Tell me, are these the reasons, you can’t live right?”
—Ziggy Marley, “I am a Human,” from “Rebellion Rises”
Need a few tips on making it to the next U.S. presidential election in 2020?
Here’s one—keep calm and listen to Ziggy Marley’s “Rebellion Rises.” Tune out of Fox news, BET and CNN, log out of FB, Insta and Twitter. Take “Rebellion Rises” with you to your work station, to school, to yoga to Zumba, to the beach, on a walk, on a drive. Continue to breathe. Namaste.
Marley’s seventh full-length solo studio album, released today on the family’s Tuff Gong Worldwide label, is a 10-track masterpiece that continues his father’s tradition of promoting emancipation from mental slavery through education, social activism and healthy living.
One good thing about Bob Marley—he taught his son to how to fight back with lyrics and music. Accompanying the eight time Grammy winner, singer, songwriter, musician and producer on the journey towards liberation and inner peace are world class musicians from Ziggy Marley’s touring band, such as Takeshi Akimoto (guitar), George Hughes (keyboards), Paul Stennett (bass) and Tracy Hazzard (vocals). It should be noted that the vocals on “Rebellion Rises” were ebulliently arranged by Kenya Hathaway, the daughter of R&B great Donny Hathaway as well as the sister of Lalah Hathaway.
In fine form, “Rebellion Rises” opening track, “See Dem Fake Leaders,” begins with a scathing indictment of dangerous political “shitstems:”
“See dem fake leaders
In the place of power they sit From religion to politics Riding a wave of fear
Starting fires, they don’t care Making enemies out of friends
Killing thousands, hundreds and tens, If only they could lead
The world to peace and prosperity”
“See Dem Fake Leaders” segues into the rootsy, bass heavy track, “The Storm is Coming,” which features a rap by Ziggy’s young son, Gideon. Marley warns that we must harambe (Swahili for pull together) lest we perish in the storm. With business ventures such as the Kayafest, Marley Naturals, Catch a Fire clothing and the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, Ziggy and his siblings have become influencers of popular culture. At press time, “Circle of Peace,” one of the first singles released from “Rebellion Rises” (featuring Stephen “Ragga” Marley on vocals) had been added to Ziggy’s Rebel Reggae playlist on Pandora. Note the popularity of millennial baby names such as Marley and Kaya.
Like iconic father, Ziggy sees love as a crucial aspect of revolution. “High on Life,” “Your Pain is Mine” and Change Your World” (‘Can I talk to you for a little while? My name is Ziggy and I’m a little bit shy. Hey!” ) are groovy, playful love songs that make you wanna dance. And oh, those mellifluous vocal arrangements! One of this writer’s personal favorites is the truly Jamaican, horn infused track, “I Will Be Glad,” which encourages savoring simple pleasures such as watching a good movie, playing some ball, checking on your grand auntie, listening to some good reggae music and praising the Almighty.
Ziggy Marley’s unique brand of mellow reggae, rock, folk, jazz, African alternative music is a catalyst as well as a haven. Last fall, the Marley family was the subject of controversy when guitarist Tom Morello flipped over his guitar revealing a sign that read “Fuck Trump” during an all star tribute to Bob Marley’s “Exodus” album at the Orpheum theater in Los Angeles.
Ziggy Marley is no stranger to the struggle and experienced his share of violence and terror resulting from politics. In a 5/13 Mother’s Day Instagram post, Ziggy recalled how his mother, Rita Marley, negotiated safe passage for herself and her children as they drove through a riot and a road block in Trenchtown, JA.
“I will never forget that moment seeing my mother face them down, not begging or pleading but with such strength and authority,” Ziggy posted. “A lot of people talk about my father; they don’t know my mother and the example she set for us. As a young boy, that left an impression on me that inspires me to this day.”said Ziggy.
“Jah call up on all people
To reject the principles of hate and rebel against those doctrines and the violence that they create. They say time changes everything but we change times.
It’s too bad that the Jamaican born Marley cannot run for U.S. president in 2020.