Jamaica Gleaner - - YOUTH LINK -

Health by Llaila Afrika]. I didn’t read much be­fore that, maybe just the Bi­ble and dem tings dere.

“It was re­ally at that point that I started to read about Africa, Rasta, His Majesty, about Ethiopia and other African cul­tures, which led me into an­cient Egypt, and I found out about the deep spir­i­tual roots of that be­ing the ori­gins of even Chris­tian be­lief, as some of the sto­ries from the Bi­ble orig­i­nated in an­cient Egypt. That opened me up to a whole dif­fer­ent side of things. I started learn­ing about In­dia and yoga, and even ty­ing back yoga into Africa – with ki­netic yoga – see­ing the pos­tures and the walls in Egypt. I started to prac­tise (yoga), and re­ally fo­cused on up­lift­ing my spirit and max­imis­ing my spir­i­tual po­ten­tial. That has al­ways been an in­di­vid­ual jour­ney,” Kabaka ex­plained to Youth­link.

The path to self-dis­cov­ery isn’t al­ways easy. It can some­times in­clude fear, con­fu­sion and doubt, as con­flict­ing as­pects of our­selves bat­tle to be­come one. For Kabaka, this con­flict was re­flected in his mu­sic. With roots in both reg­gae and hip hop, he of­ten found dif­fi­culty switch­ing be­tween the two gen­res, and had to find a way to unite the two.


“Peo­ple mostly think that I was rap­ping first and then switched to reg­gae, but I was do­ing both at the same time. They just sounded com­pletely dif­fer­ent, so I de­cided I couldn’t keep do­ing this. I had to try and fuse them into one. So when we did the Rebel Mu­sic EP, that was the con­cept be­hind it – the fu­sion of reg­gae and hip hop – and it has been my sound ever since. So [I took] the lyri­cism of hip hop [and com­bined it] with the melodies and vi­bra­tions of reg­gae mu­sic. [I com­bined] some of the drum pat­tern and grooves of hip hop with the bass line and roots vi­bra­tions of reg­gae,” Kabaka ex­plained.

Kabaka show­cased his mu­si­cal self-con­flict in Kabaka vs Pyra­mid, a sin­gle from his Wal­shy Fire- pro­duced mix­tape, Ac­cu­rate. The video, which was re­leased in Au­gust, shows two Kabakas – the dee­jay and the rap­per – en­gaged in an old-school, freestyle bat­tle.


“I was [in con­flict with my­self] back in the day, and that was the prob­lem. That is why it was dif­fi­cult to re­ally ap­proach the mu­sic from two com­pletely dif­fer­ent sides, al­though I knew there was a con­nec­tion be­tween reg­gae and hip hop. I tried to find those con­nec­tions, just like how Stephen and Damian Mar­ley did – them bring in the hip-hop vibe with reg­gae but it still feels like reg­gae, so that is what I tried to do, and that song (Kabaka vs Pyra­mid) just shows the ex­tent to which it can be dif­fer­ent. At the same time, it still lyri­cal, it still has a vibe, it’s still that Kabaka, that sense of hu­mour is there in the song; I just try to show my ver­sa­til­ity,” he said.

The road to self-dis­cov­ery lies not only in the spir­i­tual but in the phys­i­cal. Many peo­ple wres­tle with ac­cept­ing their phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance as they are bom­barded by dif­fer­ent ideas of beauty on a daily ba­sis and, as such, try to change it. With songs like Free From Chains and Teach Di Youths, the Cam­pion Col­lege grad­u­ate ad­dresses so­cial is­sues of colo­nial­ism and the ef­fects it has had on how black peo­ple view them­selves. He ad­vo­cates for black pride and self-love, and en­cour­ages young peo­ple to ed­u­cate them­selves on their an­ces­tral lin­eages.

“I think Mar­cus Gar­vey talked about self-worth and is a thing that still res­onate in this time. Peo­ple just need to know that the bod­ies that we were given, were for a rea­son – to have a par­tic­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence and a par­tic­u­lar view of life through that body – and if you de­cide that you want to change that, is like seh you a change the plan that God or the Most High had for you in this life weh you a live. So just ap­pre­ci­ate the gifts that you have, and there’s beauty in all things. We are all beau­ti­ful in our own way, and if peo­ple can re­alise that, then I think we would be much bet­ter off,” he said.

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