The song is a tribute to Roots reggae, a subgenre of reggae music known for political radicalism. Specifically, the band is acknowledging that "the roots, the reggae on my stereo" to which the band listened during their teenage years influenced their later work. The title lyric and the line "you know I'm a radical," refer to the Jimmy Cliff song "Roots Radical", which features the chorus, "I'm a radical, I'm a roots radical". One of the repeated verses references Desmond Dekker, one of the most successful roots musicians. The song also draws inspiration from Bunny Wailer's "Roots, Radics, Rockers and Reggae" and Stiff Little Fingers version of that song, "Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae". The "60 bus", which is mentioned in the beginning of the song, refers to a transit route that runs north from downtown Campbell, California along Winchester Boulevard to Santa Clara. The "43 bus," referenced in the song, is the defunct AC Transit 43 line which ran from El Cerrito Plaza, through Albany, Berkeley and Oakland to the Eastmont section of Oakland.  A line from "Roots Radicals" provided the name for Give 'Em the Boot, a series of Hellcat Records compilations albums.