Yungg Muta embraces music - Mutabaruka’s grandson drops ‘Thank You Jah’
The energy of his dub-poetry-chanting, Black-conscious grandfather pulsates through the pores of up-and-coming reggae singer Yungg Muta, who took on the moniker in honour of the man who has moulded him. And, also, his middle name just happens to be Mutabaruka, a name that makes him, in a sense, the real Muta, since his granddad’s official, government name remains Allan Hope.
Ironically, however, by his looks alone, Yungg Muta could pass for a Marley, and while many say he looks like Skip Marley, for his grandmother, culinary genius Yvonne Hope, who he affectionately calls his “general,” it is the other way around.
“My grandmother ran into Cedella Marley and Skip, and she told them that Skip looks just like her grandson,” a laughing Yungg Muta shared with The Sunday Gleaner.
“All my life people have been asking me if I’m a Marley, and I proudly tell them that Muta is my grandfather. I have the utmost respect for him. Him never shift. From him start drop fire, him never waver. If anything, him turn it up a notch,” said Muta’s first grandson, who adds that he knows that he possesses the genes of greatness.
A Tight Bond with his Grandfather
And clearly, they share a tight bond. He recalls tagging along with his grandfather to the Irie FM studios in Ocho Rios as a child, absorbing the musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host who developed two of Jamaica’s most popular radio programmes, The Cutting Edge and Steppin’ Razor, and attending stage shows too numerous to mention. And for the latter, he also credits his grandfather on his father’s side, respected entertainment businessman of Reggae Sunsplash fame, Charles Campbell. “I have probably attended more concerts than anybody my age,” he said.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the young troubadour has singled out music as his chosen path, but this was after giving up dreams of playing professional football, having done stints for local clubs Cavaliers, Real Mona, and Constant Spring.
For the last five years, Yungg Muta has taken his craft seriously, with the blessings of his grandfather, who introduced him to some of his friends in the music business. “From high school, I always used to freestyle and hol’ a vibe, nothing serious. Then I did some soundcloud releases, just something to energise the people,” he shared.
First Dub Project
His first dub project was a collaboration with Ras Takura of a poem by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, which was originally produced by Mutabaruka. Then, on November 2, 2020, a date Rastafarians hold dear, the Coronation Day of Emperor Haile Selassie, Yungg Muta released the single Thank You Jah.
“This is really my debut single,” he says of the message-filled song, which is released on his own Alke Bulan Records label. “I am working on a project to be released in the summer. Despite the uncertainty all around, you can’t let the system stop your progress. Only you alone can do that,” Yungg Muta stated.
Still, he shared his disappointment at not being able to engage with his fans, owing to the pandemic driving the music business online. “I did about three virtual shows, and I don’t have a problem. It’s just that a live performance is one of the most important things in an entertainer’s career. You need to feel the energy of the people and connect with them and get that feedback that will tell you what you are doing right and where you need to improve. But it is also important as an artiste to send out a positive message, whether it is about what took place in the past, what is taking place now, or what is to come in the future,” was Yungg Muta’s parting shot.