The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The crew of Egg Drop Soup poses with director Yang (bottom, center).
SMU student film highlights the Chinese-American experience
Lexi Hodson, Contributor • May 16, 2024
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Damian Marley establishes his own identity on ‘Welcome to Jamrock’

Every human being on this planet shares the exact same genetic makeup, a strand of DNA universally identical for our entire species. So what makes you so special? What separates you from the rest?

Damian Marley answers all these questions virtually flawlessly on his debut release, “Welcome to Jamrock.” The son of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian obviously has a lot of artistic hardships in front of him simply because of his last name. Escaping comparisons to his father may be daunting or even impossible, simply because of the amount of influence that he had over the entire spectrum of music. However, Marley confidently steps out of the shadow of his father’s career, and, as a result, succeeds in taking a sound reminiscent of eras past and transforming it into a soapbox for his modern protest ballads.

The record opens with the song “Confrontation” and immediately constructs a pulpit for Marley to set the theme for the entire release. The song echoes the concepts that make him an artist and a true individual: social injustice and a deep concern for those in need. Built up around political speech inciting people to take a stand in the pursuit of peace and love, Marley spits out a cadence ripe with audacity yet devoid of arrogance. He takes the rhythm behind the speaker’s words and creates a force to propel his flow seemingly out of thin air.

From there on, Marley makes it known that while he definitely has the ability to capture his father’s spirit in the soul of protest, he has no trouble establishing his own identity. Damian’s next step is to convey and reiterate his theme throughout the album. He succeeds wonderfully in this. Exposing the grit and grime of life in tracks like “Welcome to Jamrock” and “In 2 Deep,” Marley conveys the frightening reality in the streets of Jamaica through vivid imagery and clever rhyme scheme.

His music takes shape around traditional dance hall style lyrical melodies, flowing over modern rap beats with touches of traditional choppy reggae guitar riffs. This creates a style both relevant and nostalgic. The songs appear even darker than his father’s, but with good reason. These are different times, and they require the courage and faith to discontinue the sugarcoating of real life struggles. This record reads as something like a letter from the people being delivered through the spirit and soul of Damian Marley.

Real issues concerning his country are brought to the forefront of this all-out assault on the crises currently plaguing the streets of Marley’s home. Child prostitution, poverty, hunger and drug addiction all run rampant through his world of disorder and constant chaos. Damian laments on these crimes against humanity and prays for the hearts of those being failed by society.

The darkness of the album is eventually overpowered by the inspiration it creates by promoting change and hope in slower tracks like “There for You” and “Road to Zion.” These holes within the cloudy sky Marley has presented to us are important to the release’s final message. They allow just enough light to see that, despite all the weight of the world, it’s still possible to come together and triumph over adversity in the end.

He may not be promoting himself as the leader of a new revolution, but with conviction and music like this, it will soon be difficult to deny Damian Marley’s prolific nature as a catalyst for change within both music and society.

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