The album's tracks were recorded by the band and producer Jay Dublee at 171-A Studios in New York City from August through October 1981, with the exception of "Jah Calling", "Pay to Cum" and "I Luv I Jah", which were recorded live in the studio on May 16, 1981.
When the album was released in 1982, fans and critics alike were stunned to learn that the musicians behind this album – one of the fastest albums of all time upon its release – were African-AmericanRastafarians who also were skilled at reggae.
Many of the album's tracks were re-recorded for their 1983 follow-up, Rock for Light, with the exception of "Don't Need It", "The Regulator", "Jah Calling", "Leaving Babylon", "Pay to Cum", "I Luv Jah" and "Intro".
Sublime often performed Bad Brains tunes during live shows. The deluxe edition of their Sublime album included "I Luv I Jah", reworked with different lyrics as "I Love My Dog". The DVD of their Everything Under the Sun also contained a live version of "Leaving Babylon".