Ras-I Talks Sophomore Album ‘Kingman’

Written by Akeelia Richards, DANCEHALLMAG – February 7, 2022

Reggae crooner Ras-I has amped up the sounds on his feel-good sophomore album titled Kingman.  Already released singles from Kingman shows Ras-I’s versatility with the positivity radiating from Kingman Ting, smooth sensual sensations sparking from If You Don’t Mind and the conscious guidance oozing from Lock it Down.

A cool-spirited Ras-I reasoned with DancehallMag on his journey in the musical industry, the making of his sophomore album, and why after you’ve heard Kingman, you might just believe he’s a lover boy.

Tell me more about yourself. Who is Ras-I? How long have you been doing music?

Ras-I, born Immanuel Kerr, in Kingston, Jamaica, went to Wolmer’s Prep, Wolmer’s High, Exelsior Sixth Form for one year, and UTECH briefly. “I was basically raised in somewhat of a musical family. My mother was in music. She used to sing, and she was also a part of Tuff Gong International so I was basically raised in a studio, raised around a lot of the great musicians and singers from Jamaica.

I started making beats for other producers then I started getting into full on production for myself and then I started my label, Ras-I musique and started to branch off into being an artist as well.”

Why the name Ras-I and are your parents Rastafarians?

“Yes, my parents are Rastafarians. My first name is Immanuel, so a mi brethren Blaze, who I actually started doing music with said “yo you need a name, sumn simple and to the point, Ras-I sumn simple as that.”

How would you describe your musical style?

“My musical style… I blend several genres into the pot, so you know roots, Reggae is the base of it. If you listen to my music you’ll hear a lot of Jazz influence, you’ll hear latin music, you’ll hear a lot of hip hop, R&b even some funk as well. But I always try to ensure that my lyrics are always positive, in terms of the topic of love and not only in the intimate sense but in a general meaning is one of the main things. Recently now, we started branching off into some dancehall sounds as well but we still keep it positive so it’s really like feel good music with a conscious message.”

Being a judge of your own accomplishments, how do you feel about your musical journey so far?

“There’s much more way, but there are several things I have achieved that I’ve said well wow u dweet so unto the next thing. It is always about getting better for me, pushing myself for the next year, or whenever or the next album. Many of the interviews many of the stage shows I’ve dreamt about as a child I’ve done but there’s a lot more overseas stuff I’d want to do but one thing the journey has taught me is patience. Especially when you’re doing it independently with a small team, you have to build the foundation a lot more solid than several others with big label backing.”

How would you describe the album Kingman? What are we to expect?

“This is for me my greatest body of work so far. These songs… we did the album over the pandemic. I don’t know we just unlock a different level over the pandemic, where we just dug deeper sonically, the rhythm, the lyrics like it just feel good. It is really feel good music, like the vibes weh Kingman ting bring yah go get some of that. Lock it down, If you don’t mind its just an enjoyable album like u can just put it on and play it and say yes this can be played on the country drive and it just feels good. And I feel because we have been living in a loop because of the pandemic and all the frustrations, you just want sumn to lighten the mood.”

Do you have a favorite from the album?

“Ahh somebody ask me this the other day, and mi couldn’t really pick but for now let me say Keep the Bounce featuring Royal Blu or Somewhere Wonderful but it might change.”

Are there any other collaborations on the album apart from Keep the Bounce featuring Royal Blu?

“We have Dre Island. We have a song called Dangerous, that’s the first song actually and Christopher Martin with Though We Rise. So yea we have some very very nice collaborations that will do well for the album as well. So big respect to the artist dem for giving us da strength deh.”

Are we to expect any more visuals from the album?

“Yea I trying to do visuals for all. We actually have a visual coming on the day…I wasn’t supposed to tell nobody.”

Kingman Ting

How different would you say is Kingman from Tsojourna, your debut album?

“The bounce, the swing, everything is different. Kingman is more up tempo. More dancing, you know I mean I just experiment with each album, I try to do a different thing. Tsojourna was a more roots-based album, with songs like Ordinary Day and Crazy Over You to change it up to add some spice. I just think this one is even more enjoyable as I say dancing. Tsojourna is more of a meditation. You can meds to Kingman album but you really gonna have the dancing.”

Do you have any music role models and if so, who are they?

“Stephen Marley. He is one of my greatest teachers. Damian Marley. You can even hear their influences in some of my songs. Even Crazy Over You, I remember when I drop it and Stephen sing over Crazy Over You to me and I was just in awe cause I don’t see him do that all the time and this is a man who’s big, 10x Grammy winning and you know. So he’s definitely one of my main teachers.

I have other teachers like Errol Brown and even my brethren Chris Martin dem. You just affi always take lessons from everyone around you. Sometimes them deeven affi talk for you to learn the lesson, you have to be very observant and pick up on. When a man know she him mek a mistake you just know she you don’t make that mistake.”

Is there any particular artist with who you would like to collaborate?

“I tell everyone that my ultimate goal for collaboration is to have a collaboration with Lauryn Hill. For Jamaica, mi want do some music with Popcaan. Like mi want link wid nuff a di Dancehall man dem some more. I mean I have a lot of friends in Dancehall and we going to be working on some more collaboration and I mean we already started as you see with Dre Island and Chris Martin and so . You have other artist out there like mi rate Skeng mi rate Jahshii dem. Like a some serious yute dem yah and a nuh just gun tune dem man yah sing a some serious song dem man yah a sing.”

With songs such as crazy over you and if you don’t mind, would you consider yourself a lover boy?

“Lover boy, I think there is a balance cause mi have nuff militant tune but at the same time I do try to ensure that I take care of the ladies cause yh mi love woman and we need fi show dem. The woman dem need fi know that and I think when you give them more love songs the place even lighter cause the woman dem happy the man dem get happer. Ask any man inna relationship the happiest time fi him a when him woman happy. But I think after my next album [Kingman], you’ll definitely say yes Ras-I is a lover boy.”

If You Don’t Mind

What can we expect next for Ras-I?

“More juggling cause I think the juggling scene coming back now so I’ve been recording on some juggling rhythm. A lot more visuals people gonna see me a lot more on their computer, in person too I really hope the entertainment sector gets a break now so we can keep some show, mi want perform but I’ll be building the audience overseas a lot more too… stuff like that just building the brand, growing the audience…”

Kingman will be out on all music streaming platforms on Friday, February 18, 2022. Here’s the tracklist…

Retrieved from: https://www.dancehallmag.com/2022/02/07/features/interviews/ras-i-talks-sophomore-album-kingman.html

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