Reggae icon Anthony B brings his latest effort, ‘Rasta Love,’ to Moe’s Alley
To Anthony B, the meaning of reggae music is realization. Over live instrumentation or digital samples, the Rastafarian singer’s vocals sway from smooth to red-hot as he calls for humankind to reawaken and treat consciousness as paramount in life.
“Where there is consciousness, there is no school,” he explains. “No one can teach it to you. Only life’s experiences can do that for you. It’s an evolution, a long-time comin’ thing, a different process for all. So in reggae music, we are sharing our viewpoints and opinions from our own experiences that have broadened our consciousness through faith, hope, and the love of Rasta.”
Despite touring the world and attending humanitarian events, new tunes carrying the classic Rasta reggae vibes and principles keep coming steadily to Anthony B. This past summer, his latest album, Rasta Love, was released to critical acclaim by his record label, Born Fire Music. The 18 tracks espouse the joy of universal love and the message that fear keeps people honest in life.
“In these times are the valleys of decision,” he says. “There are so many things that tell us to look outward at a gimmick and need for the material things. The return to a sense of consciousness is a return to the source. It is a return to the only thing left in Pandora’s chaotic box: hope and faith. And we emanate those vibes as an antidote to fear. This is what Rasta love and reggae music bring to you.”
Rasta Love is a joyous and pumping soundtrack to a personal and/or global struggle, based in human emotion and experience. The songs confront life’s difficulties, and inspire hope in the Rasta vision of equality. The album features a harmonic fusion of jazz, soul, rock, and electronica, while maintaining reggae’s driving rhythm.
On the opening track, “Coming in Hot,” Anthony B pays homage to one of his great heroes and inspirations, Peter Tosh, with a cover of his vintage reggae hit. He puts his own spin on the classic by adding in his own verses of appreciation for the elder musicians who paved the way, and for his homeland, Jamaica.
“Just as in hip-hop, we sample the greats of our music as an honor, a privilege, and a tribute to those who’ve inspired us,” he says. “The Otis Reddings and George Clintons sampled in hip-hop are our Bob Marleys and Dennis Browns sampled in this day of roots reggae music. It’s just an honor to record over those refurbished rhythms.”
“Mount Zion,” which features Kymani Marley (one of Bob’s many musically inclined children) and Jah Hill, is a vow to keep marching through valleys of decision and mountains of reflection to a better place. “White Collar Criminal” sounds off on the greed of corporate empires, and warns that their actions today will catch up to them.
Besides themes of perseverance, self reliance, and equality, Anthony B expresses his love for the people and “love for the queen empress (women) of the world” on tracks like “Never Wanna Lose You,” the hit single “My Yes and My No,” and the melancholy, but uplifting “Crazy Life (Broken Dreams).”
“Many ask me the meaning of Rasta,” he says. “I mon say love. What is the meaning of consciousness? It is the source that unites us, a god-consciousness we all bear. It is love, hope, and faith against all the adversity that would like to keep that consciousness from you. That is why we say Rasta love—don’t ever stop your soul-search.”
Anthony B plays at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/adv, $30/door. For more information, call 479-1854.