The truth about Bob Marley being king of reggae.

Bob Marley
Bob Marley

The following was written by Alex Mathews and is in response to: Reggae was born and died with Bob Marley.

Desmond Dekker made reggae international on a worldwide stage and blazed a path for “all” the rest to follow. In the 1960s this Dekker and Prince Buster were the “only” two internationally acknowledged ska and reggae artist in the world. Both had numerous hits and high profiles. Their achievements should not and cannot be underestimated; the results of it were reggae’s resultant triumphs in the 1970s & beyond.

Both Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster are revered in England especially by the original Skinheads and two tone rude boys & the mods. Their hard work & endeavors created the platform for all reggae artists who followed them to achieve global success.

Bob Marley was just another artist in reggae when he was involved in a parochial reggae scene. Until of course a wealthy Chris Blackwell took him under his corporate wings and sold him to a white audience, diluting Rastafari and the teachings of Marcus Garvey, all for the sake of commercial gains. Of course, before all of this, Chris Blackwell had to convince him to abandon his Black brothers in Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Once Bob Marley saw that he could make a lot more money from a white audience, the man who sang, “This is Black man redemption” and “Am a survivor, a Black survivor” changed his tone to, “I don’t dip for the Black man or the white man, I dip for God.” A venerable ethos in a perfect world but not in reality. What Bob Marley did in this change of stance, was a classic example of; where you sit is where you stand. In the ghettos of Trench Town, he was with the Black man or pretended to be with the Black man but in the search for maximum financial gain from a white audience, he sold them out in a second.

The least Bob Marley could do is ‘dip’ for the BLACK MAN because EVERYTHING he had and became successful with, was created by and belonged to the BLACK MAN. But don’t expect gratitude! Certain whites with an agenda seem to have a habit of colonizing & anointing Black art forms with false ‘KINGS’ and ‘QUEENS’.

For example: Bix Biederbeckie king of Dixieland jazz, Benny Goodman the king of swing, Woody Guthrie king of folk blues, Chet Barker king of Be Bop, Peggy Lee queen of jazz singing, Frank Sinatra the king of jazz singers, Elvis Presley the king of Rock n Roll, The Beatles kings of rock, Eminem the king of Rap.

The only constant here is that they are all white interlopers in Black art forms that have superior practitioners in every field. In the 70s, there were not “good white” reggae artist to attribute the kingship to, Matisyahu wasn’t around then, Bob Marley was the closest to white that they could find.

Bob Marley is a continuation of this odious practice by the white media to rush to white! So as to deny credit to the original Black creators. A biracial person is given credence that is undeserved to feed a particular white racist agenda.

NO! Reggae music did NOT die with Bob Marley, just another useless, desperate white totem.

Comments

comments

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 23,097 other subscribers

21 Comments

  1. Reggae was not born with Bob Marley nor did it die with him. That said, the notion that his popularity was predicated by his mixed heritage is ludicrous and offensive. First, the Wailers was one of the greatest rhythm sections in or out of Reggae. Bob’s vocals and lyrics blended with those rhythms better than any artist before or after. The message in his music still has significance in this time. He had no control over his lineage and he was rejected by his ‘white’ side. Now, I didn’t know the man personally and I presume that neither did you. However, all I’ve heard & read – extensively – indicates he was an extremely generous & conscious person. If success is a measure of a person’s lack of commitment to their art then I find that notion rediculous. His success was what took this music to the world and in his absence it has given the world a reference point to become indoctrinated and subsequently discover that which otherwise they might not have. To deny him the crown is to hate on a man who did so much to help the world understand black issues and more importantly gave people a message of peace and love. From Desmond Dekker to Chronixx there have been scores of great Reggae artists but to deny that Bob Marley paved the way for all those that came after him is purely a lack of awareness around his overwhelming importance. So ok, you got a rise out of, at least this Reggae fan but if you even dream that Bob isn’t the king, you need to wake up and apologize!

  2. You don’t have a clue about that which you speak of. Yes, Marley had a large Anglo audience(too). He is famous all over the world, particularly in Africa. It is so easy to denigrate a person who has had, and continues to have a profound effect on the music world 30+ years later. Bob did not strive to accumulate wealth and was very verbal about that subject. All of this money that he supposedly sold out his Black brethren for, where did he exhibit it. Always there will be detractors like you that try to skew the facts to prop up your particular point of view. How many of the other artists that you attribute the title of the true “kings of reggae” are still enjoying the immense popularity of Marley’s music. Please tell us.

    • Oh my goodness. The post is simply refuting the claim that Reggae music was born and died with Bob Marley and you have a problem with that? Really?

      • You insinuate that Bob sold out for money, which is untrue. Money was not that important to Bob. His music was always about redemption and the political ills of society(roots music). Most of what is passed off as Reggae today is not “message music”. The reason Reggae is still popular today is because of Bob’s music. Dancehall, ragga and the spinoffs are not Reggae. I lived in Jamaica when Ska was the music that eventually morphed into Rock Steady. Reggae was derived from that music. Bob was a big ska personality before Reggae and, in my opinion, brought Reggae to the world. He had predicted that his music would never die, and I think that he is right. You must “Simmer down” when you try to detract from his contribution to Reggae music.

    • Where do they find these marley ‘sycophants’? You ‘lick-spittles cannot find one ‘credible’ argument to back up your ridiculous claims for him, except for the tired old cliches “he was famous & Africans like him? Is that your best? Get real, he was a product of the ‘White Media’ & he was sold like any other Mass Media product ‘ad-nausea’! Now in 2015 you can’t even question this ‘Assertion’ Marley never called himself the ‘king of reggae’ or anything else, & he would be embarrassed by this ‘Nonsense’.but obviously you people have some personal reason for Peddling this Crap! If you want to believe it that’s your perogotive, each to thier own, but where do you people get off trying to Force everybody else to Accept this claptrap! Will your whole world collapse because Bob Marley is NOT the king of reggae just another artist in the genre. All those Euro/Anglo Fans would’nt be able to cite him as an ‘Honoury White’ every time they want to use the ‘Race Card’! There is NO ‘ kingship’ in reggae, but if there was everyone of those Great reggae artist who were marginalised, should of been given a ‘Level playing field’ to compete for the ‘title’! The White Racist western media was only ever going to promote one individual to the exclusion of everyone else! From Burning Spear, Keith Hudson, junior byles, Lynval Thompson, Dennis brown, Liitle Roy, Bim Sherman, Bob Andy, Horace Andy, etc,etc the list is endless, an abundance of Magnificent talent who’s influence & impact is immeasurable! & achieved without the White media’s BS! & if you even Think that a black artist ain’t the ‘King’ of reggae, you better get down on your knees & Beg for Forgiveness!

      • I tend to choose to debate with people who at least know how to spell the big words they try to use. Prerogative is the correct way to spell the word that you are trying to impress someone with. Google Reggae and see whose name comes to the forefront. Bob Marley was famous before Reggae, for your information. His impact on the Reggae genre is immeasurable and whether or not someone deems him the “king of Reggae” is irrelevant. To say he was a sellout is clown talk. Once he started singing Reggae, he never tried to crossover and he did not try to amass great wealth. Google Bob Marley’s quote on his “riches” and you will get the picture. Whether or not Europeans promoted his music to make more money or not, his message remained the same. Of course, there were others like Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru and others, but whose music is still dominating the Reggae charts. Back your argument with some facts that show that he is not the dominant Reggae superstar, even in death, to prove your point. Most of his detractors are probably racist conservatives that didn’t like his message and, therefore, make a lot of noise like the empty kerosene tins that they are.

  3. Whoever writes those ideotic racist articles , needs to get his head out of his asshole, and realize the there is more in this word than blacks and whites.
    Bob Marley is a symbol of hope and resistance to oppressed people all over the Fricking globe more than any other artist ever .
    Cut the bullshit .

  4. Your Article is full of hate .. Actually you could say people like the MIGHTY SPARROW were the first to RAP and all the NY rappers are just full of shit but that would not be true either. We all respect Prince Buster and Desmond but the ONE DROP ROOTS BEAT WAS first played by Carly .. many great musicians made contributions to the overall groove we know as the Wailers. Peter left because he hated the cold weather in England and didn’t want to play second fiddle to BOB, Bunny didn’t want to leave Jamaca to tour again so
    they say. Non of us are perfect but Bob has done some great work regardless of who made money out of it Bob have away a lot of money to help fellow Jamacans and was much loved by millions of people from many ethnic backgrounds who were not Rastas ..QUESTION .. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ?

    • Wow! You guys are amazing and unbelievable. You did see that the post was in response to a white person who said reggae music was born with Bob Marley and died with Bob Marley right? I find it funny that all you hypocrites have nothing to say about the post that lead to this post in the first place. Yet you are quick to criticize this one. The fact is, like it or not, this post is closer to the fact than the one that said “Reggae music was born and died with Bob Marley”

  5. To me Bob never sold out or diluted his music. After going to England he still came back & recorded massive Concious roots music.

  6. The Marley quote you’re referring to actually says “Me don’t deh ‘pon”, not “me don’t dip on”. This is often misquoted because most Americans don’t understand the linguistics of Jamaican patois. That quote comes from an interview with Karl Dallas in 1975, the day after the Wailers played at the Lyceum in London. “Survival” was released four years later… he was becoming more outspoken about his African identity as time went on. The other song referenced here, “Blackman Redemption”, comes from the posthumously-released “Confrontation” album and reflects where Bob was at near the end of his life. In a 1980 interview with Gil Noble, he talks at length in no uncertain terms about his identity as a black man and even says “All wisdom come from the black man”. He was also a huge inspiration and a symbol to the people of Zimbabwe as they gained their independence from Britain in 1980. Calling a man who inspired thousands, if not millions, of people from the African diaspora to embrace the significance, the strength, the integrity, and the contributions of their people “just another useless, desperate white totem” is so ignorant and hateful as to be laughable. Educate yourself about the man before you attempt to tear him down.

    • Jay, this a great and educated response bro. I hope you understand that this post was written by a viewer and it is in response to another reader posting that Reggae music was born with Bob Marley and died with Bob Marley. Whenever someone posts something that is interesting whether we agree with it or not, we make it into a post. Just like your comment will now become a post. I never saw that Gil Noble interview until you mentioned it and I have goose bumps all over right now. I am glad I got to see it on Bob’s birthday. Feel free to come back and share more knowledge bro. Knowledge begins with humbleness.

  7. Proper propaganda FULLSTOP. You don’t know nothing about reggae, reggae is not pop music it has got no leader,no star no competation it is peoples music like people walking earth rythm and I see no colour on Bob i fully identify and his music talks to everyone in the struggle black,white, yellow you name it.

  8. Bob Marley worked very hard in his lifetime to promote brotherhood, togetherness and love among all races of the world through his music. He was one of the true and ardent student of Marcus Garvey. He helped immensely in to export the good philosophies of Marcus Garvey and message of Haile Selasie. This is exact reason that has put him well ahead of others including Desmond Dekker. It was a message of life full of truth and honesty.
    True Son of the soil who has done his bit. For me he is in the same heights to that of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Malcom X, Mahatma Ghandi etc. These are true black leaders that helped to emancipate black people. Immediately after Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley follow as the second greatest exponent from Jamaica. His music is about hope and inspiration especially to the poor regardless of the race. and . Give Cesar what is due to Cesar. I found the article posted above as one of trash without real substance seeking to tarnish the hard work of Great reggae legend, Robert OM Marley.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.