Do you know what it means to have a revolution?

Posted 7/01/2008 by CtotheB in Labels: , , , ,
One of my favorite recurring moments in life is when a song that I heard when I was growing up reenters my life. Often this happens because of a popular rap song's sampling (i.e T.I's usage of that Crystal Waters track a couple years ago) but I want to go back to the spring semester of 2007, when one of my friends brought me a reggae mixtape she bought while in Queens. We listened to it together, reminescing on the first time we heard many of the classics the mixtape contained. When it got to the final two tracks, I froze. I fervently searched for the cd's tracklisting to confirm what I heard. It had been so long since I heard that wondrous voice remind me that "love and hate can never be friends." Admittedly, this is a simple observation, yet it serves as iconic lyric from the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown. 

Hearing this song transported me back to my kitchen on Saturday mornings when my Mom would play 1190 WLIB and the sweet, sweet Reggae music would fill the house and embed itself in my soul. Dennis Brown is one of the most revered artist to bless the genre--in fact, he was the favorite artist of the best artist of the 20th century. "Here I Come" and "Revolution" played back to back on that mixtape and rekindled a love for this artist I had been too young to appreciate.

I remember exactly where I was, that fateful Saturday nine years ago. By then we had switched to 930 am, when Gil Bailey told his listening audience the overwhelming news of Dennis' passing. I was sitting at my mother's computer checking my email and listening to the tribute songs. I did not know why then, but I felt that his music would become an important part of my life. 

The songs sounded cool to me then, but I could not fully grasp his social commentary in songs like "Wolves and Leopards" or "Tenement Yard". My adolescent musical appetite was not soothed by his charming wordplay on "Johnny Can't Spell" or "Sitting and Watching." And my ventures with the fairer sex were not extensive enough for me to fully grasp the feeling of having money in my pocket but I just can't get no love.

After playing "Here I Come" and "Revolution" at a family cookout and getting proper approval from my uncles, my reuniting with Dennis Brown's music was complete. They schooled me on his impact on the reggae scene, one uncle told us about seeing him perform live, and insisted that when it came to pure vocal ability, he was unmatched. 

I bought a copy of one of the several "greatest hits" albums that have been made for him. I figured this was easier then trying to figure out which of his 78 albums I should choose from. It quickly became the soundtrack for my fall semester. I understood what it meant to have "Money in My Pocket" and it increased my understanding of the musical jewel Dennis Brown is. 

Live on Dennis, live on!

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