Kabaka Pyramid has an ingenious blend of Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop in his music. He is a lyricist with the ability to spread positive messages of spirituality and consciousness through a smooth and hypnotizing sound. Stylz it had the opportunity of speaking to Kabaka Pyramid about his career, his influences, the Revivals and his name.
Stylz It: Whats does the name “Kabaka Pyramid” means and how did it come about?
Kabaka: Kabaka means King in Buganda and the pyramid was added as a symbol of long lasting precision and stability.
Stylz It: Your style seems unorthodox in a reggae setting, with complex rhymes with precise vocabulary. Who are your musical influences and do you think the crossover with hip hop/rap with dancehall is a good mixture?
Kabaka: Artists like Sizzla, Capleton, Buju, Norrisman, I-wayne along with others like Common, Canibus, Wu-tang Clan, and Dead Pres etc have influenced my sound and vibes. I think it is what it is and it's up to the people to decide if it works!
Stylz It: How influential is Rastafari to your music?
Kabaka: Anything that influences my life influences my music, and Rasta is a major influence on my life so it is ever present in my music.
Stylz It: You were very passionate and outspoken about the Pinnacle issue and the legacy of Leonard P Howell. What was the reason for you to take up this issue and present it to your fans and the world at large?
Kabaka: Well, L.P. Howell is said to be the first Rastaman, so as a Rastaman myself it is only right I look into this man. What he was able to achieve at Pinnacle is a symbol of the possibilities we can accomplish if we organize and centralize. So it is important that people get to see that so we can apply it to ourselves and make a better living in this time.
Stylz It: When anyone speaks about Kabaka Pyramid, two songs come to mind “Capitalist” and “Never Gonna be a Slave”. These songs can be described as social protest against the ‘system’ in Jamaica. Do you consider yourself as the voice of the youths who are crying out for a change?
Kabaka: I think I am one of the voices. There are many more like myself!
Stylz It: Not much reggae/dancehall artiste brought the concept of a EP promo release until lately. You released the “Rebel Music” and “Lead the Way” via EP. What’s the advantage of putting out a collection of 5-8 songs that are all new as opposed to the Traditional 17-20 track album that has a mixture of both old and new tracks?
Kabaka: They are different approaches. Sometimes we want a fresh sound to be put out or a certain theme for a collection of songs - that is ideal for an EP. I think that works in this age as it is less work than an album to complete and it’s a good promotional tool. For me it just depends on the mission at the moment. Rebel Music was to introduce me as an artist, so we gave it away free. Lead The Way was to compile songs that we thought didn't get a strong enough push when they were released individually.
Stylz It: With the input of the Revivals (Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx, Protoje, Jesse Royal, Iba Mahr, Kelissa and others) into reggae music and creating a surge in popularity amongst the people, does this give an indication as to what’s missing in the music right now in Jamaica?
Kabaka: Well, whatever we bring to the table is no longer missing, and the people are gravitating towards it more and more!
Stylz It: What can we expect from Kabaka Pyramid for 2015 and into the future? Any plans to go into other ventures namely clothing line, books etc.?
Kabaka: We have plans for expanding our merchandise via shirts, hats, armbands etc. No books in the making as yet. I am doing some producing as well; also my production for Koro Fyah's first single "New Day" is now out on the Bebble Rock Label.