Reggae music plays a large role in the Rastafarian religion. The most influential individual within the reggae movement was Bob Marley who gained international acclaim for his music and globalized the Rastafarian cause. To Rastafarians reggae is a religious experience explaining the history of their subjugation. It spreads the word of salvation in Africa as well as discussing the social problems that arise. Bob Marley’s album cover for Exodus contains the traditional colors of Rastafarianismcover namely the colors of the Ethiopian flag with the title written in red ancient Ethiopian script. The flip side consists of a portrait of Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah and the phrase “movement of Jah people” which are all essential aspects of the Rastafarian faith.
The song “Exodus” discusses the movement of Jah people to Africa to escape downpression. Jah people are the people of God in rastafari, a play off of Yahweh from the old testament.
“Redemption Song” was written when Marley was dying of cancer and desired redemption and uses many Rastafarianisms such as the value of self in the lyrics, using ‘I’ as opposed to me.
His sets would often contain components of Rastafari ritual. Such as the dress: hats with the colors of the Ethiopian flag (as seen in the above portrait) and the consistent portraits of Haile Selassie and the video of his coronation.
Marley’s tracks are truly spiritual and transcend music, they are like the psalms in explaining the hardships of the times yet they have faith in prevailing over hardships.