Musical Style and Influences
Sublime was one of the most popular bands of the third wave of ska, specifically characterized as ska punk. Their genre-blending mash-up style incorporated elements of dub, reggae, first-wave and second-wave ska, punk rock, hardcore punk, rockabilly, improvised dancehall, hip hop, psychedelic rock and acoustic rock, which they developed through their live shows.
Bob Marley and associated Jamaican reggae acts The Wailers, and Peter Tosh feature prominently in Sublime's songs, as do other Jamaican reggae and dancehall acts such as Born Jamericans, Toots & the Maytals, The Melodians, Wayne Smith, Tenor Saw, Frankie Paul, The Wailing Souls, Barrington Levy, Half Pint and Yellowman. The band additionally covered "Smoke Two Joints" originally by Oregon-based reggae group The Toyes.
Sublime was also heavily influenced by the 1980s and 1990s hip-hop and rap scene of Los Angeles and New York City, alluding to or borrowing from such acts as N.W.A and Eazy-E (who died 14 months before Nowell), the Beastie Boys, Just-Ice, Public Enemy and Flavor Flav, KRS-One, Doug E. Fresh, Too $hort, Mobb Deep, as well as the Philadelphia-based rapper Steady B and Texas hip-hop The Geto Boys.
The southern California metal, surf rock and punk scene influencing Sublime includes Big Drill Car (who were thanked in the first two albums), The Ziggens, Minutemen, The Descendents, Bad Religion, The Bel-Airs, Butthole Surfers, Secret Hate, as well as fellow fusion band Fishbone. Sublime was also influenced by Washington, DC hardcore acts such as Minor Threat, Fugazi (who were also thanked in the first album) and Bad Brains. The band also referenced popular California bands like Grateful Dead, The Doors, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as Swedish band ABBA.
A few references are made to funk, R&B, and soul bands such as James Brown, the Ohio Players, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Aswad, as well as a smattering of Irish, Scottish and English bands like Boomtown Rats, The Specials, and Primal Scream.
Sublime's music was highlighted by bass-driven grooves, reggae rhythms, elaborately-cadenced rhyme schemes and transitions between paces and styles throughout a given song, sometimes alternating between thrash punk, ska and reggae within the same song (see "Seed"). Their music often contains psychedelic, harmonic minor-based or bluesy guitar solos, rhythmically-improvised bass solos or dub-lines, turntable scratching and rolling drum transitions and heavy bass lines. They are known for being one of the first and most influential reggae fusion musicians.
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