“WHAT they do Mama Earth? Can’t they see that she’s hurt?”
Grammy-nominated reggae artiste Julian Marley, 45, says the planet is crying. And while he believes awareness of topics such as pollution and climate change is important, it is one’s actions and efforts toward making a change that is crucial.
In his new track with fellow reggae superstar Junior Reid – Mother Nature – he addresses some of the things he believes is causing Earth to suffer, including bush and forest fires, deforestation, urbanisation, global warming, among other things.
The melodic, strings-infused track was produced by Jarrod Faria and TT’s Adam Mouttet (Breaking Expectations and J-Rod Records) and features harmonic background vocals by Sherieta Lewis. It was mixed by Veer V Dhaniram and mastered by Duane “Midilord” Summers.
Faria told Sunday Newsday he was grateful for the experience and the opportunity to collaborate.
“One hand can’t clap, so the opportunity to work with counterparts in Jamaica and also very talented people in Trinidad was really the only way this project could have came through the way it did…Everyone that comes to the table brings their best.”
It was officially released on June 15 and can be found on streaming platforms including Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Tidal and Youtube.
The cover art by Waleo Moliere shows a contrast between how many parts of the planet look now and how they can become if people took care of it better.
Some of the lyrics include: “Chopping down the forest/ Deprive the animals of the wild/Fighting over land and oil,” and, “Wonder if it’s judgment day/ Mama Earth is in a rage/ Babylon must see the change/ Now it’s time to turn the page.”
In an official release, it said the song is “a social commentary record that highlights the imbalance between the human race and the environment,” adding that “Reggae music has long been the universal sound of healing that acts as a timely reflection onto the society and times in which the masses live.”
It’s not the first time the two have worked together, having previously done Never too Ruff in 2014.
Marley told Sunday Newsday the song was inspired by simply observing “the times that we are going through now.
“Mother Nature is vex at the wold because the world has not been giving her any attention other than to mash her down. And when you don’t do right to her, you suffer the consequences.”
He added, “What is the problem? Mankind. Mankind haffi get themselves in line before we run out of time. Because if we keep doing the things we do, the Earth shall give in.”
The music video – released on August 16 – was shot at Turtle River Park and Falls in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was filmed by JussbussTv, edited by TT’s Jono Hirst (HD Media) and produced by Rachelle Yap. Marley said he is in love with nature.
“The thing which makes it not nature is the buildings and the city and the confusion. But once you step – even if you step one step out of the city and look, you wouldn’t even believe (your eyes).
“When we are in Jamaica, we are in St Ann, which is a beautiful place. Sometimes you wanna be by the sea. Up inna di hills, there is no sea or no river, down at the sea there’s no mountains. You just have to enjoy all of creation and give thanks.”
But while the Earth still has a lot of beauty, he described its current state as “devastating and chaotic,” especially as the covid19 pandemic continues to spread.
“We’ve heard stories about worse things, like Noah and the ark. We’ve heard about famine and those sorts of things, but this one hit almost every single country. Normally, we sit down and say ‘Hey, look at what is happening over there!’ It’s always been ‘Way over there.'”
Some of the core principles of Rastafari speak of love, livity and freedom, but also being attuned with nature.
Marley told Newsday Rastafari has “always known” and warned that many of the issues the world is now facing would have happened if mankind continued to live the way it did.
“The legends have sung it. Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh…The older generation knew it but some of them thought it was just a fad, so they didn’t pass it (the knowledge) on to their children, they just kept it. And it’s only now they can say, ‘Oh, I remember when I used to listen this type of music.'”
And while he acknowledged that more people are becoming aware, he said “just awareness” isn’t enough.
“When we are (only) aware, is it still good or is it too late? So yes, we are aware and should have been aware, but we need to do something. Being aware is one thing but taking action is another thing.”
Many still believe climate change is a hoax or a myth. Asked what he thinks of such people, he said, “Reality shall reveal itself. Like we say, we’ve never seen anything like these days we are in. That will show you seh, you can expect the unexpected and what you thought was so is not so.”
The healing of the Earth has long been a topic and theme in reggae – from John Clarke’s 1979 roots tune Pollution, to Mama Earth by Wayne Marshall in 2009, and even in the new age of reggae with Kabaka Pyramid and Protoje’s Everywhere I Go in 2018.
One of the lines in Marley’s verse is, “Rastafari is the cure,” and Reid also said, “Haile (Selassie) set it and everything done set.”
Marley told Newsday Rastafari “has the liberation for our souls.
“We can’t put all in Babylon, can’t put all your eggs in one basket. And the basket is Babylon. If you put all you eggs inna da basket deh then wow – what a dread time you will have.
“When I say Rastafari is the cure, (I mean) you cya look to mankind so we have to unite within the almighty to be able to make that change. Because when you love nature, then you love who creates nature. Rastafari is the cure, Jah is the cure.”
He also urged people not to think they are too small to make a difference or that the actions of “just one person” does not help. He made reference to the Jamaican saying, “One one cocoa full basket,” which means success is not linear, and if you take things one step at a time, you will eventually reach to that place. It’s similar to “slowly but surely.”
He told Sunday Newsday, “Even if me as an individual mek a stance, I know in myself that there are other people taking a stance too. Live clean…And one thing we have to do now is respect and praise the almighty.
“We’ve been coping by the grace of the Almighty, cause we don’t know how we do it. We just know seh every day you wake up and bless the day and give thanks and praise. I was in Jamaica for a portion of time and I was in the mountains. And it’s deep meditation (that happens) in the mountains. So much nature and things to get you inspired.”
He said he has also spent a lot of time writing, “which is very good for the soul.”
Marley lost his 11-year-old daughter Caveri to cancer in June. He has since become even more of an advocate for cannabis, especially its medicinal usage.
He was pleased to hear it has been decriminalised in TT. Asked if he feels it is becoming more globally accepted now, he said, “We’ve always been telling the world that herb is very important to mankind. When you have experience first-hand and then you see that herb is the healing but they’re still fighting it, then want to make money from it also. It’s still a hypocritical system but we still give thanks it is getting recognition.
“Look how many decades we have had this knowledge and someone seh, ‘Shut up, you fool!’ Now all of a sudden, dem a use it and find out seh…”
Marley started his business Juju Royal in 2015 which provides CBD (cannabidiol) products. These products help alleviate pain, anxiety and depression, inflammatory disorders, among other things, without the “high” experienced when otherwise used. He said business is doing well.
“Anyone can plant herb, but sometimes you just want that medicinal part of it. So that is what I found myself more into.”
In fact, in his 2009 hit Boom Draw, like many other artistes, he calls it “the healing of the nation.”
Asked what message he has for those in TT who still do not see the benefits of the herb, he said, “First of all, the pills that you take what the doctor gave you, have you ever found out what’s inside of it? You don’t even know what you’re taking in your medicine. Herb, you know what is in it. You can find out exactly what’s in it. And the herb is a natural plant.
“This is reminding me of what my father (Bob Marley) said: Herb is a plant weh Jah create. Who is we fi seh (no)? If there’s a mango on the tree and nobody knew mangoes were meant to be eaten, we would be looking at mangoes every day and wonder what it is. So herb is what it is. the more we stray away from Mother Nature is the more we are headed to the land of desolation.”
He added, “Love each other, take care of one another, praise the Almighty. Love up and live up in one perfect unity.”