“I don’t really think about how I want to be perceived by people. They have their own projections. I just want them to see me as a fighter for good. A love warrior.”
Skip Marley often speaks in this way—a rare combination of serious and cool. The Jamaica-born, Florida-based artist is mysterious and chill, but deeply connected to his craft and refreshingly self-assured. He’s authentic in a way most musicians these days could never claim to be; when he says he’s never thought about how people perceive him, it’s without any pretense or irony.
His sound follows suit, a reggae-hybrid that effortlessly blends eras, genres, and styles, while showing off Skip’s impeccable musicianship and poetic lyricism. His natural talent comes as no surprise—music’s quite literally in his blood. Skip is the grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, and his songs pay homage to his deep family legacy.
But Skip’s music is decidedly different, too. “It’s a new twist on the old songs,” he says of his sound. “I’m coming from a new generation, blending influences and letting it come out organically in the music.” He references The Rolling Stones, soca, hip hop and EDM artists in one breath, but it always comes back to reggae. “It’s the root,” he says thoughtfully, “but I don’t like to limit myself. I just let ideas drop down on me and go with the flow.”
His songs confidently mix an assortment of genres, influences, and instruments while maintaining their reggae roots and important messaging. Though the arrangements and lyrics are often complex, they feel easy and fresh. “Lions,” for example, has heavy alt rock guitar riffs and hip-hop elements, all underscored by a dancehall rhythm. This blending of styles is all part of Skip’s songwriting process, which he would never describe as a process. “I don’t really have a structure,” he says. “Just let it happen freely. There’s no right or wrong, you just know what’s good when you get there.”
Lyrically, “Lions” acts as an intense call to action that “shows people when we are strong and unified no evil can get us.” The lyrics are particularly relevant, especially when Skip sings, “we are the movement, this generation, you better know who we are.” His messages aren’t wedded to a particular moment in history, however. They’re universal and important, bringing the love his grandfather preached to a new generation.
“What Is Love” is no less powerful. It begins slowly, building to an anthemic chorus with an epic guitar solo backed by classical strings According to Skip, it’s a song for the people. “I question what is love, what is true, what is right when everything we know can be a lie,” he says. “There’s a power in speaking from the people first.”
“I want to spread my music to the people and help them unify,” he says. “I want people to take away a message of love, of looking at the way you are living and thinking where we can work to be or better and feel better. Whatever they’re feeling, I want them to be able to turn up my music and think, relax, and get good vibes.” It’s a radical idea maybe, but an essential one.
‘Lions’ is out now.