Backpack Reggae: What Happened to the Reggae Revival Movement?

In the early years of the 21st century, an extraordinary wave of reggae resurgence, now popularly known as the “Reggae Revival” movement, swept the global music scene. This dynamic wave of conscious music was driven by an array of talented young artists including Chronixx, Protoje, and Kabaka Pyramid, among others. These artists strived to bring back the profound lyricism and resonant messages of roots reggae, in sharp contrast to the prevalent dancehall culture. Yet, in the last couple of years, there seems to have been a noticeable slowdown in this vibrant movement. What happened to the Reggae Revival?

The Reggae Revival movement of the 2010s was marked by a return to the genre’s original themes of resistance, spirituality, and Rastafarian beliefs. The movement’s flagbearer, Jamar McNaughton, better known as Chronixx, attracted global attention with his lush melodies, introspective lyrics, and contemporary reggae rhythms. Artists like Jah9, Jesse Royal, and Kelissa joined Chronixx in this musical and cultural resurgence, promoting positive messages, unity, and spiritual upliftment.

Yet, while the Reggae Revival movement was gaining international praise and was seemingly united on the surface, insiders from the Jamaican music industry painted a different picture. They questioned the idea of the Revival as a unified movement, pointing to alleged individualistic pursuits and tensions among the main artists involved.

According to these insiders, the image of unity and collective action portrayed by the artists was not entirely accurate. Behind the public eye, relationships between these key figures were reportedly more competitive than cooperative, driven more by personal interest than a shared vision for the genre’s future.

This perspective from industry insiders adds another dimension to our understanding of why the Reggae Revival may have lost its momentum. If the unity was partly staged or exaggerated, it could have inevitably weakened the sustainability of the movement. The slowdown then, might be less about the global music trends or commercial pressures, and more about internal dynamics within the movement itself.

However, regardless of these insider views and the reported behind-the-scenes dynamics, the impact made by the artists of the Reggae Revival on the global reggae scene is undeniable.

In conclusion, the slowdown of the Reggae Revival can be attributed to a myriad of factors, from the cyclical nature of music trends, industry fragmentation, commercialization pressures, to internal dynamics. However, it is crucial to note that while the “movement” may have slowed, the reggae genre remains vibrant, with new artists continually arising and old ones persisting in their creative journey.

The lessons from the Reggae Revival are profound. They remind us that the real value of music extends beyond commercial success and trends. It lies in the power of music to articulate experiences, to inspire, and to connect individuals across geographical, cultural, and generational lines. Despite the perceived slowdown, the spirit of the Reggae Revival continues to reverberate through the music world, echoing in the hearts of those who believe in the transcendent power of reggae music.