‘UK’s my n*1 family’
You’re rastafarian, your father was rastafarian and your mother was a Seventh-day Adventist, how did that play out for you as a child?
You know, Jamaican people really care about certain things, which aren’t really a priority to us. The father would stay at home and the mother would go at church. Sometimes she’d come home shaking. She used to attend a revival church, it was frightening and traumatising, *imitating intensive breathing*. You know, the rastafarian, he does what he wants to do, all he has to do is show peace and love and shall unite people. For me, as rastafarian, no disrespect to christianity, but it’s hypocrisy, right there.
I heard you were forced to do music when you were young, what does that mean?
First, Gyptian is very shy. Singing professionally wasn’t my thing. The vibes at the studio weren’t great. Then I got exposure on the TV stations. So I just made use of those and I realised there was something really good happening, people liked my songs. So here I am.
So, what can we expect from your show?
The shows are packed and the people are screaming, as usual, they love this Gyptian wine. As usual. I make the ladies’ bodies feel nice, go home make love to their boyfriend, make love to your wife, whatever. Gyptian please you tonight with music, naturally so. You never know if it’s going to outbreak tonight because different crowd, different feel, different performance. Just freestyle as it goes.
You have a reputation of an incredible artist because of your mix of RNB and Reggae with 8 million views on YouTube. Some classify you as a crossover artist, how do you feel about that?
Crossover whatever, I make it in the market, so pretty much a crossover. It’s all about me, showing the world of reggae, as a reggae artist, it’s not dead. Because that’s what I hear everybody saying: How do you feel about reggae this and reggae that? Reggae will never die because when I die there will still be people listening to reggae. The only way it can die is if they get rid of it in Jamaica, music and politics, I’ve seen, I’ve been all over the world. A lot of people are trying to push reggae aside and just stick to what they have. Come on people! Move on!
A lot of mainstream reggae stations are getting rid of their reggae DJs/shows. People are talking about a conspiracy against reggae and dancehall. How do you view that yourself?
Reggae roots shall weigh more than this. Because the spread of reggae was a real all and all task for Bob then to complete. If you have a strong mind, like Bob, you can do it. This is the people’s heritage, this is part of the heritage, part of the love, part of the thing. I think they should all just let it be, because it’s music. All these people trying to criticise and degrade reggae music. Reggae probably does more for them than many with their music. Because what reggae does for people, really, puts you in touch with answers, you see yourself, you can get meditation vibes. We can’t stop man from being man. And I think that is one of our biggest problems in Jamaica. That’s one of the main things that drives the music, because people think we are degrading them which we are not, because we don’t really know what it would lead to if we said what we really have to say. They should leave us alone, give us a break. For me, as an artist, I just try my best to sing a song that has no politics in it. My songs are all about joy and real time, not serious time. Going for the fundamental spirit of the music, without fighting with the politics. I feel like the people that are picking on the reggae artists should just leave us alone. Music is music. No matter how much you try to stop reggae music, you’re only gonna make it bigger.
The mixtape, sex, love, reggae, out in october. You have real mixes of tunes, ‘Serious times’ and ‘Mama’, and some covers, Gregory Isaacs ‘Number One’ and Cindy Lauper’s ‘True Colours’. There’s a freestyle with Snoop Lion, big combination, what’s the history behind that?
It was big vibes, because, you know, it was Snoop Lion, originally Snoop Dogg. We grew up watching him on TV. I was signing at the radio station and I was told that Snoop was going to be there. I heard that I was suppose to freestyle with Snoop. I was in the corner, it was his moment, so I was just chilling there just thinking. And then I freestyled, and people loved it, you know.
You’ve got some old tunes, remix of riddims, everything is there, it’s nice. A nice mixtape. Your current single Vixen, featuring Angela Hunte, tell me about the track.
For her to get the chance to work with me and me with her, was just like a magnificent aim from the beginning. So, pretty much, we went in the studio working from time to time. It was a new experience and a new environment around the music. Pretty much, because she came from jamaica just for a visit, so there was a good vibe of love. Love and respect and everything else. I really appreciated it, big up to Angela Hunte.
You ride a horse in the music video
I’d ridden a donkey, not a horse. I had this big gigantic horse. I was like: ‘Is this really necessary?’. I thought that was the interesting part. After that shoot they had this snake in a cage. I went to the cage that was standing there until someone came up and told me it was a snake. The snake is in a box, it’s not like it’s coming out. ‘It’s not venomous’. They didn’t tell me I was going to put a snake around my neck. I was like ‘Rascassa, no’. ‘Gyptian’s snake is not venomous’, no snake, the horse riding was enough. We did one extreme part let’s stick to that. It was nice and everybody enjoyed themselves.
The way you move is fantastic.
You move like, some girls like it in some way. We all know this. You have to read the mind, you have to read the eyes, the body language and all these things. Because first, you have to know a women can take one glimpse at a man if she wants to. While we men, think our face is pretty and at the same time we wanna have a back stare, a back look when she passes. You’ve got 10 men in a room and everyone want this one girl, do you know who she wants? The one that isn’t giving her attention. That’s the man she’ll really want. You wonder why? Is it that he is not paying attention to her? I’ll be the one like, she’s staring, I’ll be drinking or I’ll be doing something different until she comes over. This is why, then we come and ask me. Pretty much, it speaks for itself.
When is a full studio album coming out?
20th of this month. You’ll get the sound that you need. I don’t know what else to say.
It’s black history month this month, any special message, especially to the black community?
Pretty much, we black people have come from far far away. We haven’t been paid for all the work we put in. I guess we are not gonna get any consultation. But at the same time this is our month, so listen, black with power, power with the people. Mad love, mad life, mad respect and everything. When I say mad I mean good.