Words by Richard “Treats” Dryden, Kieran Meadows and Jesse Serwer
Reggae has been called the most socially responsible artform on the planet. From its inception through today, reggae acts have touted healthy living in their lyrics, promoting the vitality-enhancing ital diet associated with the Rastafari lifestyle, and referencing Jamaica’s bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Dancehall has proven to be similarly food-obsessed—see riddims with names like Pepperseed, Bully Beef, Rice and Peas—although this has just as often manifested itself in comical tracks warning listeners what not to eat. With a spate of recent tunes adding to this canon, we thought we’d run down some of our favorite Jamaican songs about food. And since there’s an almost endless assortment of tracks to choose from, we narrowed this down to songs with lyrics that actually discuss food in literal terms (as opposed to the metaphorical terms of say Johnny Osbourne’s “No Ice Cream Love” or Bob Marley’s Guava Jelly”).
The hearty musical meal begins here.