The 5 Most Overrated Male Musicians, Part One
#4 - Bob Marley
The king of rasta "music" (and his idiotic "religion") inspires so much loathing I barely have to do more than cut and paste this entry. Thanks, other people!
Punks like me were supposed to love reggae -- The Clash and The Slits said so! -- but luckily I got hold of The Boy Looked at Johnny, a collection of Julie Burchill and Tony Parson's music criticism at the NME. (My stinky, brittle copy is the only book, besides a thesaurus, that is a permanent fixture of my writing desk.)
While cheerleaders for punk, Burchill and Parson hated reggae and Rastafarianism -- the two were and are inseparable -- and I inherited their disdain:
To Rasta, man is Stud, woman a sperm receptacle, who couldn’t possibly enjoy sex unless she was the lowest whore in Babylon. Rastas believe in God whom they call "Jah" and smoke dope all the time in the hope that this will help them communicate with him. Rastas believe that Haile Selassie (unsuccessful military dictator of Ethiopia, ousted by invading Italians in 1936) is the Son of God. Rastas preach black supremacy, and prophesy that unless they return to Africa by 1983 the world must perish.
Had this view since been refuted by contemporary idols Dillinger, Black Slate and batty bald headed Bob Marley, then their rights would be worth standing up for. As it is, who would raise a hand if the National Front treated the Rastas as the Rastas treat their women?
And themselves: his "religion" supposedly kept Bob Marley from seeking cancer treatment.
Remember that "tribute to Bob Marley" at the Grammy Awards? Neither does anyone else, because it was terrible. The most entertaining part? You can actually see all these A-list performers suddenly remembering, too late and on live TV, that Bob Marley's songs are, in fact, really really bad.
I don't know how anyone who basically "wrote" the same dirge-like, nonsensical "song" over and over again qualifies as a genius, but I suspect that (along with heavy and regular drug use) the soft bigotry of low expectations played an enormous role in Marley's megastardom (which was engineered, by the way, by a wealthy white toff.)
White people are Marley's biggest fans, which tells you all you need to know.
A deliciously nasty entry devoted to Marley at "Stuff White People Like" notes, however:
Under no circumstances should you ever bring a white person to [an authentic] dancehall reggae concert, it will frighten them.
I went to the place
Where every white face
Is an invitation to robbery
An’ sitting here in my safe European home
I don’t wanna go back there again
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The conclusion with the final 3 most overrated male musicians can be read here.