I was watching “When the Levees broke” on HBO with the now imprisoned former New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin. He stated that, when he started telling the truth about Katrina and the reason for the Governments slow reaction, he was actually afraid that the CIA might come and get him, inject him with something and in a few weeks he would be dead. When I heard that, I thought to myself, “is he serious”? As I began to think about whether or not Ray Nagin was just being paranoid, I remembered Yasser Arafat. He was the Palestinian PLO leader who suddenly got a mysterious illness and was dead a few days later. Then as I thought of what Ray Nagin said, I thought of Yasser Arafat and couldn’t help but to think of Bob Marley.
For the most part, it has been accepted that Bob Marley died of cancer. However, in the reggae and Rastafarian community there have always been a lingering doubt. I remember as a child my father used to always play Papa Biggy’s music (Papa Biggy is a reggae/dancehall artist who was around way before the late Big Poppa aka Biggy). Papa Biggy had a song called the Exploitation of Black people where he chanted:
Under Martin Luther King dem fling gunshot
Dem throw Marcus Garvey in prison to keep him quiet
Dem catch Bob Marley in a medical trap
Pappa Biggy is not alone in this line of thinking. It has been said that Bob Marley received a pair of boots as a gift, but the boot was rigged with a needle that injected poison into his toes. It is also believed that the doctors that were supposed to treat this illness were actually injecting more poison into him. The doubt of exactly how Bob died was further echoed by Sizzla Kalonji in Praise ye Jah:
A nuh Malcolm X or Martin Luther dis
A Sizzla wha come fi trick all a yu tricks
I see Bob Marley rise and unu kill the prophet
Reggae artists are not the only ones who voiced their suspect for Babylon, but Lauren Hill also rapped:
And the fuzz treats bros like their manhood never was
And if youre too powerful, you get bugged like Peter Tosh and Marley was
I have been told by elders in the Rasta community that not only was Redemption song the last song on Bob Marleys last album, but it was the last song he performed for an audience. This is the song in which Bob asked:
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?