Rastafarians have their own dialect of English called lyaric, which is also known as Dread-talk or I-talk. One of the most important words in lyaric is Babylon, a term for oppressive, corrupt and discriminatory governments or societal systems. Sometimes it may also be used in a more specific way to refer to the police. The Rastafarian use of the word derives from the account in the Christian Bible of the Judean Jews being held captive in the city of Babylon (an event known as the Babylonion captivity or the Babylonian exile).
The lyrics of the Rastafarian song Rivers of Babylon are based on Psalm 137 of the Christian Bible, which describe the Babylonian captivity, and on the final part of Psalm 19. The song was first recorded by the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians in 1970, and gained widespread popularity in Europe following the release of Boney M's cover version.
Listen here to The Melodians' version of Rivers of Babylon on Spotify.
Listen here to the Boney M version on Spotify.