Is All Reggae Music Stoner Music?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A common question asked by those unfamiliar with reggae music is whether all of it is stoner music. The answer is no, but there is a close connection between the two genres.

The Origins of Reggae

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term reggae is derived from the word “raggedy”, which means “ragged” or “rough”. Reggae music is characterized by a strong backbeat, rhythm guitar, and vocals.


Ska is a genre of music that emerged in Jamaica in the 1950s. Ska is a precursor to reggae, and its roots can be traced back to mento, a style of Jamaican folk music that combines African and European elements. Ska was initially popularized by Jamaican radio stations that played American R&B and jazz records. The popularity of ska spread to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, where it became incorporated into the mod subculture. Ska later developed into two subgenres: 2-tone and rub-a-dub.


Rocksteady is a type of Reggae music that was popular between 1966 and 1968. It was characterised by slower rhythms than other types of Reggae, and often featured a lead singer with a guitar or organ playing in the background. Ska, the predecessor to Rocksteady, had been dominated by saxophones and other brass instruments; but in Rocksteady, the brass instruments were largely absent, giving the music a more mellow sound. The lyrics of Rocksteady songs often dealt with love and relationships; many of them were written by Reggae legend Coxsone Dodd.

The precise origins of Rocksteady are unclear, but it is thought to have emerged from informal jam sessions at Coxsone Dodd’s record store in Kingston, Jamaica. The first Rocksteady hit is thought to be “Hold Me Tight” by Johnny Nash, which was released in 1966. The song “Do the Rocksteady” by Alton Ellis and the Flames (1966) is also often cited as an early example of the genre.

By 1967, Rocksteady was Jamaica’s dominant musical style; it remained popular until 1968 when it was replaced by the faster-paced and more politically conscious Reggae music that would come to define Jamaican culture.


Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term reggae is sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady, dub, dancehall, and reggae fusion. Reggae developed from earlier forms of Jamaican popular music, such as ska and rocksteady, and Draw influence from traditional folk music Jamaica, mento and Caribbean calypso. Reggae is deeply linked to Rastafarianism, an Afrocentric religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s

The Themes of Reggae

Reggae music often contains themes of struggle, love, and unity. The lyrics are often reflective of the artist’s personal life and experiences. Reggae music is often used as a form of protest against social injustice.


Rastafari, sometimes termed Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much heterogeneity exists among practitioners, who are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Ras Tafarians.

Rastafari draws its beliefs from many sources, including Ethiopian Christianity, pan-Africanism, black nationalism, social justice, and marijuana use. It affirms Africa as the Promised Land or black Zion and promotes the repatriation of black people to there. This can be done through conscious emulation of Emperor Haile Selassie I and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s style of living, which includes wearing one’s hair in dreadlocks.

Rastafari has also been demonstrated to influence other religions including Judaism and Christianity. It rejects conventional Western society—materialism specifically—because it views it as rooted in mental slavery; instead it emulates pre-industrial African societies. Some members of the religion believe that they have a personal relationship with Haile Selassie I that allows them to receive direct guidance from him.

Social Issues

Reggae music often deals with social issues such as poverty, racism, and violence. The lyrics of reggae songs often reflect the struggles of the Jamaican people and the hardships they face on a daily basis. Many reggae songs are about political oppression, while others deal with more personal topics such as love, relationshps, and heartbreak.


Love songs are often present in Reggae music. Tracks about love can be found in almost every album of a famous Reggae artist. Love is a theme that is very hitting home for many people, and because of this, it’s a popular choice within the lyrics of Reggae songs.

The Sound of Reggae

Reggae is a genre of music that was developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The sound of reggae is very distinctive and features a relaxed, easygoing vibe. Reggae is often thought of as stoner music, but not all reggae is stoner music. In this article, we’ll explore the sound of reggae and what makes it unique.

The Drumbeat

The drumbeat is the backbone of reggae music and is what gives the music its distinctive sound. The drumbeat is played on a drum kit consisting of a bass drum, snare drum, two tom-toms, and a cymbal. The drumbeat is usually played in 4/4 time, with the snare drum being played on the 2nd and 4th beats of each measure.

The bass drum is integral to the groove of the music and is often referred to as the ” heartbeat” of reggae. The bass drum is usually played with a double-stroke roll, which gives the music its signature “boom-chick” sound. The snare drum plays a supporting role in the rhythm section and helps to drive the groove forward.

The two tom-toms are usually played together in a rhythmic pattern known as a “figure 8.” This figure 8 pattern provides embellishment to the basic drumbeat and helps to create interest and variation in the rhythm. The cymbal is used sparingly in reggae music, but plays an important role in adding color and texture to the sound.

The Bass Line

The most important element in reggae is the bass line. The bass carries the melody and the rhythm at the same time. It is said that if the bassline is not correct, then the song will not be correct. The best way to understand this is to think of the bass as the foundation of a house. If the foundation is not strong, then the house will not be strong.

Reggae bass lines are usually played on an electric bass, but they can also be played on a acoustic guitar or even a keyboard. The most important thing is that the instrument is tuned to what is called “drop D.” This means that the lowest string (the sixth string) is tuned down one whole step to D instead of E. This gives the bass a very deep sound.

The Guitar

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in reggae music. It is often used to create a mellow, laid-back sound that is perfect for relaxing or dancing. The guitar can be played in a variety of styles, including strumming, picking, and plucking.

Reggae and Marijuana

Reggae music has been associated with marijuana use since the genre’s beginnings. Reggae artists have often written songs about smoking weed, and the use of marijuana is commonly depicted in reggae imagery. However, not all reggae music is stoner music.

The Rastafari Movement

The Rastafari movement is a religious and social movement that emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. The movement is based on the belief that Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia, is the Messiah who will usher in a new age of righteousness and peace. Rastafarians also believe that marijuana is a sacred herb that should be used for religious and spiritual purposes.

Many Rastafarians see reggae music as a way to spread their message to the world. Reggae artists often sing about social injustice, love, and peace, as well as about their Rastafarian faith. Some people believe that all reggae music is “stoner music” because of its focus on marijuana use, but not all reggae artists sing about marijuana.

The Wailers

The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The band started out as a ska group but later evolved into one of the most successful reggae bands of all time. They are best known for their hits “No Woman, No Cry”, “One Love” and “Could You Be Loved”.

Despite their success, The Wailers were often overshadowed by Marley’s solo career. After his death in 1981, the band continued to tour and record with various lineups. They released their final album, “Final Call”, in 2000.

The Wailers are considered to be one of the most influential reggae bands of all time. Their music has been described as a “force for good” and has helped to spread Jamaican culture around the world. In 2012, they were posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


After looking at the evidence, it seems clear that not all reggae music is stoner music. While some artists and songs may celebrate marijuana use, there are many other reggae songs that do not focus on this topic. Reggae music is a genre with a wide range of topics and styles, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

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