I don’t really like reggae, I don’t listen to reggae and the only reggae songs you can find on my phone would be Affairs of the heart by Damian Marley, who knows by Protoje, where I am from by Chronixx and I sometimes listen to Haile Roots and Eyob Mekonnen. Those are the songs I accidentally listened to at some point and found myself downloading afterward, and I am sure if I give it a chance that I will find many but let’s say it’s just not where my heart is. I have come all way to this age listening to rap, rock n’ roll and some hippie songs occasionally on one of those “I am sad and I want a song that would address that while making me move” moments (songs with good beats and deep lyrics). Otherwise, the closest I got to listening to reggae was when whey they do reggae covers of some famous songs like Adel’s Hello and many others. So, nothing has changed, I still don’t consciously listen to reggae but let me tell you what is undeniably different about it:
When I listen to rap, mostly Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B, Eminem and so, it’s because I am a lyrical person, I am more into the lyrics to the point that I wouldn’t mind if they go slam poetry through a whole album. The effect it has on me is that whenever I am listening to, let’s say “Real” by Kendrick, I get the urge to stand before some people of my past and narrate those words to them. Whenever I listen to rap everything stops being about me, I mean it speaks my mind past my mind and I start thinking out loud as if the lyric to the song is a letter written on my behalf that I must read out loud while pointing fingers to whomever it may concern. And Rock, Rock n’ Roll too, have the same effect but instead of giving me the urge to open up it just makes me not care about the same matter. It can be right in front of me and I could, not act but believe that it’s not there. So do you see the connection between the two genres? And then there are songs having both like most of Linkin Park’s old songs, Rap and Rock together, I remember whenever I listened to “Catalyst” I used to go to some utopia grounds where issues were addressed and yet the people couldn’t care any less. So rap for me is a way of addressing matters, denouncing the forged, being bold and speaking the mind beyond self. Same goes for their performances. Well, I was never fortunate enough to attend a live performance of those I mentioned but I have been at some Rock mini concert and I can say they were performing to the people. Well now, that is a good thing and they are performers but after attending a house live performance at a casual lunch program at the villa Verde restaurant by Sydney Solomon along The Imperial Majestic Band, I couldn’t help but wonder, would they have performed as crazily as they were performing in front of hundreds of people the same way for a couple of people in a room? Again I have this huge admiration for Kendrick and I have seen lots of interviews and performances by him, I was lured by his work because of his ways of addressing everything I wish I could say unapologetically and his way of reaching out. So on every performance of his, he’s bold, he makes damn sure the people get what he’s there for.
The Imperial majestic band and Sydney Solomon, let’s say the turning point of my perspective towards reggae, I was there to attend an event, so after the event, they were to perform some songs. That’s it right there, they were “To perform”, Performance means “an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment” But that’s not what I saw, by the time me and my friend got in the room, they have already started and there were only a few people there as the buffet was outside of that room, so we got there and Sydney and this lady I now feel damned that I didn’t get her name, were, okay I won’t say performing so let’s give it a name and say they were harmonizing their environment, their purpose, and their audience. I don’t think they would have even noticed if they were alone, they had their eyes closed, the lady had this beautiful smile and so did he, they were not trying to reach out to anyone nor were they bold, instead they had this absolute tranquility an out looker would want to reach out for and join the movement, whatever it may be about. They were doing it for themselves and that by itself invited many others in that exact state of “beingness” they were at. So that’s what I love about reggae, it’s a state of absolute absence to where you do not want to be present, it’s a passion reserved just for one’s own time, it’s a community of oneself alone, it’s opening up without having to go out, it’s a break when you don’t want to confront anything at the same time coming to a solution for it. Again, I didn’t go running to listen to any reggae song right away nor do I have the desire to, maybe because I need the confrontation and still have the urge to say much more before the faces of many with wide open eyes but I will not deny the fact that it is some profound state, a moment of absoluteness.