Words by Jesse Serwer and Sherman Escoffery—
The Mayan calendar predicts the world will end this year, or so many people believe, and these fears have inspired at least one forgettable movie. But when it comes to turning end-of-the-world fears into art, reggae music was 35 years ahead of its time and way ahead of the game. Fear about the world coming to an end, specifically on July 7, 1977, gripped Jamaica in the mid ’70s, prompting a wave of “armagideon” tunes warning the masses to live righteous or face impending doom. While that day came and went without catastrophe, the world gained an unmatched set of end-of-times tracks (sorry, heavy metal), with underlying messages that still resonate. Here’s a rundown of some of the best tunes in this tradition, from both before and after two sevens clashed.