Natty Dread Learns to Rap

Rastas and b-boys find common ground in Marley's legacy

Rastas and b-boys alike look for common ground within the legacy of Bob Marley's music
Adrian Boot
Rastas and b-boys alike look for common ground within the legacy of Bob Marley's music

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Saturday, February 12. Among the performers at the daylong event are Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Damian Marley, Julian Marley, Erykah Badu, Jimmy Cliff, and Lauryn Hill. Gates open at noon. Tickets cost $25. For more information call 305-665-5379.
Bicentennial Park.

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No one would celebrate a hip-hop-dancehall connection more wholeheartedly than Bob, a universal thinker who wrote and sang "Punky Reggae Party" in 1977 to underscore the brotherhood of righteous rage that linked British punks with Caribbean Rastas. On the other hand, no one would lament more how that legacy contributes to the floundering of so many emerging roots-style reggae artists. Because Bob still stands as the platinum standard by which all reggae hopefuls are judged, his example continues to spawn countless dreadlocks-tossing, forehead-clutching clones who warble Jah's praises and predict Babylon's downfall ad nauseum. Literal-minded Bobishness fails because it misses the point: Bob's willingness to reach inside and retrieve elements of the nakedly personal that hit with the breath-stealing impact of the universal. Whether bigging up the international sufferah, praising The Father, pledging rootical love to a woman, or relating vivid anecdotes drawn from ghetto life, Bob -- much like hip-hop's finest -- always kept it real.

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