but it wasn’t until a show about a year ago when it really hit me how much I liked these guys. B-Lim and I saw them play their whole “Redlight” album all the way through and it was a tremendous experience. Hearing them close with this track was triumphant and powerful and this song speaks to me on multiple levels. “And learn to be rude and reckless// Don’t make a fuss// You have to be rude and reckless// Do as you must// You have to be hard and callous// In your heart and your hands// Learn to be rude and reckless// It’d make you a man”….