“I know a love for humanity, consciousness, and the connection with the almighty.” – Skip Marley
The concrete jungle opening of the “Slow Down” audiovisual on Harlem’s musically regarded Lenox Avenue brought forth a glimpse of lush locks and some familiar facial features. At first, viewers may not quite place it, but by the time the pre-chorus finishes, they hear why Skip Marley is a legacy continued. From the singer’s intonation to his laidback aesthetic, he pieces up beautifully with H.E.R.’s swagger and vocal prowess. And for those of us who have ever fallen in love in New York City — the artists coupled beside elements of the grind — flawlessly illustrate why there is no comparable experience.
“We have to take this whole thing musically to a higher place,” he explains on a conference call from his home base of Kingston, Jamaica. Yes, Marley’s pun was intended. Tomorrow he is making his major debut with the 7-track EP, Higher Place, with features from his uncle, Damian’ Jr. Gong’ Marley, and late grandfather, Bob Marley, too.
Ahead of the body of work’s delivery, the youngest Marley has already smashed through by becoming the first-ever Jamaican artist to top the Adult R&B Chart, with the “Slow Down” duet. The hit single proceeded to garner double-digits in the millions with its streams on Spotify and in views through its music video on YouTube. After today’s first play of the soon-to-release effort, The Knockturnal team is confident the rest will to go!
The all-star Higher Place writer and producer’s list includes Marley’s go-to, Rykeyz, Kel P (Burna Boy), Rami Yacoub (Ariana Grande), Nasri Atweh (Justin Bieber) and Malay (Frank Ocean). And with his Instagram bio reading, “The unification of mankind has to start now…,” it’s clear this EP means much more than his Island/Tuff Gong Records co-signed promotion. Higher Place is the ascending star’s way of life.
The Knockturnal connected with Skip Marley to discuss his new track, “Make Me Feel,” with Rick Ross and Ari Lennox, the docuseries, Bob Marley: LEGACY, and his unique way of spending time with his grandfather daily. Get to know the self-proclaimed, “rebel with a message,” in his words below.
The Knockturnal: H.E.R. and you displayed great chemistry in the “Slow Down” music video. How was your experience behind the scenes with the starlet as you prepared for this hit release?
Skip Marley: Oh, man! It was beautiful. This was a natural vibe. We just connect. We sort of have the same type of spirit. Do you know what I’m saying?
She and I understand each other. The first time we met was at the video shoot. Again, it was natural chemistry. I am glad they captured that. It was an honor to work with H.E.R.!
The Knockturnal: What was your reaction to the single propelling and solidifying you as the first Jamaican artist to hit No.1 on the Adult R&B Chart?
Skip Marley: It was a blessing. It was a huge honor. Big shout out to H.E.R.! Big shout out to my team and everybody who has been working behind the scenes or promoting the record. To be honest, this is not about the position of the charts or where this music lands.
It is about the music and affecting the people. You know? Positivity! It is about uplifting the people. Consciousness. It is about elevating their spirits. Anyway, that is what music is about for me. Anything outside of that is a blessing.
The Knockturnal: Your forthcoming debut EP, Higher Place, is scheduled for release tomorrow. What can your fanbase anticipate from this body of work?
Skip Marley: I think you can hear my inspirations. I know you can hear my vibes. Listeners can capture the message. They can capture [my essence]. Everyone has been waiting on it, and I can’t wait to share. It is going to be good for the people.
I will say that Higher Place is a mix of all types of music. Yes, reggae music is the root. However, it has R&B feels, too. It has some rock elements to it. Yes, it has flavor.
The EP has some blues. Yeah, it is a fun mix of everything that inspires me. It is just music! My thing is you can’t place my music in a box.
The Knockturnal: How has signing with Island/Tuff Gong Records enhanced your artistry?
Skip Marley: Firstly, I would say it gives me access to a lot of different producers — also, a lot of different artists. Yes, definitely. We collaborate.
It’s the work I’m doing [with others]. You know? We were already into the music thing. I was ready! Now it’s like a train [in motion, and] now the ride is smooth.
The Knockturnal: This year, a docuseries titled Bob Marley: LEGACY was recently released on what would be your grandfather’s 75th birthday. What has his life taught you?
Skip Marley: My grandfather’s life has taught me many things. He has taught me how to live and to treat other people. His life has taught me consciousness, and the connection with the almighty and my environment. I know a love for humanity.
That makes life better for the whole world community. A one heart, and one beat, will meet one destiny mentality. My grandfather helped shaped me, and my grandmother did, too. They have shaped my life and the way I view things. My grandfather is with me every day. When I start my day with his music, it is still just me and my grandfather!
The Knockturnal: You say that Higher Place is full of “Marley mantras.” Can you explain what those are for new listeners becoming familiar with your music?
Skip Marley: We come up with those. They are more than sayings. The Marley mantras are the waves. These are the things we go by. Every day, different things can inspire a mantra. It just pops up.
Sometimes they are simply an idea. It is a natural thing. My mother adds some, but they are things my grandfather [passed down generationally]. One leads to the next — things of that sort.
The Knockturnal: Regarding succession, what does the song, “Higher Place,” featuring Bob Marley mean to you?
Skip Marley: The song “Higher Place” is meant for the highest place of mankind. You know? A higher experience. You have to take things to a higher state. It is a humanity refuge. We have to take this whole thing musically to a higher place.
Mankind has to tackle these obstacles. We have to overcome [what is in front of us] together. There is nowhere else to go. We have to make here a better place. We have to take here to a higher state with our lives. We need a higher state of mind and higher thinking. We need a good vibration for mankind.
The Knockturnal: Your single, “Make Me Feel,” with Rick Ross and Ari Lennox, recently released. How did this new collaboration come to be?
Skip Marley: Well, it came to be by Rick Ross. I grew up on Rick Ross. It was cool that he was a fan of my work, too. It is a huge honor to work together and chat.
Ari Lennox is talented. It is the first time the label actually brought her to me as an idea. I had not heard her music before that, but now I am going to dive into her songs after hearing what she has done to the collab track.
The Knockturnal: She makes amazing music.
Skip Marley: Yeah, man. I just found out about her. Beautiful music.
The Knockturnal: Who is Skip Marley?
Skip Marley: I love who I am. Skip Marley is a cool rasta. Skip Marley is a rebel with a message. Skip Marley is a child of the almighty.
He is a hard worker. He is a perfectionist, disciplined, and spiritual. I am outspoken and softspoken. [Laughs]