When Bob Marley’s family called on the legendary singer’s childhood friend Alan Greenberg to film his funeral in 1982, it’s worth wondering whether Greenberg knew that he’d end up widening the scope to make one of the iconic films about Jamaica.
Shot by Werner Herzog associate Joerg Schmidt-Reitwein, Land of Look Behind seems to almost float across the island, touching down in both impoverished rural badland areas and the crowded setting of Kingston for the superstar’s stately final rites. Backed by the Kerry Leimer’s unlikely ambient score and featuring performers like Gregory Isaacs and Mutabaruka, Land… is a rich document of the places, faces, and voices of a Jamaica coming to terms with its lagging economy and post-colonial future.
Former Cabaret Voltaire member Richard H. Kirk sampled many bits of the film’s various monologues to populate In Dub: Chant to Jah and Live in the Earth, the electro-dub albums he made in his Sandoz guise.
As James Spooner’s 2003 documentary Afro-Punk has shown, the black/punk marginalization continuum is as old as punk itself, and only scene demography has obstructed its full flowering. Indeed, its [anti-]institutional roots can be traced as far back as the early-‘80s establishment of the Black Rock Coalition in New York City by Vernon Reid and Greg Tate.
With this excellent video, veteran Baltimore MC Labtekwon plunks down a chit into the sweepstakes, positing punk as just another spot for forward-thinking hip-hop to grind. His dude-tacular flow seems a hat-tip to Mike Muir’s campy victim monologue in Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized,” and his new album NEXT: Baltimore Basquiat and the Future Shock is forthcoming.