Kalonji Speaks On The Motherland, The Messiah, Losing Fattis and Finding Snoop Lion
Sizzla’s new album The Messiah finds Sizzla near the heights of his creative powers. This new set of tunes harkens back to some of his greatest works Black Woman and Child and Da Real Ting among them. On “Give Them A Ride” he sang, “Words without works can’s sustain.” Now after his bike accident, the death of his mentor Phillp “Fatis” Burris, and his time in the motherland, Sizzla seems reinvigorated and more committed than ever to works—raising awareness of the conditions of the sufferers worldwide and proclaiming His Majesty as the true and living God. Kalonji took time to speak with Boomshots on the new songs, life after Fatis and his next plans. Run it: Interview by Rob Marriott After The Jump…
ROB MARRIOTT: This album seems to speak to the present state of the globe at the moment. How would you describe the state of the world right now?
SIZZLA KALONJI: Well presently, we all know the economic climate and we all see what’s happening. Wars and rumors of wars. Mistrust, dishonesty. Mothers against daughters, fathers against sons. The government is not really fulfilling their promises unto the people. The state of the world is a bit shabby right now. We need to all come together and see how best we can contribute to the human family and the well being of the people of the world. Sellasie I.
You are talking about the Babylonian illusion?
Is Babylon stronger now than it once was?
At no time will I put evil over goodness, y’know. Good conquers all. But you can still still feel the presence of the slavemaster’s implementation upon the people. Through the system, through the devices, through the media, through just about everything because it’s Babylon, bredren.
Sizzla shocks out live on Sting 2012
What inspired this album? This is slightly different than what you been doing recently.
Well, naturally being an artist who’s been out there for quite some time and being personal with the people, with knowing the culture of I and I people as black people and seeing where we are in this present time, the state of our people are… it is only best to help the people get that clarity from His Majesty and look forward in life. So I can help by making beautiful sounds to open the eyes of the people in the world and inspire those who are downhearted. To uplift those who have drag their spirit through the daily activities in Babylon. So the inspiration is from Jah, seeing what’s happening in our present communities. What’s happening in the world. My family. All those thing put together bredren gave me all those inspiration.
You’ve recently been to Africa. Did you get to see a lot of the continent?
I’ve been to Zimbabwe, I’ve been to Bulawayo, city of kings. Harare. I’ve been to a lot of places. I’ve been to South Africa, been to Johannesburg, I’ve been to Capetown and I’ve seen the living condition. And being an artist out here in the world who has been blessed with that golden opportunity to go through, as you would say, the lifestyle, the beauty in Babylon, the fantasy and all those things, the fanciness, the heights the riches, the fame, the popularity and know my stand and place in the earth. I went back to Africa and see the present condition it is in. I don’t really accept that. This is not really satisfactory to me so I think I should do something about it. So I choose to be composing these songs.
Talk about the reception you received. I heard so much about your show in Ghana. It was a wild security scene but once you step on stage you just calm the masses.
Natural, bredren. Because music is life and people love the music and the Rastafari. We are all about creating, going back to Africa and developing the continent. See, I went to Ghana and did two shows for Ghana’s Independence celebrations and made it cheap for all the people.
Sizzla Celebrates Ghana’s Independence in Accra 2010
Under Garvey and Nkrumah’s Black Star.
The people they had a warm spirit towards I and I as black people returning back to the continent. The people, they await us man, they await our arrival. They say, Sizzla when you go home tell all the children to come home to Africa. Each and every one. So I and I, the work continue.
Did your perspective change once you touch the motherland?
Yeah in some way because that is the motherland. We all want better for our families, for other families. We all need better for the nation and all people. So therefore we know where we are today. We need good houses, we need farms, we need factories and going to Africa and not seeing these..opportunities for black people , you look into yourself, man.
Did it change your perspective on Jamaica?
No, because the people of Jamaica are the people of Africa. They are one. So what we need to do is unite as a people. Because the same thing that is happening in Jamaica, the same thing need to be happening in Africa. That is: creativity, increase in education, healthcare. More love. More tangible representation as a nation. Y’know, represent the people well. We need to create. Everyday you see people in Jamaica creating, with construction going on, farming, kids going to school and university, trying to get their degrees. So it is the same tings we need on the continent. It’s one people. One Jah for us all. So we just need to unite the people and share the culture, share the education and share the ideas about creating Africa and teaching our people where we are coming from. The Western world is being developed and being civilized on what they got from Africa. And the only difference between Jamaican and the continent is the land. And the system ruling over the people; the colonial system. But it is one people, one planet and the world depends on Africa. So we need to develop the roads, build the resevoirs, irrigation. It’s just natural.
What do you think of the state of the Rastafarian culture?
It can only get better. And Rastafari culture is the culture from beginning, from Genesis. I and I Jah heart a Rastaman. Knowhat I’m sayin’? So you mus’ know Rastafari is from iration, head Creator. And our culture all stems from Rastafari — meaning King David lineage, King Solomon lineage unto Haile Sellasie and all the great kings before us. So it can never change. It can only get better and the only get stronger, so the only way we can go is up. We can’t go down, we can only go up because we have nothing to lose. I think we’ve lost a lot already and we are still going strong, so…Rastafari is from foundation. It will never change. Sometimes it might seem a bit dormant because you know the fight against our culture.
So do you see someone like Snoop embracing Rastafari as a problem or a solution?
Snoop changing his name to Lion and embracing Rastafari, do you have a problem with it or not. Because you released some tune critical of him…
Well Snoop Dogg is the problem and I think he has found the solution. And I think that is the way. Because like name, like nature. ‘Cause we been given a lot of colonial names wherein which my name is Miguel Collins based on which maybe my mom like that name. But I’m not really a Collins. It’s some African name me supposed to have. Y’see me a seh? So Snoop Dogg embracing Rastafari culture, that’s wonderful. Because Rasta is for the whole wide worl’. Snoop himself know him a Rasta. Him fi just find himself and know ‘im culture and know where ‘im people comin’ from and see the present situation the nation is at right now and just deal wit the matter, bredren.
So you’ve had a kind of change of heart.
Yeah. It’s great ‘cause when Snoop Dogg find himself and know that Rastafari is the true and living God, King of Creation, a whole lotta people following Snoop Dogg started doing their own research and began researching His Majesty wanting to know why a great artist we love like Snoop Dogg seeking Rastafari — those followers find themselves. Yeah? And dem learn more. Because once you study about his Majesty you learn about Africa because He’s the Emperor. An’ you know who an emperor is already. Someone who is great, someone with respect, dignity. Head of State. So if Snoop seh ‘im a seek Rasta, Snoop shoulda know from mahnin ‘im bahn Rasta and it’s the system trying detour us from our original African culture and spiritual system. So big respect SD. Rastafari accepts everyone because Rasta is love, bredren.
So with this album you didn’t work with Bobby Digital this time. Who did you work with on this one?
Donald Dennis original Firehouse crew, bass player Melborne Miller, Dean Frasier and engineers like Robert Mercy and Richard Bromwell a lot more musicians. Variety is the spice of life. And ever since the passing of the great Phillip Fatis Burrell, y’know, I just tek this work more serious.
What did you lose when Fatis passed?
A great icon, man. A mentor. Man who lay the foundation, man. A great column in reggae music. Reggae music produce some great musicians and great producers and promoters. Also and we have plenty fans following reggae music. So when we lose Phillip Fatis Burrell we lose a foundation. Someone who had open the door not just Sizzla but for a whole lot of other entertainers. It a great loss, bredren. But y’know it is a stepping stone and mus’ keep centered to push through the work, bredren.
What songs from this album are you feeling particularly?
I like “Center of Attraction” and I like “Psalms 121.” A great, great, great grandfather song [from] King David so we jus’ sing it back. [Laughs]. It is a beautiful album. I dub the album The Messiah for the fact… after my accident I release an album called The Scriptures then again the Scriptures spoke of the Messiah so I deemed it right to give them this in the present time.
We always speak of David lineage as the Messiah lineage so you know we speak of Christ from that time. David same way. Solomon is a Messiah same way. Just about anyone who comes in the name of His Majesty each one a living king. Rastafari leading black people. In your own way you are a Messiah also because it means “anointed”. Yeah? Anointed. In Hebrew you would say Mashiach. Which means “to anoint”. So when I say Messiah, it is someone who has been anointed to the works of the Most High. Sometimes it is good to give albums name like this to stand out in the minds of the people.
Even the vibration of the word is a message.
Where are you now in terms of your career?
The state of my career right is that I want to deal with the well being of the nation as a whole so I’m just set ting up structures like the Sizzla Youth Foundation to get very much involved in the all the activities for upliftment: the netball, the football, music, education, evening classes. And reach out to the people of the world because Sizzla is an icon, a voice of the people. Not only to have people singing and dancing to my songs. We can use this music and the channels open up gives us a chance to reach a lot more people suffering out there.
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