In 1975, the same year Julian Marley was born in London, England, his father, Bob Marley, and the Wailers released the single Legalize It, which called for the legalisation of marijuana in Jamaica. The song was written by Peter Tosh who also sung lead on the recording.
“Legalise it, don’t criticise it/Legalise it yea-ah-yea-ah/And I will advertise it/Some call it Tamjee/Some call it the weed/Some call it marijuana/Some of them call it ganja, never mind, got to/Legalise it …” said the lyrics of the song that was banned from airplay in Jamaica.
Four decades later, Julian is releasing a single that speaks to the recent decision by the Government to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, potentially creating opportunities for Jamaicans to monetize the herb that Peter Tosh sang about so many years ago as being “good for the flu, good for asthma and good for tuberculosis”.
The single from Bob Marley’s offspring is called Lemme Go and is set for release later this month. Julian, who recently returned from a show in Zurich, Switzerland, said the song, which was produced by his brother, Damian Marley (On the Corner rhythm), was written as if in anticipation of the ‘freeing up’ of the weed.
“It was like while it was happening, it come in like something we feel. It’s like the next week, we heard that they were decriminalising herb in Jamaica, so it just fit right in place,” said Julian.
The song, which Marley believes will be one of the Rastaman’s herb chants, further expounds on the benefits of marijuana. He also expects it to resonate well within communities that are advocates of decriminalizing it.
“It’s been a long time since the Rastaman has been speaking about freeing up the herb, the benefits of the herb, and the goodness of the herb – from food to clothing, to medicinal purposes – so everything coming off that vibration of we feeling that the herb should be free. Colorado free it up, and you find that many other states in the US are freeing it up, so this is the vibration while it’s happening in Jamaica.”
Lemme Go could also eventually find itself on Julian’s latest album, set for release later this year. The album is expected to have about 12 songs that will be pulled from about 20 ideas he is currently working with, he said.
“We’re going to put together a package from those songs, so we’ve been working on quite a few songs to get a feel of the different variety of sounds,” he said. “It’s going to be an upbeat, spiritual album.”
He said the theme of the album, which is yet to be named, will be compassion. “The whole thing is like the world is in need of compassion. We have a song called Compassion, which is about an extremely lonely man who has no family and ends up almost losing his life and then Jah just send a little special person around to provide some good words of advice,” he said. “We have quite a few songs about that kind of social togetherness.”
The album is expected to be out this summer, but a date will be finalized after he discusses it with his siblings and other colleagues to ensure that they achieve the right timing for its release.