Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lyrics!: Capleton

Too many times we have instances when the ‘show’ overtakes the ‘skill’ - Style over substance. Two of the most recent times we did a “Lyrics!” feature we delved into a genre, Soca, which almost always has this phenomenon occur. Both Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons are very much show-people and if you simply focus on what you see with your eyes (as opposed to with your elbows), you can lose hold of the fact that they both are EXTREMELY talented lyricists. That also happens in Reggae. Most often it’s Elephant Man whose actions and theatrics ‘typically’ distract from the fact that he just may be one of the most talented wordsmiths the Dancehall has ever seen, but it also is the case, unfortunately in others - Such as Capleton. Besides thrilling millions of fans across the world with a dynamic stage performance (and a studio performance, which, translating into the finished product, may be the most so in the entire scope of Reggae and maybe even EVER), “King Shango” is an absolutely lethal lyricist and with his longevity in the music, he is one of the most proven on that matter. Be it toughing it out in the Dancehall -- spanning across three or four eras at this point -- or making some of the largest and heaviest Roots anthems of the past two decades, Capleton has always managed to get his point across in a most colourful and FLAMING form. We’ve managed to collect a very small sampling here of his legendary work. It’s 10 random linguistic torches Reggae’s incomparable Fire Man, Capleton.

"But I seh music is a mission not a competition

Nuff man ah use di music cause confusion
Stray all di woman dem, likewise di man
Is like dem no respect di Almighty One

Now Bounty Killer mussi Bush
And Beenie mussi Saddam
But mi no si no Gulf and mi no si no Vietnam
Mi neva work Sting
But mi mash up Ram Jam
Prophet no mix-up inna no Bangarang
Mi tell dem Almshouse and dem still ah purlong
A gwan lak dem waan fi deceive di nation"
-’No Competition’

"A long time mi recruit
And now mi kick off mi boot
Now mi ready -
Ready fi guh start execute

Seh ghetto ready revolutionary troop
Yes wi ahgo fight and defend di truth
If wi haffi jump outta plane
Or inna parachute
Wi old ancestors nuff dem execute
Juss because dem all waan fi conceal di truth
What was hidden from di old it ah reveal to di youths"
-’Leave Babylon’

"That day will come!
When I shall and see all those wicked man in the fire getting bun
That day will come!
When they will try to escape and there will be nowhere to run
That day will come!
When I shall see their hands and all the bombs and bayonets and bullets and guns

Escape today you caan escape tomorrow
Mek sure you pay back anytime you borrow
Mek sure you don’t left no life inna sorrow
Mek sure you nah lean, done straight lak arrow
Mek sure yah brains don’t push out inna barrow
Mek sure no mek dem coke out and paro
Mek sure yah meditation nah narrow
-’That Day Will Come’

"Smoke a spliff and tek a lift
Smoke a spliff and tek a drift
David House - Pass mi di chalice and seh Shango tek a sip
Wi going on a high grade trip
Wi nah go lef wi mistress
Wi nah go lef Dawn and Marie, Suzette and Doris
Some gone but dem ah carry mi cannabis
When babylon si mi a road, mi seh dem haffi honour dis

We planting
So mi tell di youth dem seh fi plant up di whole of Jamaica
Mek mi hear it for di reapers and di buyers and di cultivators
Have love inna mi heart fi di weed
Mi haffi bun dem haters
Wi spell it wid a G-A-N
And call it Ganjamaica

So mi tell babylon seh nuh fi touch mi ground
And mi tell di wicked man seh nuh fi cut it down
Mi neva come up a yah place and try fi shut it down
I neva use mi bulldozer and try fi buck it down"

"A di heights weh it go reach
And a now di youths dem seet
Dem seh gwaan bun di fyah Kalonji waan teach
A di heights weh it go reach
And a now di youths dem seet
Wi caan free fi dumb
Wi must free fi speech

Righteousness mi si nuff a dem come come reject
Peer corruption mi si seh dem ah accept
Pon dem airwaves and dem internet
Ah what dem televise then a totally mess
Peer fuckery dem write all in all dem concept
Peer propaganda dem spread inna di press"
-’More Dem Try’

"I am -
Elected and permitted to teach di nation
Give thanks and praise to The Almighty One
Selassie I!
Emmanuel, Marcus wid di vision
Unu fi ovastand so mi seh one inna three -
And three inna one
Neva disagree, all on Iration
You betta check di energy and di constellation
Then you woulda know di Man live inna man
Di physical haffi communicate wid di inner man
Hail King Selassie, Rastaman
-’Who I Am’

"How yuh fi Ras and then you still ah eat pork?
How yuh fi Ras and then you still ah smoke coke?
Still all ah sail pon babylon boat
Nuff rent-a-dread go bow pon di north coast
Bow to di queen
Bow to di pope
Under the influence of the ting called di dope
Nuff ah tek di heroin and nuff ah tek coke
Everyone ah hear know it
Everyone ah si dem snort
Beer almshouse dem come round yah an support
Nuff seh dem a lion, but mi si seh dem a goat!
Pass mi di sword and mek mi chop off di throat!
Nuff ah dem ah hang up inna John Paul robe

Long time mi ready
Bun dung dreddie
Nuff a dem go bow, mi seh dem nah hold no medi

Long time mi ready
Bun dung dreddie
Smoke too much coke, di whole a dem ah rock steady"
-‘Bug Dung Dreddie’

"Who star di show weh name ‘Stars in Action’?
I am di champion for ‘Champions in Action’
Always ah give di people dem satisfaction
Mek sure di ghetto youth dem get dem fraction
Cocoa Tea call mi fi lock dung Ram Jam
Mi explode di place inna Island Explosion
Anyweh ah 'St. Mary Mi Come From'
Beer battlefield when mi no perform a Portland"
-’Stage Show’

"Dem ah fight ovah fyah, a nuh fi dem
Yow dem alla run down tings weh a nuh fi dem
Yow from you seh di Fyah Man -
You Know ah mi den
Yow, more fire, more fire gi dem"
-‘Biggest Fire’ w/Silva Kid

" . . . Tell informa, seh nuh ask mi nuttin!
KING step up inna and now di party open!
Dem ah wait pon di King fi come start di summp!
When di King touch di stage ah beer torch di summp!
Evil man and evil woman get scorch fi nuttn!
George Bush and Tony Blair no waan go ask mi nuttn!
Longtime people place dem ah blast fi nuttn!
Dem ah search and caan find di weapon of destructnn!"


  1. Great post man! I really like Capleton's flow and lyrics, it's sometimes exactly what I want to hear and always good to hear when ever it's playing. It's amazing to me how many people I know who have zero appreciation for Jamaican music scene past or present, yet it's one of the most storied and proficient in the world, and from a small island nation, it always amazes me.

  2. Well said my friend!

    Thanx for reading.