On rude reggae

However, rude reggae did not start with the slackness of DJs in the 1980s and later. As Stanley-Niaah notes, Jamaica has a long tradition of rude lyrics dating back to mento, perhaps the first distinctively Jamaican musical genre, in the 1950s. Stanley-Niaah specifically mentions Lloydie and the Lowbites album, Censored, and some tracks by Prince Buster.

The Lloydie and the Lowbites album—the pseudonymous Lloydie was actually the rock steady artist, Lloyd Charmers—was released in 1972 and represents something of a high point in the tradition perhaps influenced by rude reggae’s popularity in Britain among skinheads. Kevin O’Brien Chang and Wayne Chen write that:

Jamaica has a long and honoured tradition of .. . suggestive, sexually-oriented music. Mento, even more than its Trinidadian cousin calypso, was always noted for its earthy themes. Songs such as ‘Mary Ann’ .. . and ‘Big Bamboo’ .. . are still staples on the tourist circuit.

They go on to discuss the importance of rudeness in ska and mention Prince Buster’s 1969 release, ‘Wreck A Pum Pum’ (‘pum pum’ can be translated by the vernacular ‘pussy’) which Buster sang over a version of the Christmas carol, ‘Little Drummer Boy’. A year earlier, Buster had released a ska version of the mento track, ‘Rough Rider’. The album which included it, as well as ‘Wine & Grind’, She Was a Rough Rider, was released in Britain in 1969.

From: Judge Dread, Ska, Rock Steady and Rudeness, found in:

Jon Stratton (2014) Judge Dread: Music Hall Traditionalist or Postcolonial
, Contemporary British History.

Image source: Prince Buster’s All Stars / The Rude Girls ‎– Wreck A Pum Pum / Wreck A Buddy

On eating with Christ

On Friday, March 16, 1934, Leonard Howell and Robert Hinds, founding evangelists of the Rastafari gospel, were in the fourth day of their trial for sedition in a Jamaican court. They were on trial because they promoted a message that threatened Jamaica’s colonial status quo: Black Jamaicans should transfer their loyalty from Britain’s King George V to King Ras Tafari of Ethiopia. They preached that King Ras Tafari was Christ returned to redeem Black people and to inaugurate a new and just order.

Jamaica’s national newspaper, the Daily Gleaner, which covered the trial, reported that “Howell said that it was prophesied that in the days of the kings of the earth, Jehovah would raise up a king with a righteous government . . . that Christ would return to earth as the Messiah, in the flesh; and that they would be able to see Him, and touch Him,
and eat with HIM.”

Found in:
The Cultural Production of a Black Messiah: Ethiopianism and the Rastafari
by Charles Price, from:
Journal of Africana Religions, Volume 2, Number 3, 2014, pp. 418-433

Art source: Christ ‘Pantocrator’

The Trustees of the British Museum, Museum number 1998,0605.34.