Four months after Eddie Murphy revealed he was plunging into reggae music with a new song called “Oh Jah Jah,” the positive reaction to the song – “Oh Jah Jah” topped iTunes’ reggae charts – has propelled the legendary comedian to share a music video for his roots track. In the simple Richard Gumbs III-directed music video, Murphy – rasta star emblazoned on his chest – performs the Bob Marley-flavored track in the studio.
This isn’t Murphy’s first foray into reggae: In 1993, the funnyman teamed with dancehall great Shabba Ranks for “I Was a King” (which featured a music video shot in Portland, Jamaica.) Two decades later, Murphy and Snoop Dogg (as Snoop Lion) collaborated on “Red Light.” Murphy also worked on a song with Beenie Man that is scheduled for release later this year.
In January, Rolling Stone asked Murphy if a full reggae album was in his future. “If people respond to [“Oh Jah Jah”], then I might. If people don’t, that shit will just stay on the shelf where it’s at. And I’m cool with that. I’m cool with all my shit being on the shelf until 100 years from now. Everything comes out 100 years from now,” Murphy said. “Any artist that did anything, once you’re gone, they go looking through all your shit. Like this scrap of paper that you drew on. If I’m doing a movie or if I’m going onstage, that’s me being funny. But music, I do that all the time, for free.”
Despite the Rastafarian iconography in both the “Oh Jah Jah” video and lyrics, Murphy proclaimed, “I’m not a Rasta. I’m doing a reggae track, reggae artists they say Jah, so I said Jah. I can call God Jah and not be a Rasta. The lyrics lent itself to this whole reggae feel.”
Murphy added that a pair of major news stories in 2014 inspired “Oh Jah Jah.” “I wrote that track the first week that Ebola jumped off, and Ferguson was going on – it was pulled out of the headlines,” Murphy said. “To say this stuff, it has to be reggae. You can’t touch on none of this with an R&B track, because people will shut down to it. But do a roots reggae song that feels like Bob Marley type of stuff, you can say it.”