Things took a drastic turn for the worst in 1998 when the starlet was arrested and charged for four crimes including Rape. The case was surrounded by controversy; a guilty verdict in a non-jury court and being sentenced to serve 15 years in prison based on the victim claiming he sounded like one of the perpetrators. To this day, Jah Cure maintains his innocence.
Whilst in prison, Jah Cure released 3 successful albums, gaining a global fan base from behind the prison walls with chart-topping singles, ‘Longing For’, ‘Love Is’ and the introspective anthem ‘Reflections (Behind These Prison Walls)’. The Cure returns with his much-anticipated first album recorded on the outside world ‘Universal Cure’.
Marvin Sparks caught up with Jah Cure to discuss life and maintaining his hype outside of the prison walls, clarify the mix-up with the Keyshia Cole feature and why he doesn’t want to clear his name.
Pyroradio.com: Over in Jamaica they were releasing information that you would be released on a certain date then throw out another date to kind of throw people off, but the response was still big. Did you anticipate the response you would receive upon your release?
Jah Cure: Yeah, I expected that because I already knew that there was a lot of people looking forward to it. The authorities knew that there was going to be a [good turnout] so they kept shifting days, moved me from another prison and released me from somewhere else. So when the crowd came to that prison, I wasn’t there. They knew that everyone was out there waiting to see me come out, I was already being released from another prison at an earlier time.
Pyroradio.com: Your first concert in Jamaica was Curefest, how did you find that experience?
Jah Cure: Curefest was good. A nice representation for me. It was 3 nights; the first night was the all-white party at the Starfish Hotel in Trelawney, the 2nd night was the spin-off between sound system selectors and the radio DJs and it was a nice vibe.
The third night was the Curefest in the second stadium; the stadium they built in Trelawney for the Cricket World Cup. It was a good vibe and it was a good turnout. Every artist in Jamaica passed through; Bounty Killer, Mavado, even Beres Hammond was there although he didn’t perform. We give thanks. Even Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry passed through.
Pyroradio.com: It must have been a very nerve-wracking performance.
Jah Cure: Of course. The fans waited until 7am. I headlined the bill after all those big acts.
Pyroradio.com: Has it been hard adjusting to life outside the prison walls?
Jah Cure: It couldn’t be hard you know, because prison was hard to survive, so out here it’s like 4, 5 times easier than where we were, so we learn to appreciate. We can’t see it as hard, because inside was hard. We know the free world as heaven and prison is hell! I’m just enjoying it. There is nothing hard with living life.
Pyroradio.com: Since you’ve been out, your presence hasn’t been there as it was when you were in jail. Is there a reason for that?
Jah Cure: When I came out, there was so much to do. We were jammed up with work and we had a lot of tours and a lot of shows. For the whole year we were touring everywhere. Everywhere they would accept us, we would go so we wouldn‘t get much time to focus. Journey’s was a good song, My Life was a good song, ‘To Your Arms of Love’ was a good song, Sticky was big, I did Miles Away for Don Carleon late last year, so we’re picking up.
Journeys didn’t do well, but the people know Journeys. Journeys is a big song but I expected more of Journeys. I put My Life out, but we didn’t get much response because of the production. We were so busy on the road we didn‘t get to [promote]. But I’ve been here [in Jamaica] from end of last year so I’m recording more songs, and promoting the album. I promise the fans that they will be hearing more. We have some big songs to be dropping. Don Carleon has new stuff, RS productions has new stuff, Baby G, John John - we’ve got a lot of stuff out right now.
Pyroradio.com: You mentioned touring and as we know over here in the UK you’ve had problems gaining entry into countries. Which countries have you been to?
Jah Cure: We’ve been to mostly Europe. We’ve been to Switzerland, Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway - all those places we‘ve been to them. We’ve been all over the Caribbean. There are certain places we haven’t been able to touch yet. Its so much work; we haven’t been able to touch Canada or USA yet. We’re saving everything so we can do it big. Even Japan, all these songs like ‘Reflections’, the fans haven’t been able to sing with us yet. England haven’t seen me yet, and I’m looking for to coming to England. I hope the Government can hear [read] this and know that we need to come to England and replenish the Earth.
Pyroradio.com: What has the reaction been for you abroad?
Jah Cure: Oh man, they love me and I love the people too.
Pyroradio.com: Moving on to your album Universal Cure, the first single is Mr. Jailer. Talk us through the concept of that record and how you came to write that song.
Jah Cure: The whole concept of the song is that, it’s not just me who was locked up. People in the free world are in prison too. Within their mind, their work, within their situation in life. And even to the jail officer, letting him know he is a prisoner too. Although he’s not locked up but he still works there.
Pyroradio.com: What advice would you give to the youths who are on the streets doing crime?
Jah Cure: A nation without the almighty is like a tree without roots, just like a nation without history is like a tree without roots. If our nation is lost without the almighty then we ask that the youths to look in themselves and find the almighty. Find the source of life that creates the goodness, because the good in life is the God in life. Love yourself and then you can love others. We’ve been killing each other for years, lets build ourselves for the future.
Pyroradio.com: On Journeys you sing, “We’ve got a lot to overcome and some battles to be won” - what did you mean by that?
Jah Cure: Every living there’s a struggle, and sometimes you overcome that struggle and there’s some more struggles to overcome. Might not be as great as they one you been through before. In life, know this, nothing good comes easy, so when you`re heading to the top expect obstacles. Everyday in life is a battle for survival.
Pyroradio.com: You’ve always maintained your innocence over what you went to jail for, will you battle for your name to be cleared?
Jah Cure: I don’t want to get myself killed because this thing is bigger than how people see it on the outside. I’m the one who knows what happened. I don’t want to stir up the thing and make it bad for both of us - because at the end people are going to be on my side and I don’t want to start a rebellion that causes conflict. We have to understand that. Its split; there are some people on one side and some on the other side and there isn’t any joke about it. If I insist to...
My name will be cleared to the most high. My actions will speak for me futuristically; he will know who I am and he will see who I am. My lifestyle, my livity, my words and my work will prove me to that day. I have nothing to prove to man because the almighty know my deeds.
The arms of law has failed me, so I don’t need not to go through any system. I don’t like courthouse, I hate courthouse and all these things, so I will take the end of my stick. At the end of the day, the world will know who is Cure after all. Jah is the one, at the end of the day, who gives justice. Man doesn’t give justice. Remember, man failed to give me justice before so there is never a time I’m going to have my freedom and let any man fail me the way he failed me before. Jah never fails me, man fails. Now I have Jah to deal with the rest.
Pyroradio.com: Green Grass is the first time many people heard you on a Dancehall riddim. What made you appear on that?
Jah Cure: I don’t look at it as Dancehall, but that is how it was promoted. Stephen Marley and Jr Gong [Damian Marley] were on there as well. It was a crossover between Dancehall and Reggae music.
Pyroradio.com: Are there any plans to record on more Dancehall riddims?
Jah Cure: It was just a vibe; if it comes again it comes again. It wasn’t planned.
Pyroradio.com: The song that’s getting a lot of airplay right now is ‘Call On Me’. It is tagged as featuring Keyshia Cole but is not listed as her featuring on the album.
Jah Cure: We were supposed to [record it together] but we never got to. [The singer on the track’s] name is Phylissia. Keyshia Cole was meant to sing on the track but because the album got pushed back so many times, we just put Phylissia on it to save time.
Pyroradio.com: Speaking of international collaborations, you did a track with Flo Rida. Are there anymore collaborations lined up?
Jah Cure: Yeah, I’m looking to do a track with The Game and Mavado. I’m also putting something together with TI and the same girl Phylissia. We are working on it right now, I have the tracks right now.
Pyroradio.com: What was the thinking behind the album title Universal Cure?
Jah Cure: Music speaks the universal language, and the love is the universal language. We are trying to heal the people with music. Universally to cure.
Pyroradio.com: If you had the power to cure one of the worlds ill’s what would it be?
Jah Cure: I would cure AIDS. The biggest disease that is killing millions of people around the world. If you cure AIDS any other disease would be like second to cure.
Pyroradio.com: What message would you like people to take away from your album?
Jah Cure: The album is singing about love, freedom, the struggle and the journey. It’s talking about universal cure, because people are living in sickness. Everyday people are catching AIDS around the world. People living in sickness to upset the cure. Just letting them know that love is the cure.
Pyroradio.com: Lastly, what effect has going to prison had on your music?
Jah Cure: It has no effect but positive effect; I got a lot of inspiration out of the stress.
Universal Cure in stores April 14th
Jah Cure featuring Phylissia - Call On Me
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