With roots in the island of Jamaica, Ras Napthali from Coventry started rapping from the young age of thirteen. The rapper has performed various freestyles for the likes of LinkUpTV, GRM Daily, P110 and BlackBox. Ras Napthali has released two singles, ‘My Life’ and ‘Life Is Bad’, setting him well on track to producing his first EP.
After three successful international music collaborations, I&I have returned to their home ground in Coventry, where Ras Napthali joined I&I’s journey to share the works of Rastafari through new creations. In partnership with I&I, Ras Napthali has now released three remixes of his single ‘My Life’ with DJs and producers Kodiak Tension, KDubz and Bustawidemove. You can listen here.
I&I talked with Ras Napthali about his journey with I&I, realizing music potential and his cultural messages for Black youth.
Tell us about your origin, roots and heritage.
“My roots are from Jamaica with my Mum’s family living in St. Elizabeth and my Dad’s family living in St. Ann’s. I grew up listening to Reggae, Bashment, Hip Hop, Soul and R&B.”
What services in Coventry helped you to realise your potential in music?
“The Hillfields young people’s center and their manager Nina Mankoo helped me realise my potential by investing in a studio. Nina went above and beyond, by taking us to shows and obtaining grants to do our first music video at 16 with Ras Emmanuelle.”
What is the message you are communicating in terms of cultural knowledge?
“The message I’m trying to communicate is life can push you in all sorts of directions. Just don’t forget why you do things and use that along with hard work to overcome and make it into a better situation.”
What do the youth of today need to learn?
“The Black kids of today need to realise education is the key. In order to beat the system, we have to infiltrate it. We need more black people to acquire higher positions, to inspire the next generation but also, to help the next in line. Most importantly we need to remember who we are. I believe in learning our history prior to the first invasion in Egypt, which is in fact the sixth or seventh civilisation the Black man built along the Nile. They all possess our knowledge and true way of life. Remember how we lived as Kings and no matter what they teach, Khemet and its rulers, especially the early dynasties were Black.”
Explain your journey so far with I&I and what does your creative future look like?
“I have always been a fan of DnB, Dubstep, and Jungle remixes of Reggae songs, so when I was approached with the idea of having ‘My Life’ remixed I was excited to hear what it would sound like. All three remixes blew me away. This experience has made me start thinking of more creative ways to present my music. It’s these experiences that help me to remember why I started to make music in the first place.”