An article by Marlon James for Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Here’s an excerpt. Follow this link to the complete article.
Bob Marley brought reggae, Rastafarianism, and the singular culture of Jamaica to the world—and also managed to be the best-dressed rock star of the ’70s. Jamaican novelist Marlon James considers the real (and very stylish) soul behind the image.
And Studio One, near the dividing line between ghetto and good-life Kingston, popped out an assembly line of stars like a tropical Hitsville, though a better comparison might be Stax, just because of the raw, mercurial power of the up-and-coming superstars who paid their dues cutting tracks on wax. By 1964, Studio One was making hits and history, detonating ska on the cool kids in Kingston, the U.S., and the UK, then ushering in its slower aftershock, rocksteady. And when Marley finally got his star turn in a vocal group—part mod, part Motown—he, Bunny, and Tosh made sure they looked the part. That meant slim ’60s suits perfect for slipping into the cocktail parties they were never invited to, then turning the whole place out with a rude-boy ska step.