Reggae was what kept me away from drinking, partying and general wild behaviour.

I’m sure some of you are shocked, but I’m also sure some of you are wholeheartedly agreeing. For the former, hear us out.

When you grow up in the West, chances are you’ll listen to or be around pop music. I thought I didn’t like music for a long time. My friends played Lady Gaga, The Pussycat Dolls, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Pitbull, Sean Paul, Chris Brown and similar pop music. They loved it and I felt like those songs just did not contribute to the person I want to be. So, I ended up avoiding most pop music altogether.
(confession: I’m still a fan of Beyonce and Sean Paul is my guilty pleasure, I ain’t no saint!)

I was never up to date with music and I didn’t care. Friends’ houses, parties, car rides, anywhere music was played I sang along to the songs I knew, and found a few artists who would be played often enough to come under the genre of pop. I felt it really didn’t affect me that I wasn’t fussed with music.

But then I found reggae, I’m not talking #smokeweedeveryday or #breakoffyaback songs, I’m talking Bob Marley, Damian Marley (any Marley) Alborosie, Born Jamericans, Chaka Demuas & Pliers, Fat Freddys Drop, Katchafire, Slightly Stoopid and others. These songs that are about being pure of heart, no (hard) drugs, avoiding alcohol, existing and acting for Jah/Allah/God. Songs about being wholesome. Even during Ramadan when I would usually do without music, I’d allow myself a few reggae songs – halal topics that wouldn’t distract or break my fast.

I’m sure many have the same experience, growing up in a culture where music is all about sex, drugs, and losing inhibitions. It’s hard to find a middle ground where our subconscious isn’t bombarded with these unwanted ideas.

I was known for liking reggae and people made weed jokes while going to their pop concerts. But I’d rarely go to those concerts and shows because they weren’t to my taste. The music would encourage drinking and drugs to the point where no one was enjoying the music, and I felt that all this would ruin my experience. A reggae show on the other hand, yes there would be drugs and drinking, but people would slow down. People were friendly and had a life view that was somewhat similar to mine. Life is not for the swift but for those who can endure.

I can’t say my music taste has stayed so G-rated, but I can definitely say that if I was a fan of Chingy rather than UB40, I’d say I would have had a very different teenage experience. In my twenties my music taste has progressed only a little. I listen to mainly reggae, dancehall, RnB, and afrobeats.
We all know music has an affect on us – if you disagree you’re in denial. Physically, and subconsciously, it affects our mood, mindset, heart rate and even our views and opinions. So we have to remember what our music is telling us.

Reggae was what kept me away from drinking, partying and general wild behaviour. Reggae provided positive and real reminders like the fact that we are temporary on this earth, and makes us ponder where we came from and where we are going.

All Praise Due To The Most High.