[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]I[/dropcap]t’s almost too perfect to be true. On April 20, 1972, Stephen Robert Nesta “Raggamuffin” Marley was born, eventually earning his nickname from the reggae subgenre that’s based on electronic urban beats. Winning eight Grammys either as a producer, soloist or as a member of the Melody Makers along with his brother Ziggy and two sisters, Stephen has come a long way. Not long ago, Stephen found a niche producing two critically-acclaimed albums for his younger half-brother Damian Marley. Shortly after, his solo albums Mind Control and Revelation Part I and II received similar acclaim.
Stephen has produced music for Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, The Roots and the Fugees. CULTURE caught up with Stephen to chat about producing, Kaya Fest and cannabis.
You’ve won Grammys not only as a solo artist and band member, but as a producer too. Do you feel more comfortable behind the mic or mixing in the studio?
It depends on the song. Whether I am singing, playing an instrument, writing or producing, I feel blessed to be able to create.
You’ve collaborated with quite a variety of artists like Lauryn Hill, Krazy Bone, Bizzy Bone and Pitbull. How do your musical interests go beyond reggae?
I respect all genres of music and often integrate elements of soul, hip-hop, electronic and more into my own sound and production for others.
How did it feel to unite five Marley brothers together in California for this year’s Kaya Fest?
It is always a blessing to share the stage with my brothers, paying tribute to our father and his music that continues to inspire us all.
Why did you decide to move Kaya Fest from Florida to California?
The Kaya Fest will [eventually] visit many other countries, states and towns.
Now, the third generation of Marley grandchildren is joining the music industry. Would you say music is in your blood?
Music is in our spirit and soul. We give thanks that our children share the same passion.
How do you view the cannabis plant? Is it a sacrament, an herb or a vitamin?
Cannabis is an herb just like mint or sage that can heal many medical ailments, as well as offer spiritual enlightenment.
You have a ton of upcoming shows on your tour booked through September, with three happening this month. Which shows are you most excited to perform at this month? What about the rest of the year?
I enjoy playing music for the people, no matter where I am.
CULTURE also interviewed Stephen’s brother Ziggy Marley. Read it here.