Fresh from making waves across Europe with his “Contraband” tour, which included three dates on these shores and a special Q&A in Birmingham, he is in a good place and definitely has an affinity to the UK.
“I was surprised at how the people actually knew the songs on my trip last year – some of the tracks that I didn’t expect them to know – particularly in Birmingham and London.
“You can tell that the UK people aren’t just watching who is being spoken about – you have people who are really penetrating the music and the messages, and are real fans of the movement.”
“The love is there from the people from the first time we came here and that’s why we wanted to come back this year.”
That love is also spreading globally. “Early on I never thought about actually performing the music – I was definitely a studio artist, but when u start working on shows you start thinking about the parts that people can connect to.
“If you have a message and it doesn’t connect then it doesn’t make sense. Not just for Jamaican audiences, but ears from all over.
“It has helped me to grow and helped me to be more rounded.”
The backbone of the roots scene has been strong generationally for over 40 years, but recently it seems that there has been a strong resurgence in it’s popularity.
The late 90’s roots scene proved influential on Kabaka. “Sizzla’s era of music was one of the key factors of me accepting Rastafari and helped me when I was growing up.”
It’s not just reggae that influenced the young Kabaka. Hip Hop played a key role in his musical shapings, and he acknowledged this on his Major Lazer produced “Accurate” mixtape.
“My hip hop roots were displayed on that session – working with a icon like Raekwon was next level for me – just knowing the connection with him was a big look.
“He is a man that some of the hip hop legends rate, so for him to work with me is a good look.
“I tried to show the people what I was about and I’m thankful to Walshy and Major Lazer for the opportunity.