With the over-saturation of Hip-Pop celebrities in the media, the UK reviving soul music, and the war on terrorism in Iraq, its easy to see how one wouldnt notice the fading presence of reggae artists in todays melting pot of music. Well after an eight year hiatus, served in a Jamaica penitentiary for an alleged rape charge, Jah Cure is back to remind wandering souls what authentic, grassroots reggae sounds like. Receiving a warm welcome from fans at the Sundance Music Festival in Holland last month, it seems Jah hasnt missed a beat. Intent on writing while he is living, Jah Cure notably released three albums and a number of singles while incarcerated, some of which have topped the Jamaican charts. What breeds this type of diligence, humbleness and inspiration? AllHipHop Alternatives sat down with, what some are calling, Reggaes future to find out.AllHipHop.com Alternatives: First let me say congratulations for being released from prison. How does it feel to be home?Jah Cure: It feels good. It was rough missing the studio, the fans, all the goodthings that life has to offer.AHHA: Now, you served eight years in jail for rape, correct?Jah Cure: Yeah.AHHA: Explain to me the circumstances that led to your incarceration?Jah Cure: Nothing that I feel like talking about right now – just a lot of negativity in my country. Im not gonna talk about anyone, just that God has a plan for me. I’vebeen through my struggle and came out victorious at the end.AHHA: So many rappers in the states flex their muscles by rapping about this thug lifestyle, never really addressing the consequences of such a lifestyle. Having been on the other side, literally, what is your take on that?Jah Cure: Well, experience grants us wisdom, so its not until they experience it – thats when they will realize what life really offers. AHHA: Does it bother you that they glorify the lifestyle?Jah Cure: Well, variety is the spice of life. Some people speak of the negative, some speak of the positive. Thats the way they eat their bread. How I feel is that they are doing their part to give to those who want to hear negatives and positive. I am one of them who represent the positive all the way to the top, doing what I love to do, singing what comes from the heart.AHHA: You released three
albums while incarcerated, many with positive messages. What kept
you motivated to continue to create music, even while undergoing the
horrors of jail life?
Jah Cure: No, four albums.
The most recent release was put together when I was behind bars and
released a few days after I was released [from prison]. The other
three were released in the free world. My new album, My Life,
is coming out in early next year though. AHHA: I heard you stole the show at the Reggae Sundance Festival this year. How well have you been received by your peers and fans since your release?Jah Cure: My fans supported me a lot and people have received me warmly. People are loving the Cure [Jah Cure] – the old, the young, everyone, which inspires me to dig deeper and do more. They keep saying, Continue to do the work. Please don’t change.AHHA: Musically, would you say you have evolved since you stepped onto the scene seven years ago?Jah Cure: Yes, musically I have. I’ve added more flavor to the music.AHHA: In your absence, the popularity of reggaeton and dancehall artists such as Daddy Yankee and Sean Paul had, at one point, swept the nation. Is this form of reggae music as popular in the West Indies?Jah Cure: This is what we listen to. R&B is here, but reggae is the dominant in Jamaica and the rest of the West Indies. Sean Paul is more of a hardcore dancehall, mykind of reggae is more authentic, what’s called “one drop,” parallel to Bob Marley’s style of music. We just picked up where Bob left off. He was one of my inspirations.AHHA: What kind of songs do you prefer to write and perform, roots or dancehall?Jah Cure: Mainly positive music about social uplifting, love songs, things about personal and universal struggles. I dont do dancehall, I do reggae. Remember I’m a singer. I mean, I love reggae music, what comes out is mostly what you can hear. I wont put myself under a heading like I’m a reggae singer, I’m just a singer. I love reggae music. If I decide to be put under a set genre, it would be more of under an R&B/Soul setting, as that’s where I feel it comes from.AHHA: Longing For is such a beautiful song, and one of my favorites. What, or who inspired you to write that song?Jah Cure: When I was down in my struggles, this record was basically written based on where I was.AHHA: Tell me about your latest album True Reflections: A New Beginning.Jah Cure: Its one of those albums that is mainly a compilation of the hits of the past albums, to hold people until My Life, the new one, comes out.AHHA: There have been many comparisons drawn between your life and music and that of the late Bob Marley. Would you say thats a fair assessment?Jah Cure: Its not for me to say. I’m just living my life. Bob is one of the greatest, so I guess people are seeing me like that to see me in that light. I’m just living my life, and if its seen as being close to Bob, then that’s for the people to say.AHHA: Are you confident that you can carry on the legacy reggae greats such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh?Jah Cure: Yes, I’m confident; thats one thing that helped me to push thru my struggles. With self-confidence you can win the race before you enter, Marcus Garvey saidthat.