Next Generation Marley: Daniel 'Bambaata' Marley Image

by Biko Kennedy

Son of Ziggy Marley, grandson of Bob, Daniel "Bambaata" Marley stands unperturbed to expectations of living up to the family's rich musical legacy. Instead he looks ahead, wide-eyed, in anticipation of what he knows he can bring to the soundscape.

Recently sitting with Christy Jeziorski of, Daniel spoke in depth on the Marley name being looked upon as royalty, musical diversity shown by the next generation of Marley and myths of what it means to be the grandson of a legend. 

On his constant reminder of struggle that pushes him: "I remind myself of the struggle it takes to get here. Not just for me, but what it took my grandfather to get to where he got to. Just knowing that it comes from somewhere. It comes from a struggle, not from everybody having everything because this is just what we do. No. Everyday I remind myself of where this whole "thing" comes from and I'll never forget that. That's what keeps me going, knowing where I come from, what I go through and my reality. Knowing that it's not a peaches and cream situation."

On fusing Reggae with other genres: "It's a natural thing that I can never really talk about. As a person, you do something and someone might ask you how can you jump that high? But you don't really know. It's just something that's within you. I listen to a lot of music, so it's just that mindset of liking everything and knowing that music is a broad language that everyone can understand, and knowing that all of these categories are just music. There's no genre – it's just music to me. To be honest, those are just the emotions. A song might have a hip-hop feel, but it's just emotions and not so much that I want to make a hip-hop song. How I feel is how the music comes out."

On never feeling obligated to 'live up' to the Marley name: "There was never that because grandpa himself was never that type of person, so it doesn't matter what people make of it, as long as you know the root and where it's coming from and why things are the way they are. Then, you will never stray from the same root. So, no, there's no obligation because I'm a person, I have to be myself. The reason why that question can be asked is because of what my granddad has done, right? In all honesty, he's not the type of person to say, "this is my name." It's him that made this question possible, yunno? So, you just have to hold your ground and stand firm, and not allow that stuff to get in the way."

On the Marley family hierarchy: "The Marley family is looked at in certain ways, but at the same time you still go through what you go through. Your life is determined by the things you go through. Just because grandpa did this, doesn't make your life is so great because of that. You still have to go through your thing and do what you have to do. It doesn't have to be music. It could be anything – schoolwork – you don't get exempt from schoolwork. You don't get exempt from anything because of that. As far as everything goes, we have to remember that grandpa is a person, a human being. Human beings are human beings and we can't act like it's a "royalty" thing. You say that only because of music but it's not like that."

On what he's most passionate about: "I'm very passionate about the fact that children and the youth and even adults, should appreciate creativity a little more. Appreciate the natural things that we get by just being humans – natural things we can do with our hands, forming… be willing to remember that we can do those things as well. We cannot tie our hands behind our backs."

Check out the extended interview here.

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