Over the past two decades Capleton has established a reputation as one of the music industry’s most militant MCs.
His evangelical brand of Rasta-inspired dancehall may not be to everyone’s liking, but he undoubtedly remains one of the genre’s popular entertainers.
Below are excerpts from a series of controversial and thought-provoking interviews conducted with Capleton (real name, Clifton George Bailey III) and published in New Nation newspaper between 2001 and 2004.
I was at one of your first UK shows in 1991. Ironically, Pan Head – who was shot to death two years later – performed that night and came on stage singing: We haffi dead wid wi gun inna wi hand / We nah go dead like no coward…
[Capleton interrupts] But that was his mistake. He should have said ‘We have to live’. Whatever you say and think will manifest; that’s the energy. You have to know what you’re doing with words. It’s just like Garnet Silk’s song A Man is Just a Man. He sings: ’What’s the difference between the wise and the fool; when the wise lives and dies, likewise the fool?’
That’s wrong because the wise man lives forever. If the wise man lived and died like the fool that means Jah is dead. The real difference is the wise man can play the fool, but the fool can’t play wise. You must be careful with words.
I’ve often heard you tell people to stop watching TV and read more. What’s wrong with watching TV?
TV is a mental ting Babylon uses to ramp with your mind. They give you certain things to focus on knowing that if do, you will end up thinking and manifesting them. That’s why they invent things like TV; to take away your meditation. I call it tel-lie-vision. It’s even worse for the kids, because they don’t know any different so they literally live what they are learning. And whenever it’s instilled in them, it’s not gonna be so easy to blot it out.
In the song Stay Far From Trouble you sing about the Biblical ‘beast’. Who or what is the beast?
[Laughs] America. It’s all about power. Everything is right in front of our eyes; we just have to calculate and see. America is the biggest terrorist throughout the whole of the Earth.
The Bible is a very confusing book; I don’t think it should be taken literally…
These are the things that have misled the people since creation; even in terms of the crucifixion and resurrection. All they ever teach us is about death. They teach us to live in a dead world and tell us we have to die to see God; and that God was crucified and put underground. That’s a dead concept.
InI come to bring it on a life level. We are showing the youths that resurrection doesn’t literally mean a man rising from underneath the earth. A man is dead to what he doesn’t know. Whenever he knows and realises; he gets resurrected. Crucifixion doesn’t literally mean nailing a man to a cross. You can crucify a man with injustice; that is the level we need to get the people on.
Many of your songs focus on topics such as terrorism and war. What’s your opinion on the conflict in the Middle East?
Politics is systematically designed to have people fighting against each other, even on an economical level; and that’s what’s happening. They found oil and gas in Afghanistan that the world never really knew existed. It’s the same reason America tried to bomb Saddam Hussein in 1991 – because of the oil in Kuwait. It’s all about oil and gas.
What message do you have for youths who look up to you as a role model?
Have patience, faithfulness, idurance, a clean heart, a clear conscience and a firm meditation. Be yourself as nothing but yourself can free your mind. Stay focused, know what your goals are and reach for them.