Orville “Bagga” Case, a graphic designer, said the record labels wanted “the guy from Switzerland to feel warm when he sees albums [from Jamaica]”. However, the temperature in the 1960s Kingston ghetto was far more intense than mento and calypso albums implied. In fact, it was quite hot.
Lack of opportunity among Jamaica's poor gave rise to “rude boy culture,” comprising unemployed young men from overpopulated Kingston communities. Lacking the economic means to better themselves, rude boys decided to take things by force. In neighborhood, without the means to house, employ or clothe residents, the ghetto poor viewed rude boys as folk heroes; the Jamaican elite considered them outlaws and criminals. The Wailers epitomize the rude boy ethos.
The Wailers and many other reggae artists like them, lent street credibility and a far-reaching voice to the deteriorating social and political situation. For reggae artists, musicians and graphic designers, music and art were powerful weapons used to upset the social order and establish a Jamaican identity that recognizes the untenable plight of the ghetto poor. If the music of musicians spanning from Skatalites and the Wailers, to Burning Spear and onward was regarded as cultural weaponry, then the cover art in which the recordings were offered was the flag that symbolized the army of liberation. Neville Garrick, Bob Marley's artistic director, used flags that represented liberated African nations on Survival, Marley's album of militant and redemptive songs.
Survival is an excellent example of the newly established concept album, which allowed greater artistic control. This opened opportunity for musicians to strengthen the message by aligning lyrics and song choices, previously done by the producer, with reggae became Jamaica's first expression of popular culture to propel the island's Afro-centred political, social and cultural identity throughout the Caribbean Diaspora and eventually into the international mainstream. As a result of reggae's trans-Atlantic acceptance, the music received the support of the middle class and transcended conservative, uptown post-colonial sensibilities.