Sophie Jongman

Here's Hoping

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It was good to read the article on Bob Marley ('Roots Revolutionary', January SR). However, I thought the analysis of Jamaican music today was a bit unhopeful and perhaps also inaccurate in saying that 'in the quarter century since his death nobody has come close to matching Bob Marley.'

Popular opinion of Marley regards him as the king of reggae music, but there were many others then, such as Gregory Issacs (known as the Cool Ruler), Barrington Levy and others. These are wise Rastafarian preacher types who use music as a way of expressing real suffering and to give hope for a better future on earth. Their message of opposition to 'Babylon' is still loud, clear and popular. Bob Marley was so great partly because of the 'crossover' he and his band achieved into the mainstream.

Salt N Pepa Add Real Flavour

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Hip-hop has been evolving over almost three decades, and is a militant form of music ('Hip-hop takes the rap', May SR).

Nowadays MCs fight each other in lyrical battles where they attack one another on a personal basis. In the early days of hip-hop, bands such as Public Enemy saw the system as their main enemy and gave solidarity to their black sisters, for example in their album Fear of a Black
. There were respected political female rappers such as Roxanne Shante, Salt N Pepa, Queen Latifah and Wee Papa Girl Rappers, and it was the plethora of female rappers that added to the excitement of early hip-hop.

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