This is for all of those who have lost hope in the world of music, believing that all artistes have become morally negligible towards their audience, in search of fulfilling their own self-interest. Or, even worse, that they are false preachers misleading us with contradicting words and acts. After a very lovely concert and a brief dinner, Nighttimes.com was able sit down with Ras Attitude, one of the most humble people we have ever met. Taking a moment to digest and preparing to partake of the Lamb’s bread, Ras Attitude was more than willing to share some of the wisdom he has accrued over the years.
NT: First, I would like to give you the opportunity to give thanks and praises.
Ras Attitude: Give thanks and praises to his majesty Haile king Selassie the First [says in Amharic something that sounds like exigbeer karamwe may gust may gas karamawe], Haile Selassie the First. The Royal King of the Earth, Emperor of the Royal Lion of Judah, Emperor of the Whole Wide World. The whole nation all four corners of the Earth. Haile king Selassie the First, I give all praise due unto H.I.M., his Majesty; and Queen Mennen the Omega I, Rastafari. Blessed love my lad, duty in the name of King Selassie the First conquering lion of the tribe of Judah. SELASSIE I, JAH! Rastafari. EMANUELLE I, JAH! Rastafari. I adore the most high God, Jah! Rastafari. QUEEN OMEGA I, JAH! Rastafari. MARCUS I, adore the most high Jah! Rastafari bless and sanctify my life. [Sings Ooh ooh, ooh oooh] Attitude says so A-T-T-I-U-D-E.
NT: You touch upon this during the show. How important is it to read and further your education for the youths them?
Ras Attitude: It is very, very, very important to have an education because reading is fundamental, you know. I graduated high school [and] went to college. I also admire the youths them, to do that too. Here is what, I would tell the youth them this: When you graduate, it is one of the most joyful feelings. One of the most joyful feelings and know that [you have] put behind certain things and know that now it is your time to move on in life and it is a great feeling to do that and accomplish something. Whether you graduate music school; whether graduate arts and crafts school it is great feeling to accomplish that. It is an accomplishment, I wanted to accomplish that, you know. That is what made me think that enough of them think that “I cannot come to that position.” I man read a lot but not as much, I feel I should read a lot more. I do feel I should read a lot. [Looks over towards Batch] Know that Batch reads a lot.
NT> Any books you would recommend?
Ras Attitude: Yeah, actually there is one called Trance and another one, Matrix? Something like, Living in the Matrix if I remember right. It has been a while since I read that one. I mean they are real good books. Trance was one of them that really got me, so I tell everyone about this book now.
NT: Do you remember who wrote it?
Ras Attitude: Um… [Turns to Ras Ibendigo and asks] What was the name of the brother who wrote Trance?
Ras Ibendigo: I don’t know but it was actually the people that escaped themselves that wrote the book. I don’t remember their names.
Ras Attitude: [shrugs] I cannot remember who wrote the book, but it was to people who had part to do in it. It is about private things in the white house like the raping of little girls. So Fire burn you know, Babylon all go down with all that dirty business. There are a lot of things out there and they put it in front of eyes. Yet it seems a lot of us act blind to it. Nobody wants to say, “Hey!’ because they got a feeling that they are going to get crushed by the system. I man tell the youths them go, just stay on top of your works. Always do good so can get your pay from his Majesty Selassie the First because Jah is love and love is Jah. So once you show love you must get love forward you know. I –man give thanks that Jah give I the patience, because I have been doing this a long time, to have the patience to reached to this far. Man, I am out here being interviewed and I am from such a small island, 84 square miles. So, I thank Jah for singing this long and giving I the patience so that I may be here in your midst in Saint Louis a place I never thought I would see. Now it’s my second time back and really nice to see my people here, it is royal for me, you know.
NT: On a more somber note. What are the most egregious human rights violations you know today?
Ras Attitude: You know that is a serious topic there, man. There is like a whole bunch of human rights are gone. Everything to me is human rights; everyone deserves rights. We have right to everything, the earth is the fullest thing thereof, and it is for I N I, you know. There is a lot of stuff going on, for example, New Orleans I touched that earlier. We as a people have the right to have help. When it comes down to it we, the people, in these times have the right to have help; and they just leave I N I people out there to suffer. Where are the human rights there? They go all the way to Iraq to fight and send food, break down walls and all kind of stuff. But right here in their own homeland there is no food, no water to help these people that just went through a tragic thing. So you want to talk about human rights, give them some rights down there. Them humans down there need some rights and from what I see there is only human wrong. Everything is going wrong with human rights in these times here. Everyone is like they are scared of unity. They scared to see a white man hang with a black man or a black man with a white man. Certain place when we hang together and go back around our people they say ‘Eh, you hanging with him?” You know, so where is the human rights there? What happen to those rights where we can live with each other as one? That is the human rights I go deal with you check [out] what I mean. Helping each other and dealing with each other right. Which is the human way of living; enough man takes it as a joke and thinks the gun thing or bling bling thing. So, I -man think whatever happen to the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah? Bling a bling man coming about singing of chains and jewelry and vanity. So lets deal with the real human rights and righteousness, you know. By you coming out singing songs about take off this and take off that; this gal a phat and round and shake a this. It is like there are no human rights there; because you dissing a human being which is a queen. Where are her rights? To be a royal queen and just be [treated like] that. Not no B-I-T-C-H, no every other thing they want to call her in the book. Why cannot you just be a royal queen? Them is the rights I deal with you know. Why cannot I drive down the street with out being pulled over because I speak a lot?
NT: Why cannot the both of us ride together without being stopped?
Ras Attitude: Exactly, you know that they think, “We got be into something.” Like me either selling drugs to you or you come to sell me a gun. Its one of those two you know it is like a stereotype, and it is all over the world. People need to stop thinking with this negative and childish mentality! It is very childish you, I even witnessed it today. Where I almost had to come off the stage and say, ”Hey! None of that.” I even witnessed tonight where these two guys were going to get down in here, I man say no. We up here singing love and when they caught themselves, they were like “Aw man, we are in the middle of a love concert man.” We have to live with each other in peace and harmony in order for human rights to be prevailed.
NT: In your poster you guys are holding up hand sign what does that mean?
Ras Attitude: We hold it up because of his majesty the rightful ruler, as a symbol of the Trinity. Peace and love to one and all. Yeah man, hold the sign [sits back and connects his thumbs to his thumbs and his index finger to his index fingers and places them on his abdomen.] and you can almost look at it as 360 degrees because it goes around. Trinity, holy Trinity it is a sign of humbleness, sitting here like this feel humble, look humble, it is humble. A symbol from his majesty for I N I to overstand. Maybe I N I can sit down later without all the noise so that I can give you all reasoning behind it. It is a symbol for peace, love, and humbleness for all Jah’s creation, the birds, the bees, and the trees, I N I, you and me. So just keep it up full and right.
Well, you heard it from the man himself. Expect more reasoning of the love and the Rastafarian culture in the future. I promise that I N I will be enlightened and never disillusioned by the teachings of his Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I.
Photo credit: Dave Foresman