What is Authentic Reggae?

Bob Marley and Matiyahu
Bob Marley and Matiyahu

As the Jamaican Government and Reggae music insiders finalize plans to start giving reggae music a stamp of approval with the “Authentic Reggae” label, one has to start asking: How will they decide what is and what is not authentic reggae?

Will the authentic reggae stamp be reserved for only reggae music that is coming out of Jamaica? Or will it be for Jamaicans based anywhere in the world? What if you are not Jamaicans, does that mean that your music cannot be labeled as authentic reggae? That is where things could get sticky? Because if that is the case, then music from living legends like Steel Pulse who are based out of the United Kingdom would not be able to get the authentic reggae stamp. What about someone like the late great Lucky Dube out of South Africa? If the root of reggae is the African drums, then how dare someone to say that reggae out of Jamaica is authentic but not reggae out of Africa. That would be like accepting the calf but rejecting the cow.

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On the other side of the coin, will all reggae music coming out of Jamaica be labeled as authentic reggae? What about some of the music we hear where Jamaican who label themselves as reggae producers are trying desperately to cross- over to the pop market and we hear the pop influence in the music; can they get the authentic “reggae stamp” just because they are out of Jamaica?

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While it is true that Jamaica needs to realize more financial benefit from reggae music, simply labeling music with an “authentic reggae” stamp might not be the right route.
This is Part 1 of what will be a series: Check back Tomorrow as we share what we think will be a good way great way for Jamaica to increase Reggae Revenue.



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