Elijah Prophet: Prophet Motives
- Words: Tomas Palermo
Listen to Elijah Prophet’s heartfelt 2006 single “Piece of Ganja” (Irievibrations) and you’ll hear what sounds like voice of a lion. Stout and growling, with a measured, sophisticated timbre, Prophet (born Devon St. Patrick Hoggart) transforms the roots riddim into a spiritual ode. Such a blessed vibe is hardly surprising, as Prophet was born in the country parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica, and studied music with guidance from roots singing legends Utan Green and Garnet Silk.
Singing since 1991 and recording since '96, Prophet scored early hits like “Burn Down the Walls of Babylon” and “War A Gwaan” after winning the Best New Artist award in the Stone Love star search contest. From there he began attracting international ears with singles for Germany’s Rootdown, Austria’s Irievibrations, and Jamaica’s Kennedy International.
Prophet eventually linked up with German imprint Pow Pow Movement and forged a strong relationship with the label, followed by dubplates and tours throughout Europe. The crew and label, responsible for big riddims such as Blaze, Superior, and First Sight, had previously worked with reggae artists like Gentleman, Jah Mason, and Anthony B. The German-Jamaican partnership between Pow Pow and Prophet lead to the 2006 album King of Kings, produced by the talented Ingo Rheinbay.
Although Prophet’s career is now moving apace, with regular singles on a clutch of labels, his remarks to Germany’s Reggae News prove that he’s still a humble country soul: “Reggae is really expanding to another level. Believe me; the music itself is bigger than us. What I’m doing is only a fraction.”
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