Reasoning with Macka B Image

by Biko Kennedy

With an unmatched catalogue of singles and albums, Macka B is certainly one of the quintessential persons responsible for the growth and the explosion of the UK reggae scene. We recently caught up with him to learn more about his most recent offering Health is Wealth.

JAMusic: What would you consider to be the greatest contributor to your musical diversity and versatility?
MB: The totality of my experiences in life. Cultural awareness, inner consciousness. Striving for wisdom, knowledge and overstanding. I have always read a lot trying to educate myself on various subjects. Absorbing the positive vibrations of those that came before us. And of course my RasTafari faith.

JAMusic: How does your musical influences compound when you are sitting to write a song and record it? / Apart from them being timeless, what drew you to all the artistes that influence your sound?
MB: When I first began writing songs there would be aspects of my musical influences that I would incorporate into my songs. But as time progressed ,I soon realised that whilst giving thanks for the inspiration they gave, you must then  look deep within yourself and connect with the Almighty. Personally that is my key to originality and longevity. The things that drew me to the artistes that initially influenced me was their consciousness, sincerity and positive vibes that they projected.

JAMusic: Let’s talk a bit about your album ‘Health is Wealth’, how did you approach this project differently from your previous releases? 
MB: The album came together in a mystical way. It is comprised of Brand new songs and songs that were already released on different labels. It has producers  from Jamaica, UK, Japan and Germany. It’s the first album that I have had with so many different producers. All of whom felt privileged for me to include their track on my album. The love and Respect I received was great. From only a thought the album seemed to just manifest in the blink of an eye. Mystical


JAMusic: What’s the underlining message throughout ‘Health is Wealth'?
MB: The underlining message is Health. Physical Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health, Cultural Health. Some tracks are about eating healthy, some are cultural issues some are social commentary somespiritual. Healthy body, Healthy mind that’s the message.

JAMusic: What is your point of view on the reggae scene in England?
MB: Reggae is still strong in England, there are a lot of very good artists and bands doing great works. Reggae in England is not promoted in the media as much as other genres. Reggae music is such a powerful positive unifying force and it is no coincidence that the most negative music is promoted the most in society. There is a reason why Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Gregory Issacs and many more went to live in the UK. The Reggae vibes is there amongst the people and can explode again at any given time

 JAMusic: In few songs you have talked about the condition of women in the dancehall, what do you think is the situation now, especially with the rise of Shenseea and the dominance of Spice.
MB:
I would love to see conscious women in the dancehall too with positive uplifting lyrics. I  see woman as the mother of civilisation somebody who must be respected and honoured. You have male DJ’s who chat conscious inna the dancehall so the females should be able to do so also and go through same way. At the moment it is not balanced .There is a lot more to them than what is being portrayed, Spice is  a very good lyricist like old school, when she touches certain reality lyrics she buss the place. It would be nice to see  more of that side of them, and that it is given the respect that it is due. 



JAMusic: You are very well known for your lyrics, what do you think of the lyrical content of contemporary Jamaican music?
MB:
There are a lot of great lyricists in Jamaican music today but some of the artists with the best lyrics often go unnoticed. That’s because we are in a chorus punchline style phase. A lot of songs are played for less than a minute nowadays.so some artists don’t  think too hard about lyrics further down in the song .But great lyrical songs of the past have some great lyrics in the 2nd or 3rd verse or 4
th Verse..  People often say about my songs that you have to play them all the way to  the end full of lyrics. I also think it helps when you start off on sound system. Having to entertain a crowd all night with lyrics makes you a better writer. Also it helps when you read and have a wide vocabulary.

JAMusic: When you look to the future, what are some of the areas you’d like to change professionally and personally?
MB: I am guided by the Most High and put my faith in the Creator. Never fail I yet. I am who I am .Give thanks for life.

JAMusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
MB: I want to encourage people to be the best that they can be. Make them realize how great they are and how one can make this world a better place. Together we have the power to change the world

JAMusic: Any final words?
MB: Give thanks for all the support over the years. Much appreciloved

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