Bad Brains were a brilliant 80s band from Washington, DC, also the home of contemporaries Minor Threat. They fused together high-speed punk (the group is, IMHO rightfully, credited with inventing hardcore) and traditional reggae sounds. The result is some truly brilliant, influential, and seminal music.

Formed in 1979 by guitarist Dr. Know, Bad Brains also consisted of vocalist HR, bassist Darryl Aaron Jenifer and drummer Earl Hudson. They released a cassette-only self-titled demo which gained huge underground popularity and gave them a large following. Supposedly, they had a huge influence on Ian McKaye and Minor Threat after the band saw them early on. Their debut full-length album, Rock For Light, was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars. It took them three-years to deliver the follow-up I Against I. Their later releases were conflicted, as the band was moving in different directions - simultaneously pursuing heavy metal and reggae sounds.

I highly recommend you pick up Black Dots (the bands first first recorded session), the self-titled, The Omega Sessions (as mentioned above), and I Against I if you wanna hear some of the best hardcore ever. I say start with Black Dots.
They're notable because they broke so many rules of hardcore at the time.

A: They were black.
B: They were Rastafarians when everyone else was an atheist.
C: They could actually, god forbid, play their instruments.
and D: They were willing to incorporate other styles into their music, mostly reggae and later on rap.

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