OLDIES SUNDAY: Little Roy – Tribal War (1974)


It’s Election time again in Jamaica! Despite the world getting rocked back and forth thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the dates for the Island’s 18th General Election on August 11 in Parliament. While Election time in Jamaica is usually a “Silly Season“, it was pretty different in the era of our Oldies Sunday selection. Today, we highlight Little Roy’sTribal War“.

Produced by Earl Lowe and released through Roy’s Tafari label in 1974, Little Roy provides some social commentary here as he speaks out against the various conflicts happening in the world especially during Election time in Jamaica in 1972. In that year, the Michael Manley led People’s National Party (PNP) emerged victorious over the Hugh Shearer (who held the position during Alexander Bustamante’s absence due to illness) led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Election time in Jamaica is usually met with a lot of tension, and found supporters on opposing sides attacking each other to the point where it gets violent. Little Roy’s track asked for all those acts to cease, rival gangs get together in the name of peace, and everyone promoting living in love and harmony. “Tribal War” became a very popular song for Little Roy, but despite the popularity, it never received much airplay until other versions were made years later. Regardless of the opposition, he found a lot of success with it as he sold thousands of copies of the track by hand.

Since the release of “Tribal War”, it has been covered by various artists including John Holt, Ronnie Davis, and George Nooks, and has been sampled by Nas and Tony Rebel. The track is still an important one, and we’ll always thank Little Roy for it. Check it out below, and share with a friend. Show us some love/follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @13thStreetPromo.

Editor’s Note: I can’t believe Little Roy’s original “Tribal War” is not available for streaming, but John Holt and George Nooks’ versions are.

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