So tuned to the beat of Burru drums, the early Rasta lamentations, comprised of mournful dirges of Christian songs, hymns, and psalms from the Psalter, were social, political, and religious commentary on the unfavorable condition of the black Jamaican masses, and of the Rastafarians in particular. As the movement responded to harassment and persecution from the Jamaican public and the “Babylon police” in the 1950s, these lamentations became increasingly militant with a strong revolution and liberation motif. By the 1960s, Rastas had developed an impressive repertoire of musical lamentations adopted to their peculiar method of black revolutionary protest and call for political, social, and economic change in Jamaica. In 1969, The Melodians, comprising Brent Dowe, Tony Brevette, and Trevor McNaughton, sang Psalm 137 in new Rasta voices under the title “Rivers of Babylon.” The song remained local until “Bonnie Em,” singing under the influence of reggae star Bob Marley and the Wailers, did a Cover Disco Version in 1975, which became an immediate hit internationally.

Found in Why the Hebrew Psalms? from Tuning Hebrew Psalms to Reggae Rhythms: Rastas’ Revolutionary Lamentations for Social Change

Source: CrossCurrents, Vol. 50, No. 4, Jewish–Christian Relations (WINTER 2000/2001)

Image source: The Melodians – Rivers of Babylon 7″


01 Roommate ft. General Jah Mikey – Sunup To Sundown
02 Roommate ft. Lutan Fyah – Pon Mi Head
03 Roommate – From The Top
04 Roommate ft. Ras Zacharri – I’m Flying
05 OSC & Dubsworth – Moscow Mule
06 Roommate ft. Robert Dallas – Stir It Dub
07 Roommate, Freytakt & Darkwing Dub – Mt. Zion
08 Roommate & Hellfire Machina – Take Heed
09 Roommate – Montego
10 Roommate ft. Ras Zacharri – Chiwalaleng
11 Roommate ft. Green Fields – Respect Dub
12 Roommate ft. King Mas – Stand
13 OSC vs. DJG – One Mile High
14 Roommate – Summer Dub
15 Roommate & High Kulture – Rosia Montana
16 Roommate – Righteousness
17 Roommate ft. Afrikan Simba – Put Yourself Forward
18 OSC – Hit The Spot
19 Roommate – Judgement Fire
20 Roommate ft. Chezidek – The Place
21 Roommate – Early Dub
22 Roommate Respect Life
23 Roommate, Ras Lion, Darkwing Dub – Blow Away The Wicked
24 Roommate ft. Big Youth – Dub Siren
25 Roommate & Ras Lion – Whole Heart
26 Smilodon – Ivans Sound (Roommate Remix)
27 Babylon System – Dancin’ Shoes
28 OSC – Fallen Angel
29 OSC Zions Gate
30 OSC Fuss n’ Fight
31 Roommate – Heat Wave
32 Roommate – Breaking Babylon
33 Roommate & Illoom ft. Kali Green – Rub Dub Dubbing
34 Roommate ft. Sizzla – Only Jah Knows (Subtle Mind Remix)
35 Roommate – Massive Respect
36 OSC – Evolution
37 Roommate ft. Brother Culture – Living Fire
38 Sizzla – Champion Sound (Roommate Remix)
39 Roommate – Runaway Bay
40 Roommate & Darkwing Dub – Youthman
41 Roommate – Lava
42 Roommate – Yard Times
43 Jovi Rockwell – Mash Me Up (Roommate Remix)
44 Roommate & Ras Lion ft. Kali Green – Wicked Babylon
45 Rocker T – Tru Ganjaman (Roommate Remix)
46 Roommate – Don Don
47 Roommate – Piña Colada
48 Roommate – Acapulco
49 Roommate & Darkwing Dub – Vintage Vibes
50 Roommate, Ras Lion & Darkwing Dub – Anything is Anything


Rastafarians apply the theory of Babylon to Jamaican society as well as to the rest of the world. In Jamaica Babylon encompasses the concerted efforts of various agencies representing the power structure, those who have a stronghold on available resources. One of the most important characteristics of this group is that it excessively emulates Western culture. The culture of the oppressed, consequently, is relegated to a second-class status. Western culture is seen as the measuring rod to demarcate that which is superior. Babylon in this sense entails “part of a world view and cultural perceptions” which degrades anything African. Transcending such perceptions, the Rastafari idealize Africa.
The Rastafarian critique of Babylon transcends Jamaican society and includes denouncing capitalistic systems as well as certain communistic regimes.
Rastafarians refer to these systems as “anancy regimes”, oppressive systems based on shrewdness. International Babylon is represented by the industrialized nations of the world, spearheaded by the United States, as well as key religious institutions such as the Vatican. According to the Rastafari, international Babylon has a long history with a succession of oppressive eras. They note that oppressive regimes such as those of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, British, and Americans have dominated world history. From the Rastafarian perspective, all of these regimes were inspired by the activities of “Nebuchadnezzar, the infamous king of the Biblical Babylon“. It is within this
overall historical context that the Rastafarians explain their experience and ultimate mission, the overcoming of the oppression of Blacks and humanity at large.


Social Movement Endurance: Collective Identity and the Rastafari 

by  Alem Seghed Kebede, Thomas E. Shriver, J. David Knottnerus.

in  Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 70, No. 3, Summer 2000, 313-37