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About Capleton

Blessed with a gruff, gravelly voice and a gift for rousing lyrics, Capleton emerged as a fiery prophet of conscious reggae. Born Clifton George Bailey III in rural Islington, Jamaica, in 1967, he started out singing risqué songs like “Bumbo Red,” but by the early ‘90s, he had converted to Rastafarianism, trading risqué lyrics for spiritual uplift. On albums like 1993’s Alms House and 1995’s Def Jam-issued Prophecy—a key record for the era’s reggae/hip-hop crossover—he favored minimalist dancehall riddims. But by 2000’s More Fire, a career highlight, Capleton had embraced the more soulful sounds of roots reggae. That his catalog is full of references to fire (2002’s Still Blazin, 2004’s Reign of Fire, 2010’s I-Ternal Fire) is a testament to his belief in the endless potential for self-purification. As he sings in 2007’s “Jah Jah Lives”: “Righteousness I will always preach.”

Islington, St. Mary, Jamaica
April 13, 1967
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