Recorded in 1979 by Bob Marleyand the Wailers, this song from the Survival album is an anthem of freedom and defiance. At a time when Africa was torn apart by civil war, he entreated us to

Feel it in the one drop
And we'll still find time to rock
We're making the one stop
The generation gap
So feel this drum beat
As it beats within
Playing a rhythm resisting against the system

The One Drop Rule. The doctrine that to have one drop of black blood makes you black in a white world. (Public Enemy discusses this on the Fear of a black planet album.) The doctrine that you are somehow inferior. Marley reverses this.

They made the world so hard
Everyday we got to keep on fighting
Everyday the people are dying
From hunger and starvation, lamentation

Marley hoped to stop the seemingly endless war that African nations had been plunged into. Sadly, that hasn't happened. One difference between the wars that were going on at the time and the wars at the millenial cusp is that in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and Biafra, the wars featured a lot of mercenary activity, wars that seemed to be coming from outside, something inflicted upon the African people. Marley took faith in his religion.

But read it in Revelation
You'll find your redemption
And then you give us the the teaching of His Majesty
For we no want no devil philosophy

The Rastafarian splinter of Christianity has many hymns. This is one of them. But the song is about more than faith in a god. It is about faith in yourself. There are many kinds of drops to have, and to be proud of your one drop says you don't care about the majority, you don't care about fitting in, you care about being who you are, and making your ancestors proud by refusing to be assimilated into a culture that was more than willing to commit genocide.

Feel it on the one drop
And we still find time to rock
We're making the one stop
And we fill in the gap
So fell this drum beat
As it beats within, playing a rhythm
Fighting against ism and schism

Leave the isms and the scisms behind. Be you. Bob's one drop was African ancestry. My one drop is the one-eighth Cherokee I did not even know about until I was in my 30's. I feel it in my one drop.

And I still find time to rock.


128/413=31% CST Approved

One drop is the most common drum beat used in reggae. Almost all of Bob Marley's songs are one drop. The name comes from the bass drum pattern which does not land on the one, or downbeat of each measure. This is a big part of the reggae sound.

There is some debate over how one drop should be counted. The problem is where the guitar skank falls. In ska music the skank fell on the upbeat of every measure. When Jamaican music slowed down through the rocksteady and reggae periods, the feel of the skank moved more to the two and four of every measure.

Currently I feel the one drop should be counted as:

1 (drop)

2 skank

3 bass drum

4 skank

But it is also possible to count it as:

1 (drop)

& skank

2 bass drum

& skank

3 (drop)

& skank

4 bass drum

Either way could be considered correct.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.