Home / Arts & Entertainment / Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson: “I’m a Nine-Star General Now” (The Interview)
Duckie Simpson and keyboardist/producer King Hopeton perform in Solana Beach, California | Courtesy of Stephen A. Cooper

Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson: “I’m a Nine-Star General Now” (The Interview)

Q: Richie Havens, that’s right.
Duckie Simpson: Yeah. Richie Havens did “Indian Rope Man.” And Bob Marley did “African Herbsman.”

Andrew Bees performs with Black Uhuru in Solana Beach, California | Courtesy of Stephen A. Cooper

Q: And on the [new] album there is also a Peter Tosh cover?
Duckie Simpson: Yeah, “Jah Guide,” with me and Bugle. And there’s a cover with me and Agent Sasco, [“Stronger”].

Q: I noticed from reviewing the liner notes that you wrote [most] of the songs [on this new album] with Ashaki Simpson. Is Ashaki your son?
Duckie Simpson: No. Ashaki, she’s a girl.

Q: Is that your daughter?
Duckie Simpson: Yeah, yeah.

Q: Is she a musician, too?
Duckie Simpson: No, no.

Q: She’s strictly a songwriter?
Duckie Simpson: Yeah.

Q: How long have you been writing songs with her?
Duckie Simpson: I think this is the first [time with] her. This is the first venture for her.

Q: Can you describe your process a bit. How are you able to write such meaningful songs together – [you and your daughter]?
Duckie Simpson: You write different ways. Sometimes it’s an experience. Sometimes, it’s like – like “Betrayal,” you know that song?

Q: Yeah.
Duckie Simpson: That song was written about a girl who was dreadlocks by day –

Q: And blonde by night. (Laughing)
Duckie Simpson:  –  blonde by night (nodding). War Crime is about war crimes you are committing in America. The atrocities. Against these guys I’m talking about: Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Chávez. You know?

Q: So a lot of different things can cue you to write songs?
Duckie Simpson: Yeah. Exactly. Sometimes it’s just gimmicks. Sometimes it’s not even real. The lyrics just flow, you know? But I usually use topics when I’m writing. I look for a strong topic. [Like in the song] “Emotional Slaughter,” you know?

Duckie Simpson performs in Solana Beach, California | Courtesy of Stephen A. Cooper

Q: That was a song I read that you wrote when you were on an airplane after Bob Marley and [Sandra] “Puma” [Jones] had died –
Duckie Simpson: Yeah, yeah.

Q: You were thinking about them when you wrote those lyrics –
Duckie Simpson: Definitely. If you listen to some of the lyrics dem [you can tell]. Yeah, definitely.

Q: It’s a very meaningful song. Now [you] just mentioned [the song] War Crime. That’s perhaps the most militant and political song on the album.
Duckie Simpson: It is.

Q: It’s a very interesting song because it mentions a number of dictators: Mengistu, Gaddafi, Chávez, but at the same time –
Duckie Simpson: [And] AB. You know who AB is?

Q: Who is AB?
Duckie Simpson: AB was the Iranian guy. What’s his name again?

Q: Oh. Mahmoud Ah[madinejad]?
Duckie Simpson: (Laughing) I couldn’t remember his name, so I say AB. And he was very smart. Because he got out at the right time. They was gonna F*ck him up.

Q: The U.S. was?
Duckie Simpson: (Nodding) Remember I wrote this song six years ago. So I was telling Chávez –

Q: Watch out. Watch your back.
Duckie Simpson: Yeah.

Q: It’s a very tough song on the United States. What is the most important message you want listeners of that song to take away from it?
Duckie Simpson: War Crime?

Q: Yes.
Duckie Simpson: Well all of it. It’s a message there. The message is that the president should be charged for war crimes. Obama and Clinton should be. America has committed a lot of war crimes. Them kill the calf. Them kill Gaddafi. Yeah.

Q: “Ganja Baby” and “Chalice” are two of my favorite songs on the new album. Chalice has a super chill vibe to it –
Duckie Simpson: (Laughing) Chalice is just a ganja song.

Q: The official video you made fits the song perfectly –
Duckie Simpson: Yeah, that was my ganja fields. All those ganjas was mines. It’s funny, you know? I still can’t figure it out. It’s not one of my favorites. But a lot of people like Chalice.

Q: It has a really good vibe to it and it’s creative.
Duckie Simpson: [And] Ganja Baby is about these guys in Jamaica who don’t smoke ganja. (Laughing)

Q: Well I want to ask you about that. But let me ask you first about [your ganja] field. That’s in Saint Ann’s Bay [Jamaica]?
Derrick Simpson: That’s in Saint Elizabeth’s. They call it Saint Bess, too. Same place. That’s [on] the south coast.

Q: I’m coming to Jamaica in February of next year, so if you’re gonna be there –
Duckie Simpson: I’ll be there.

Q: Can I visit your herb field?
Duckie Simpson: Yeah mon.

Q: Sweet. Maybe we can hang out and listen to some Black Uhuru. When you’re touring who takes care of your herb field?
Duckie: I got my own farmer. I plant a lot of vegetables, man.

Q: And when you’re not touring [is that where you stay,] in the country?
Duckie Simpson: That’s where I live. I got a house in Kingston. And I got a rented place in Saint Elizabeth’s. But I go to Saint Elizabeth a lot. So it makes sense for me to rent a flat there.

Continued on Page Four–>>

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