Capleton's favorite food is okra. "I love okra, whatever style -- fried okra, okra stew, okra salad. Okra is really good for you." So says the Prophet, sometimes called the Fireman, but always known as one of the greatest artists in dancehall history.
Born Clifton George Bailey III in St. Mary, Jamaica, Capleton has been performing reggae for well over 20 years and now. Now age 42, this raw-food loving vegan activist has performed in over 25 countries to millions of adoring followers, boasting an impressively energetic live show that could make any Olympic athlete catch his or her breath.
Labeled as a "conscious" artist who identifies himself as a Bobo Ashanti (an active sect in the Rastafari movement), Capleton has donned the robe of compassion, inspiration, and virtue for his audience. He has influenced countless other conscious reggae artists, particularly Sizzla, who is often said to be the "Baby Capleton." "I don't mind the comparison," says Capleton himself. "It's important for our youths to have positive role models, especially in this industry, and if I can serve as that, than mi done a good job."
True indeed, Capleton's discography is a laundry list of roots reggae and dancehall classics that have been copied and repeated by so many up-and-coming artists in the scene. Those are songs like "That Day Will Come," "Jah Jah City" (which features Sizzla), "Who Dem," "Alms House," and the infamous "Tour" that scored Capleton his first crossover urban Top 40 hit.
It's a big discography, to say the least. Ask him if he knows how many tracks he's done, and the Prophet jus laughs. "No one knows! Impossible! Too many and mi don't keep track. Mi just do 'em and keep it moving." And keep moving he does - in fact, this very interview was conducted by phone while Capleton had a break in the studio, where he's recording his 18th studio album.
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How does Capleton find so much energy to keep producing such great work? "It's by Jah that I am here on this earth to express and share my gift of music and bring hope to my people. Jah gives me this strength - Jah works wonders." Then he adds, "I eat healthy too, lots of fresh juices, coconut water, and absolutely no meat or even fish. I eat what gives me life, not take away life." Someone call PETA -- I think we just found their next spokesperson!
Capleton, at he 17th Annual Bob Marley Movement Caribbean Festival. Saturday, February 27. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Doors open at 2 p.m. General admission tickets cost $50 plus four cans of food. 305-740-7344; bobmarleymovement.com
Here's a video for a recent Capleton single, "Toppa Tings."