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Damian Marley on 5 Great Reggae Protest Songs

Bob Marley’s youngest son shouts out Capleton, Bounty Killer, his brother Ziggy and more

damian marley protest songs

Bob Marley's son Damian shares his five favorite reggae protest songs.

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“To call these songs protest songs is almost redundant,” says Damian Marley of a playlist he put together for Rolling Stone. “Reggae is a very ‘speak your mind’ kind of genre. That’s what the music is for; that’s what it does. Reggae music speaks out without any apology and talks the whole truth without fear, even if it’s an offense to the bigger heads who may be in a position of power. All of these songs do that.” Marley, whose new album Stony Hill hit in July, shared his thoughts on the tracks below.

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Damian Marley, “Is It Worth It? (Gunman World)”

My final selection is one of my own. This is a song that talks about the reality of what actually happens in the life of someone who makes his living in this way. One thing that I’ve learned in my life is that people are just people, and as I say in the song, “Mankind will do what they must to survive.” Sometimes when you meet these people you’ve been hearing about – whether it’s policemen and politicians or thugs – they’re neither as great as you thought they would be nor as bad as you think. Some people think about the image of a gunman and for them it’s all about the machismo of the big man with the big gun and “busting shots” and all of that. But what about those days when a gunman hasn’t had a good night’s rest? Does he feel cranky in the morning? What does a gunman pray about? What is he thinking when he kisses his kids to sleep? Those are the questions that I’m interested in because at the end of the song you realize maybe you have more in common with this gunman than you ever thought you would.      

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