Sounds of Reggae Revolution: Revisiting Peter Tosh’s Cultural Legacy by Racquel Simone Bernard

This research paper seeks to interrogate Peter Tosh’s cultural legacy and intends to add to limited scholarship on this artist, his words, songs, and musical contributions. The central research method was critical discourse analysis of material from conferences, newspaper articles, journal articles, song lyrics, film, video and books. Tosh’s work offers important critiques of postcolonial Jamaica and systems of injustice abroad. This project will analyze the significance of his word choice, song lyrics, and musical innovations as it relates to sociocultural protest and memory. This analysis first theorizes Peter Tosh as a Rastafari-influenced reggae revolutionary within a period of widespread exchanges about black consciousness. It frames his role as a musical preacher within the black radical prophetic tradition. It, secondly, exposes the implications of his use of Jamaican curse words as performative speech acts that not only stir emotion but are meant to ‘chant down’ systemic discrimination and oppression. Finally, it discusses Tosh within a changing era of music technology in which dancehall music emerged.

Keywords: Bernard, Racquel Simone; Peter Tosh; reggae music; social protest; postcolonial; black identity

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