Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Brudda Robert!!!

Today, February 6th is the great legend Bob Marley's birthday. The late Marley is considered to be a legend not only in music but in Rastafari as well.

He made his reggae music to uplift us, inform, entertain, inspire, and make change in the world. He's a musician, a poet and songwriter, a philosopher, a soldier, an activist and a leader. - Cedella Marley
Rastafari had a voice in music well before Bob Marley. Artists such as Count Ossie, a Jamaican jazz percussionist, established several Rastafari camps in the 1940's where he invited musicians to gather for musical experiments. Don Drummond a Rastafarian and a member of the Skatalites is accredited to introducing Rastafari to ska, with hits such as; "Tribute to Marcus Garvey" and "Addis Adaba". And in the 1060's and 70's Bob's faith in Rastafari could be heard in albums recorded with the Wailers. "Rasta Shook Them Up" was written expressing the experience of Emperor Haile Selassie I's visit to Jamaica. The 1973 released album "Burnin'" featured "Rasta Man Chant", the lyrics of which were adapted from the Holy Piby. The following year Bob Marley released "Natty Dread" which became the first of his albums to chart in the US. It was on the title track that Bob Marley lyrical proclaimed his unwavering faith: "Don't care what the world say (Natty Dread) I'n'I couldn't never go astray (Natty Dread)". Marley's highest US charting album came in '76; "Rastaman Vibrations." Among many other tracks that spread the philosophy of Rastafari, "War" actually took its lyrics from Haile Selassie I's address to the United Nations. The final album released during Marley's lifetime was "Uprising" which included the track entitled "Forever Loving Jah" and "Redemption Song"- with famed line "emancipate yourselves from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our mind", a clear edict of Rastafari.

Throughout Bob Marley's career and life he used the stage and his microphone to propel Rastafari to the ends of the earth. Bob Marley is often thought of synonymously with Rastafari. On the day of his birth take a moment, if you have one, to learn about the man, honor his life & his music. In doing so, you will most certainly hear the voice of his faith. Here are a few songs that I would recommend listening to:

Get Up, Stand Up*- Bob Marley
Africa Unite- Bob Marley
Exodus- Bob Marley
Buffalo Soldier- Bob Marley
Natty Dread- Bob Marley
Rastaman Vibrations- Bob Marley
One Drop- Bob Marley
Survival- Bob Marley

Fed Up*- Stephen Marley
Mind Control*- Stephen Marley

Rasta Man Chant- Bob Marley & The Wailers
Catch A Fire- Bob Marley & The Wailers

*Acoustic Version

Happy Listening!!! JAH Bless. SELAH&SHINE

And for further information:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Colors I bleed

What comes to mind when you see the colors red, gold, and green in combination: Jamaica, Bob Marley, reggae, ganja? Those colors (red, gold, green) are the colors of the Rastafari Movement. The colors have also been embraced by pop culture. Several non-rasta affiliated clothing brands market the colors to appeal to a youthful demographic. Much like dreadlocks, the symbolic colors of Rastafari have often been correlated with rebellious, buck the establishment youth. A number of stereotypes and labels are placed on individuals displaying the Rastafari colors. There have been controversial issues within public schools and other institutions on whether individuals are free to express themselves thru a displaying the colors. There are cultures and subcultures that proudly rock the rasta red,yellow, and green. The explanation to why one may be partial to the colors can vary. Still, the colors of Rastafari are extremely important in what they represent, not just for the individual but for an entire movement.

The colors originate from the Ethiopian flag and shows the loyalty and connections Rastafari has with Ethiopia, and Africa as a whole. The red represents the blood of the martyrs spilled in the black struggle for liberation. It also symbolizes the victorious church of the Rastas, the brotherhood and the connecting life force that runs thru the veins of the people. The gold(or yellow) symbolizes the wealth of Africa. The riches of the "motherland" have raised nations, supported kings, and constructed dynasties. Many rastas blame Babylon for the financial oppression of the entire continent. Nonetheless, the wealth of the land shall be returned in due time according to prophecy and so it is represented in the colors of the movement. Green represents the lush vegetation of Ethiopia and the beauty of the land. Collectively the red is for the people, gold is for the wealth of the land, and green is for the life of the land. Black is also often incorporated representing the color of the African people.

Religions, institutions, societies, nations, etc. all use symbols to some degree in representing their history, their ideologies, and/or purpose. Flags, coat of arms, emblems, and logos all could be identifying markers connecting an individual to a particular group. The colors red, gold, and green speak loudly of the Rastafarian Movement. Next time you come across those colors, perhaps you will make the connection. Remember the blood of the martyrs, men and women who fought for freedom they themselves would never benefit from. Remember the wealth of Africa, not just financial, the richness of the land is in its people. Remember the beauty within the land itself, the lush greenery is the outward working of a land teeming with fresh life. Remember there is much more represented by three simple colors.


Friday, January 25, 2013

The Words in the World of Rasta

I'd like to introduce Rastafari first by the vocabulary that is widely used in the culture. In popular music there are often reggae remixes featuring an island accented artist that repeats phrases connected to Jamaica and/or the Rastafari movement (depending on how commercial the track). Not all Jamaicans are rasta and not all rastas are Jamaican. Still, the dialect most commonly used with the following terms is Rasta Patois. I will do an overview of commonly used terms Perhaps next time you hear them used in context, you will be able to identify the speaker as either a Rasta or in the least a student of the movement.

Save the fact that the Rastafari Movement originated in a country and region with a distinctive dialect, the language used truly expresses some of the core values and beliefs of Rastafari. When a Rasta speaks one hears the tone of a rebel, of a fighter, along with the voice of oneness.

Armageddon- the final battle between the forces of good and evil according to the Bible.
Babylon- all encompassing title of the corrupt establishment. Institutions (religious, political, military, etc.) that restrict and/or retard the progress and freedom of the people. Also, commonly used in reference to police.

Balmyard- a place where pocmania rites are held, healing is done, spells cast or lifted.

Bald-Head-someone operating in the interests of Babylon/ someone without dreadlocks.

Banton- A storyteller.

Bashment- A great event or happening; dancehall; party. Also the same as bashy.

 Big up- This is a popular term for saying what’s up and a gesture of tribute.

Binghi- meaning wise.

Bloodclot- Strong curse word.

Bloodfire- meaning Hell.

Bobo dread- A certain sect of Rastas that wear turbans and carry brooms to signify cleanliness. They are of the Bobo Shanti order and are true followers of Prince Emmanuel.

Braa/Bredda- meaning brother.

Breddren- Brothers. Used to reference one's fellow Rastas.

Bumboclot- King of curse words. Derives from bumbo, meaning ones backside. A bumbo-clot is an insult referencing a period before toilet paper was in common usage.
Cerace- a ubiquitous vine used for boiling medicinal tea, and for bathing.

Chalice/ Chillum/ or Chalewa- a pipe for smoking herb, usually made from coconut shell, used ritually by Rastas.

Cool Runnings- usually used at a time of departure on a long journey meaning have a safe trip.

Crosses- problems, trials,; bad luck, misfortunes.
Deaders- meat & meat by-products.

Dinki- a kind of traditional dance at funerals or "nine nights".

Downpressor- preffered term for "oppressor" (Downpress- Oppress)

Dread- 1). a person with dreadlocks 2).  a serious idea or thing 3). a dangerous situation or person 4. the "dreadful power of the holy"

Dreadlocks- Hair that is neither combed nor cut. Also used to describe a person with dreadlocks.

Dready- a friendly term for a fellow dread
Ease Up- to forgive, to lighten up, to relax.

"Everything Cook & Curry"- all is well, all is taken care of.

Forward- future, or to move on. 

Fuckery- A maljustice, something wrong and unfair; this is not considered a curse word.
Ganja(ganga)- Marijuana, herb.

Give tanks- A expression of gratitude.

(Don) Gorgon- 1) Outstanding person and very well respected. 2) Outstanding dreadlocks. 3) Dragon

Grounation- large, island-wide meeting and celebration of Rastas on April 21st celebrating Haile Selaissie I's visit to Jamaica in 1966.

Herb- marijuana. The same as ganja(ganga)

Honor (hon-nah)- A Rasta word; greeting or good-bye
I an I- Rasta term for me, myself, and I. Also can be used for we or us.

I-cense- Rasta word for ganga, which is taken from the Biblical word “Incense.”

I-ditate- Rasta word for “Meditate.”

I-dren- Rasta word for bredren, which is taken from the Biblical word “Brethren.”

I-man / I-mon - Refers to the self. Rasta for: Me or you.

I-ney- A classic Rasta greeting.

I-ree- Rasta word for “Irie”, which means to be happy.

I-sire- Rasta word for “Desire”

I- thiopia- Ethiopia

Irie (I-ree)- Means everything is alright. Expression of feeling great.

Ises/Izes/Isis- Praises to the almighty given by Rasta when calling on the name of Jah for strength and assitance for achieveing progress in life.
Ja/ Jamdown/ Jamdung- Words used to reference Jamaica.

Jah- Lord; God; possibly derived as a shortened form of Jahweh or Jehovah.used to reference Jah Rastafari, Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, conquering lion of Judah.

Jah guide- A Rasta farewell and good-bye. Literally saying “God shall guide.”

Jah know- Lord or God knows; an expression of agreement.

Kumina-  Lively dance for the purpose of communicating with ancestors.
Lambsbread-  A Rasta term for high-grade ganja.

Legsus- A spoof on the luxury car, Lexus, but expresses the walking power of the legs. 

Lion- a righteous Dread or a great soul. 
Mas- An old and wise master; a old-timer who deserves respect.

Mon- Perhaps the single most important Jamaican word, “Mon” can represent every person in Jamaica—man, woman, and child.  
Natty/ Natty Dread/ Natty Congo- dreadlocks or person having dreadlocks.

Nazarite- Ancient Hebrew meaning to "separate", consecrated, set apart by choice and devotion.

Nyabinghi- 1) The traditional and orthodox Rastafarian movement of black supremacy 2) East African warriors who resisted colonial domination. 3) Large Rastafarian meeting and spiritual gathering.

Obeah- Traditional African "science", relating to matters of the spirit and spirits, spells, divinations, omens, extra-sensory knowledge, etc. Viewed as a voodoo in Jamaica.

One Love- a parting phrase, expression of unity.

Overstand- Rasta word for “Understand”.
Poco/Pocomania- Christian revival distinctive drum rhythm.

Polytricks(Polytricksters)termed coined by Peter Tosh in describing politics and politicians. 
Q (see soruces)

Ragga- A style of reggae that uses digital rhythms exclusively. A term sometimes used interchangably with dancehall, since the latter music has become heavily digitized as well. 

Rasta/ Rastafarian- a follower of Marcus Garvey who worships the Almighty Jah in the manifestation  of Haile Selassie I. 

Reespek- meaning respect.

Sa- meaning Sir.

Sata- to rejoice, to meditate, to give thanks and praise.

Shepherd- leader of revivalist cult; general a balmyard owner, healer and prophet.

Sight- A Rasta term for, “Do you see or understand?” 

Sinsemilla (Sensie)- popular, potent, seedless, unpollinated female strain of marijuana.

Sister/Sistern- a woman, a friend, woman Rastafarian.

Skank- to dance to reggae music.

Spliff- A very large cone-shaped marijuana cigarette.

Sufferation (suf-fa-ray-shun)- Major suffering, poverty, and trials.
Tam- a large oval-shaped Rasta hat used to cover dreadlocks.

Tata- meaning father. Affectionate and respectful title for an old man.

The I- you, yourself, yours.
Uno/ Unu- the plural form of you, you all, the all of you. Similar to "y'all"
Upful- Positive feelings.

Uphill- righteous or positive.
V (see sources)
Wa’ppun- What’s happening? This is the most popular greeting used.Similar to "what's up?".
Wolf- non-rasta with dreadlocks. 
X (see sources)

Yeyewata- To shed tears, cry.
Zed- The letter Z. 

ZION- Rasta title for Ethiopia, Africa, the Rastafarian holy land.

**The use of the letter I in the Rasta culture symbolizes oneness and unity. It conveys an understanding that the power and intent of the individual directly correlates to the outcome of the whole.

The above is not an exhaustive list of terms or phrases used within the Rastafari culture. Instead, it is a select few terms that I believe will give clearer insight to the vocabulary of the movement. I myself plan to use several of the terms referenced throughout my blogging. You can always reference back for definitions. Also, as I progress in my studies I will add terms and definitions to the list. The current terms are a collection and compilation of terms found from multiple sources. I highly suggest checking out these sources for vocabulary, phrases, and even proverbs not mentioned here in this post.


Pewka, Mike. "Rasta/Patois Dictionary and Phrases/Proverbs". Dec. 1992. Internet. 21 Jan. 2013.

Shakur, Assate. "Dread Dictionary, Rasta words, expressions, and slang". Assate Shakur Forums. 2008.    Internet Thread. 21 jan. 2013.

"Patois". 2002. internet. 22 Jan. 2013.


Monday, January 21, 2013


In the beginning there was understanding. In the beginning there was knowledge. Yet, in the beginning there were no words, nothing to define truth...

With words came the advent of learning
Definition fertilized the seed of teaching

As you read thru, I pray your heart be receptive to truth and your third eye open for enlightenment.

Blessings to the Blogger.