by Rich Lowe
Jamaican singer Elijah Prophet has built a solid foundation of reggae music singles over the past eight years. Now this Rastafarian youth who grew up with Garnet Silk, is ready to release his second album entitled "Soldier with a Cause." Elijah's first album was "King of Kings" and was released out of Germany on the Pow Pow Record label. This latest album offers a mix of reality lyrics and excellent musicianship as all tracks are performed by the six-piece roots band called The Uprising Band. In a recent interview, Elijah Prophet shared some of his experiences in recording his latest album with Tru Musik Records, "As soon as I came back from a European tour in 2007, the manager and the bass player from The Uprising Band came for me. They ask me if I'm interested an' I say sure! We start workin' from then. Soldier with a Cause album is different from the past album. All the riddims are not done by computer. I have the time to sing the songs. Things I don't like, I can take out of the song and redo the song again. I have the ability to do anything in the studio." The first single to be released is "Rainy Night In Summer." Although it sounds as though it may be a love song, it is a reality tune that describes two lovers hearing gunshots at night. These gunshots are from a neighbor's house and that neighbor has been killed by the police. The rain continues to fall as the two lovers pause to wonder who has died this night, so close to where they rest. To add to the moodiness of this track, this single also employs the atmospheric tenor saxophone of Dean Fraser. Elijah comments about the reality behind "Rainy Night," "It definitely portrays what happen in the garrison area, which we call ‘the ghetto.' Police tend to abuse a lot of innocent youth in the ghetto - not that every youth in the ghetto is innocent still. For instance, one man shoot after police, police will kill everyone in this side." The image of the neighbor lying in bed with his woman, hearing the gunshots, relates to a pattern of conflicting images in Elijah Prophet's music where he sings of "Johnny." We asked Elijah, "Who is Johnny?" "Johnny could be anybody. There's a Johnny who was a friend of mine who died violently. He wasn't a badman, just a hardworking guy who have a license gun and they kill him for the gun. All other "Johnny's" to me are anybody who try to do something different from the others. Johnny is someone who find himself in a sticky position at the moment." A prior single "Peace Party" also tells the story of the death of an innocent youth. "'Peace Party' was something I saw with my two eyes. These guys have wars for months, years. They say, ‘Let's sign some peace treaty.' The moment they sign the peace treaty, that's when everybody start to die. These guys say, ‘OK, now we can catch Mr. Johnny anywhere we want him because he think everything is OK.' That's how it go on and on and on." The Uprising Band has been together for five years. They work out of Rockfort, near Mountain View, by Kingston Harbour. Although this is a six-piece band, there are 30 or more people who comprise the Uprising "camp." In addition to the release of Elijah Prophet's "Rebel with a Cause," The Uprising Band has completed successful tours with singer Gyptian in Barbados and South America. The Uprising Band has additional albums coming out by Len Hammond, Easy Wayne, and a Dennis Brown tribute album by Fred Locks. Elijah says, "The Uprising Band is musically crazy. They have such genius. Everybody play their part, that's the nicest thing about The Uprising Crew." The Uprising engineer, "Volume C" provided his view on working with Elijah Prophet, "Elijah Prophet have a vibe - it natural. It's very easy for me to work with him ca' he's very experienced and he get a lot of exposure worldwide. There's a great energy, a nice spiritual energy." In closing, Elijah reflects (in present tense) on advice given to him by Garnet Silk: "Garnet is always a straight forward person. I love a person who don't play when it come to his work. Garnet always say, ‘Listen Elijah, no matter what - you have to do what Jah send you here to do.' An' I believe that 100% - rasta must be a rebel with a cause."