These are turbulent times. No matter who or where you are, protest is in the air.
“My life is going good, but I look around and the world is kinda going to sh*t,” Protoje says. “Reggae music always comes up at times when there is social unrest. It’s almost like a tool. And I’m definitely incorporating what I see, all of that, into the music.”
The Jamaican-born reggae singer (and son of singer Lorna Bennett) is one of the genre’s brightest new stars, currently touring with Iration and loaded with material from breakthrough albums Ancient Future (2015) and Royalty Free (2016). But Protoje is constantly creating new material and just dropped “Blood Money” this month, which confronts corruption and repression in his native land.
“At the end of the day, it’s rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. The divide is getting bigger, and it’s happening on a global scale,” he says. “The same problems happening here are in Jamaica, just to a different degree.”
Protoje has been breaking away from the current tour to play some headlining shows along the way, expanding his audience each time he visits someplace new.
“When we’re opening, we have 45 minutes in which to convince people, ‘Hey, we should check them out,’” he says. “I’m always looking to new boundaries and ways to turn the music further, and I love that responsibility, to make sure I play a part in advancing the culture.” Protoje (with Iration, The Green and Zach Deputy) at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, February 10.