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Interview: Macka B

Interview: Macka B

Interview: Macka B

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"I'm a soldier fighting for truths and rights. No guns or weapons. Rasta just deals with love"

Sampler

Macka B

Macka B tells the real truth

Macka B is one of the most influential MC’s ever from the UK, and he has been in the music business for about 30 years. This year he has managed to put out two albums after a four year album hiatus. United Reggae had a chat with him about his quest to reveal the truth just before his Curtis Lynch-produced showcase set 'Rasta Soldier' was released in August.

British deejays, or MC’s as they called themselves in the early 80’s, have always fascinated me. Even though they’ve drawn their inspiration from Jamaican originators such as U-Roy and Big Youth, they have an original style and you can often tell a UK MC from a Jamaican deejay.

Macka B has honored his inspirations well, but has at the same time his own unique style, a style that was first put on wax in 1985 when his debut recording Bible Reader was issued. He soon hooked up with Mad Professor, who produced his highly acclaimed debut album 'Sign of the Times', released in 1986. Mad Professor’s creative production together with Macka B’s swinging and melodic social commentaries, often spiced with humor, was an instant success.

“Humor lets down people’s defence and lets down their guard,” explains Macka B with his deep, burly voice over the phone from his home in Wolverhampton, England, near Birmingham, and adds:

“You have to be intelligent and do things in a proper way. I’ll never leave culture and will never chat slackness or badness. I’ve touched many subjects and I sing what the people need to know, not what they like to know. It might not be popular and people might not agree with what I say, but for me it’s the truth.”

Peckings records shop

When Macka B started in the business the reggae scene in Wolverhampton and the nearby area was thriving. Bands such as Capital Letters and Steel Pulse also started here, and Macka B explains that the vibes are nice and that it’s good to be away from the “hustle and bustle” in London.

But it was in London that he met the producer of his latest set 'Rasta Soldier' Curtis Lynch of Necessary Mayhem fame.

“I first met Curtis in Peckings record shop in London about a year ago and they were playing one of his riddims,” Macka B remembers, and continues:

“I was familiar with Curtis’ work from before. Police in Helicopter sounded bad and original. And the music is kind of heavy. It’s a heavy rockers style with a big sound.”

Started with the Gorilla riddim

Macka B and Curtis Lynch kept the connection and the relationship progressed quickly. The first release was Our Music on the Gorilla riddim, and Macka B says he loved the riddim and that the song received a good response.

A year later the pair has put together an album titled 'Rasta Soldier', or maybe more accurately a discomix EP, since there are only six tracks. The majority is however a vocal and a dub version clocking in at around five minutes.

“I’m a soldier fighting for truths and rights. No guns or weapons. Rasta just deals with love. Show love and enjoy the rasta vibration,” says Macka B to explain the title.

Inspiration comes from everywhere

Macka B'Rasta Soldier' is Macka B’s second album this year, and he once again shows his witty and striking social commentaries, taking on subjects such as racism, modern technology, violence and Rastafari. The mood is classic Lynch with grim, introspective and bass heavy beats.

“My other album this year is original vintage, more revival. It’s a different flavor,” he explains, and continues:

“My inspiration comes from everywhere and at anytime. The lyrics just come. Reading, from the television or smoking the holy herb. I have to write them down really fast. That’s how it comes,” he laughs, and reveals some of his favorite topics:

“Rastafari is a good topic, love, slavery, racism and herb,” he says, and explains his view on marijuana:

“Alcohol and being drunk is seen as a good thing, but you take one little spliff and you’re regarded as a criminal. It’s messed up, it’s upside down. It’s a spiritual thing. Jah gave it to man.”

More to this world

When talking to Macka B it feels like speaking to an investigative reporter. Both are passionate about telling the truth and what’s really happening in society. He’s taking the viewpoint from the ordinary man in the streets and will continue until we live in a perfect world.

“People are getting more enlightened,” says Macka B optimistically, but soon adds:

“People must realize that there is more to this world. I channel good vibrations and I want to reach the people.”

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