Some Jamaicans are just too brilliant to be labeled “wagonists,” but until such time that there is an appropriate label for them, we shall call them conformists. These are people who do not push the boundaries of life. They enjoy a staid existence until they arrive at a point in life which we will call their sweet spot, if you may, where they become locked into a mental feel good space that leaves them rebuking or evasive of anything new or different. This mentality leads to one of mimicry and reproduction; it’s the malaise of neocolonial personality, its basis is a result of settling on events of the past as golden age, rather than a gaze to the future with a trans-formative consciousness that the authentic self is the reservoir of artistic and transformational production. Artistic creation is always a project of social construction and transformation that moves beyond citation and hybridity. The artistic personality must have historical awareness, yet cannot be trapped in history, but rather, must make history a part of the process of artistic creation and transformation. Those who seek to articulate artistic creativity as a process of paying homage to history and mimicry are elites who seek to standardize and control. It all signals retirement which comes with that feeling of having lived a full life, yet it is the junction of the road which separates current consciousness from reminiscing. These citizens are dangerous to youth, youthfulness, development and continuing evolution, as the lack of need for moving on and getting more out of life obliterates for them, the fact that each man is an individual with a God given talent that is uniquely his, and that only they, the individuals, can hear or heed this call to bring form or voice to this innate gift.
The life and purpose of such gifted individuals seem to arise from preordained locations, which serve to feed the soul and issue the experience necessary for pulling from such culture, that which allows formative experiences to give root to the growth of such talent, even before it is known by the artists themselves. This is true for all forms of outstanding creativity.
Some of the more learned supporters of this fraternity along with other regular entertainers and managers seem lost on this aspect of spiritual discovery, in reality. Their fear of losing that which had sprouted an esteemed, blistering presentation and acclaim in the past, which in itself came through revolutionized growth, brings them to a dead halt because it becomes the measure for the standard which they believe must be maintained in continuum. As a result, any effort to move forward drives fear of losing the essence of the genre, which, in their mind, will effectively dilute the indigenous rhythm and result. These measures are used to discourage growth.
Bob sang these words poignantly in “Could you be love?”
Don’t let them fool yuh
Or even try to school yuh
We’ve got a mind of our own, so go to hell if what you’re thinking is not right
The love would never leave us alone
I am the darkness that must come out to light
It has been said, that Bob’s phenomenal success is largely attributed to not accepting the dictates of anyone. He wrote songs that continue to speak to the plight of the downtrodden with lyrics pulled from personal experience and he added musical backing that came from his soul. He no doubt pulled from the chanting rhythms of the congo drums with its carryover influence from Quadrille, Pocomania, Merengue, Mento, Calypso, Niabingi, a blend of R&B and Jazz (which the Skatalites gave a new spin), Rock Steady (which was in part a result of the Alpha Reformatory School’s training of many of the latter day musicians). The combination of these rhythms gave birth to Ska and Rock Steady and the now traditional Reggae. The response to Dancehall has been lackluster in comparison, but it is evidently the music forging itself to new ground.
This collage of music had its own taint of originality and was not an exact duplication of others. This indicated a trusting in one’s own discourse without the interjection of the privilege’s conceptualization from being perched atop the original model and the thought of excavating Marley and reggae to make it the most authentic form.
Bob used the foregoing rudimentary yet wonderful unique style to meld a fusion that to date carries his personal stamp, which other artists may be hard put to replicate. He knew that personal creativity didn’t come from total absorption of the work of others.
There ought not to be any fear in losing any of these genres, for where it fails, is where artists and producers have failed at palpable renditions. The wider acceptance of music is a clear indication of acceptance or rejection and this gives rise to revisit and create originals from the basis of appealing sounds… as every artist yearns for an appreciating audience.
The search for the essence of Bob abounds on the airwaves around the world; otherwise, new artistes should be inspired by his originality while aspiring for greater heights rather than allowing the attempted pervasive influence being espoused by unwary individuals, to bring a halt to this process.
Founder & Publisher