speaks:an interview with capleton
interview by slacky j, written by montana
a hot summer evening, in august, 2002, caught capleton inside the studios of wluw on slacky j's reggae vibes show. capleton was in chicago for stageshow with jahmali.
sj(slacky j): Why were you named capleton and what's the meaning?
C(capleton): Capleton means 'capable and strong defender of the faith and defender of the people.'
Capleton was 9 or 10 when he got that name because there was a lawyer his family knew with a similar name and capleton was named after him because "true we love talk" and he used to ask so many questions.
When asked about the now infamous 'fire', that much of his lyrics contains, capleton says 'the fire is all about purification' and that it doesn't really mean literal fire, not on a destructive level, "fire means know who you are, know where you're going know where you're going, self esteem, self reliance, fire comes through words, through livity, through nyabinghi, through my energy level, through performance onstage igniting the crowd. Whichever level you see the fire from, you know fire is the ultimate, whether geographical, biblical, biological, natural, there is no life source without fire, there is no energy without fire, nothing can move without fire."
sj: there are a lot of natural instruments you could use like wind, water... why did you chose fire?
c:" well you cannot breathe without fire, so it's even the same wind. no rain can fall without fire. naturally the sun is the hottest element that rises in the morning. without sun shine no plants grow and no rain can fall... if you say water, is the fire that brings forth the water, if you say wind is the fire that brings forth the wind same way... fire is the ultimate, fire is the main source."
sj: stuart brown from african star is one of your good friends and one who paved the way for you how did you hook up with him?
c: stuart brown was living in canada, and then he moved to jamaica and had a sound called 'african star', i was one of the dj's on the sound. 'i got my first flight to toronto in 1989 when no one know nothing about capleton'.
well, legend has it he stole that show in 1989 alongside such big name artists at the time as flourgan, ninja man, colin roach and anthony marlboro. he even says that he was the one who wrote the song the biggest song that ninja man performed that night. his first hit in the dancehall was a tune called 'bumbo red' and capleton hasn't stopped creating original (many dancehall artists do covers of r and b or hiphop tunes, but not capleton) hits to this day.
capleton has a house for the youth called 'david house' that helps the youth 'rise above the teachings that we get in babylon and provides upliftment and enlightment for the youth. whatever we can do to motivate youth out there in the ghetto, david house is ready. the youth them live what them learn and only truth can make them conscious and whatever is instilled and embedded is not easy to blast it out so we have to teach the youth the truth because they do live what they learn... you have to get the right teaching to go in the right way and the right direction... it's all about love and humility"
all of the fire that capleton burns in his music has some thinking that he's all about aggression and hostility, but ask him and he will be the first to refute this judgement, "when i go out there and interact with people they find that i'm all about love and upliftment and i'm just a normal man like everyone out there. i don't see anything above humanity, like fame or material things. i and i put nothing above humanity, people come first. it's all about love, not about hype."
as far as fame goes, it seems that all of his fame hasn't gone to capleton's head. he says of artists who fall into this trap, 'true the money and the popularity and the hype, them feel like they are on top of the world and they can walk on people. but i and i no really see it from that level. ghetto we come from, we know the injustice, we know the struggle, the oppression, the depression and the injustice and the inequality and the manipulation and the death without dignity so we couldn't come hype come humanity..."
slacky, an african national himself, lets capleton know that the people in africa are very anxious for him to make his first visit to the motherland. "the people need you in africa, they're all saying MORE FIYA", slack says. capleton replies,"i an i are the liberator. jah ordain i to come liberate the people dem within the levels of righteousness, salvation, emancipation, redemption, restoration, repatriation, whichever level whether physical, mental or spiratual, mi just deya to do a work and where ever it takes me, me just flow."