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“Pass The Dutchie” – Musical Youth

First, if you don’t read anything else read this: this song isn’t about drugs.

However, it has it’s origins with a song about marijuana.  More about that later!

“Pass the Dutchie” was originally released in 1982 by the British band Musical Youth.  The song was an instant hit, sitting at #1 on the UK singles chart for over 3 WEEKS and selling over 5 million copies worldwide.  The song went Gold in both the UK and France, and Platinum in Canada.  Aside from that it was the #1 song in many countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden… the list goes on.

The song was adapted from “Pass the Kouchie” by the Mighty Diamonds, which is about exactly what most people assume “Pass the Dutchie” is about; smoking pot.  However, because the song is sung by teenagers the lyrics were changed to be about extreme hunger.  “Dutchie” is used as a patois term to refer to a food cooking pot such as a Dutch oven in Jamaica and the Caribbean. It has since become a drug reference in itself, denoting a blunt stuffed with marijuana and rolled in a wrapper from a Dutch Masters cigar, since American and British listeners assumed that the term were a drug reference.  Funny how culture works eh?

Although the band eventually fell into drug addiction and issues, this song continues to be a reggae classic.  The band also holds the distinction of being the first black musicians to appear on MTV with the music video you see above.  Pretty special stuff!

Lyrics here.

More about Musical Youth here.

Pass the Dutchie - Dancehall 101, Vol. 3

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