For over a decade now Sizzla Kalonji has been an incendiary voice in the return of conscious reggae music. Inspired by Rastafari faith and unyielding dedication to social justice and equality, his voice burn oppressors and lifts the proletariat, unabashedly pointing fingers and spitting fire on the status quo like a dread-locked Michael Moore. His latest album, The Scriptures, continues Kalonji’s musical journey through hardship and redempton with irrepressibly Rasta man spirit and immovable dignity.
The Pier: There are several social and political messages at work within the tracks of The Scriptures. Which one is the most important to you?
Sizzla: That would be the first track on the album called “World Cry” because I’m really showing the people what’s happening. I’m showing them love, yeah. You’re spending on guns and drugs and bombs and stuff like those and you’re still not reaching out to the people who are suffering. You found money to make bombs and destructive weapons, but you ain’t finding no money to help people suffering in the Caribbean, in America, just about anywhere in the world including Africa. East, west, north, and south. So “World Cry” is really the one that is more important to me based on the political and social work of art.
The Pier: Which is your favorite track from the album and why?
Sizzla: The whole album is within my favoritism, but I would go with the almighty so I will say “Jah Is My Shield.” Because without the lord to shield you and guide yah, you gon’ fade away. Jah is your shield and your guide. The wicked man gotta turn aside. No need to fear no wicked guide. Rastafari protect your life!
Fear is something that really causes the people not to ascend within the spiritual and physical realm. Once you have Jah as a shield and a guide, you got to arm yourself and nothing can you any harm. Rasta!
The Pier: How does Rastafari influence you as a musician?
Sizzla: Reason being, what you’ve been taught, that’s what you gonna teach the world. So Rastafari is our king or emperor, and being a king, being an emperor you’ve been taught all the ways of the ancestors. With the knowledge and teachings and studying his majesty, I’ve learned to put all these principles and precepts into the music, so that is how it inspires me to be singin’ good songs and makin’ good music for the people. Natural.
So study the emperor, study what makes him an emperor, study the duty of an emperor because the praising of the emperor, who’s this emperor? We know that no emperor lead us unless he’s been givin to us by the almighty God who create heaven and earth sit upon a throne.
Have David. Havin’ the ark of the covenant. Reading Bible. Psalms reading. No crime. No violence. Love going out to all the world. So when I look at his majesty like that, that is how I perceive the king in a good way and that is how I want to see the nation. When I’m gonna sing for them I try to meditate upon his majesty and meditate on what is right and then transmit it to the nation.
That is how Rastafari really influence I and I.
The Pier: Why did you call this album The Scriptures?
Sizzla: We’re all the scriptures. We live the scriptures. The scriptures doesn’t manifest unless it is amongst human beings and the scriptures are for us, written by us. The scriptures didn’t write itself. We wrote the scriptures. In writing this album I’m trying to get good message out to the people. It’s like the scriptures because you know what the scriptures are in the bible. Words of Jah, words of Christ, words of Rasta mon and everything that’s righteous are in the scriptures unto I and I. Taking recalling of everything. So big up yourself.
The Pier: What message do you hope listeners take away from this album in the end?
Sizzla: A message of love and righteousness and peace and to share and care for yourself and share for others as you would share for yourself. A message of your inner thoughts. Knowing what is right and when you’re hearing what I’m saying you can all match up with what’s happening. I hope you get a message of love and to continue the love and continue the spirit that I’m trying to transmit to you in a righteous sense to be in one unity. Rastafari!
I’m merely teaching you to be someone of pride and to be a good leader and that’s the message I want you to take away from this album. And stop killing your brothers and your sisters and help them out in any difficulty they so have upon them. That’s the message. Spread love and continue life. Keep creating life, that’s the message!
– Interview by: Chris Castro