Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Barrington Levy - "Under Mi Sensi" (example, lyrics, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases Barrington Levy's now classic 1984 Reggae song "Under Mi Sensi" (original version). Information about Barrington Levy is included in this post. A sound file of "Under Mi Sensi" (original version), song lyrics, and explanations about some of the words or phrases in that song are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Barrington Levy for his musical legacy. Thanks also to the publisher of this example on YouTube, and all those who are quoted in this post.

Click for a companion post about the meaning of the word "Babylon" in Barrington Levy's "Under Mi Sensi" and In Jamaican culture.

"Barrington Ainsworth Levy (born 30 April 1964)[1] is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist.

Levy was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. He formed a band called the Mighty Multitude, with his cousin, Everton Dacres; the pair released "My Black Girl" in 1977.[1][2] Levy established his solo career the next year with "A Long Time Since We Don't Have No Love";[2] though the single was a failure, the fourteen-year-old was a popular performer at Jamaican dancehalls

...He began working with Paul "Jah Screw" Love and toured the UK in 1984, where he enjoyed a big hit on the reggae charts with "Under Mi Sensi", which was followed by the crossover hit "Here I Come", which reached number 41 in the UK Singles Chart in 1985".

SHOWCASE SOUND FILE: Barrington LevY-Under Mi Sensi (original version)

Micaah Alina, Uploaded on Feb 7, 2008
Note that some commenters wrote that this isn’t the full song.

(Barrington Levy, original version)

Waoh, hey, waoh, see, waoh, see, oh well, hey
Ah, from mi stand up inna volcano
Ah, from den mi bun di ganja pipe
Babylon come an tell mi dat naw right
Mi say mi bun it an pass it on da right

Mi say dem come in and dem lookin' pon di dread
Dem say, "Hey natty dread locks, a where you come from?
You muss have two stick a sensi under your tam"
Mi say, "No officer, lawd, you muss be madd
Mi only smoke cigarette an strictly shag"

Ooh, see, waoh, see, oh well, hey

Under mi sensi, mi under mi sensi
Under mi sensi, mi under mi sensi
Under mi sensi , mi under mi sensi
Under mi sensi, mi under mi sensi, waoh

See, waoh, ooh, waoh, hey
All over mi Babylon, dats all over mi
All over mi Babylon dats all over mi
Dem no ramp wid me, I strictly sensi
All over mi Babylon, it's all over mi

Oh no, what? Oh no, see
All over mi Babylon, it's all over mi
All over mi Babylon, it's all over mi
All over mi wicked mann, it's all over mi
Oh no, see, waoh

Hey, Babylon, you no like ganja mann
But ya weed bring da foreign currency pon di island
To Babylon no badda charge me, SA
To Babylon no badda charge mi, SA
One box pon mi lip a bare blood start spit
To Babylon no badda charge mi, SA

posted by Eddy “Teddy” Tee (2015) in the discussion thread of

A dread [a member of a Rastafi community) is outside smoking ganja and listening to music when a police officer stops and begins to hassles him. The dread tells the police officer that though the officer don't like men who smoke marijuana, it's marijuana that brings money to the island nation. The dread then gets bad and threatens the policeman telling him not to charge him (arrest him or fine him). If he does it's all over, and if he hits him in the lip (mouth) then he will hit him back (a bare blood start spit).

Unless otherwise noted, these comments were posted in the discussion thread of the sound file which is embedded above (

Additions and corrections are welcome.

Title "Under Mi Sensi" - "mi" = my; sensi [read the comments below]
ThePlaguedtx, 2009
..."semilla" means "kernel" or "seed" en espanol and "sin" means without.

Sensimillia is thus a slang term meaning exactly what I just said, it's dank weed with no seeds."

THChroniCheeba, 2013
"'sensi' is nothing to do with smell or scent. sensi is short for sensimilla which is what occurs when you stop a cannabis plant from pollination meaning it will grow without seeds. only the female bud."

waoh, see
Ras Samson I, 2015
"Waoh, see it"
i'n not sure if this comment is from that discussion thread or another one that I read.

I think "see it" means "understand [what I'm saying]". If so, its meaning is the same as or similar to the African American Vernacular use of "Dig" ("Dig it"), ("You dig?") and "You follow me?" when one of those terms is used at the end of a sentence.

"Ah, from mi stand up inna volcano/ Ah, from den mi bun di ganja pipe"
Tablesaw, 2010
"you notice how from the very first line barrington lets you know he is representing for VOLCANO sound. thats right , this tune is a dubplate !! not only does he shout out volcano he also big ups danny dread the selecta from volcano. go listen to his other hit " here i come " and see if you can find the volcano reference.
"ganja" another term for marijuana, weed, sensimilla

Tablesaw, 2010
"me stand up pon VOLCANO sound an burn the ganga pipe !!! big ups to volcano everytime, most of the people that view this have no idea bout volcano sound. but without it there would've never been this tune !!!"

dread - a reference to a person who wears dreadlocks (a person who is a member of the Rastafari religion)
Note: All Rastafari don't need to wear their hair in dreads. Also, all Rastafari don't smoke ganja as part of their religion.

natty either means "a person or an article of clothing) smart and fashionable"
or "Natty Dreadlocks (synonyms "Natty Dread", "Natty", "Dready" or "Dread") is a Rastafari term for a member of the Rastafari community. The image of such a man is often used in reggae music and elsewhere to represent an idealised personification of the Rastafari movement as a whole. It combines the term natty (as in "knotty") and a style of knotted and twisted dreadlocks, worn for spiritual reasons. The term is also used to refer to the dreadlocks hair style."
Perhaps in the context of Reggae music the word "natty" carries both meanings.

morphic666x, 2012
"[commenter] @BABYLONsENEMY it's "under your TAM" not "tongue", a Tam being a rasta hat ;)"
The dread has two joints of sensi under his cap (tam).

In the context of this song, "babylon" means "police officer".
A pancocojams post will be published ASAP which features comments from this discussion thread about the meaning of the word "babylon" in Reggae music.

no badda - better not

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