Interview: Ras Puma, Part 2
There aren’t many reggae artists, or artists of any genre who not only express their concerns for humanity, but also strive to live by their words. Ras Puma is one of those rarities. Through his music, he utilizes the power of his position as a recognized artist to mobilize people into recognizing what’s happening in our world, outside of our world, and within ourselves.
In Part 1 of his interview with Inity Weekly, Ras Puma recalled the earlier days of his music career and his artistic growth. The conversation took a turn as he delved into the messages in his songs, religion and beliefs, and the importance of incorporating messages in music.
In Part 2 of this in-depth conversation, Ras Puma assesses our current state of being which includes recognizing the importance of the spirit, realizing that there is “much more to life,” and many things in-between. Yet, to simply call it a conversation would be an understatement as the chat concluded with Ras Puma, wise beyond his years, leaving one to desire more answers and to wonder about the positive impact he will have in the future. Maybe a “Part 3” is in the forecast?
IW: So, what are you concerned about, as far as what’s going on in this crazy world? What tugs at your heart? What pisses you off?
Ras Puma: I’m trying not to let anything piss me off. We know for a fact that unless we have some kind of divine intervention, some really powerful intervention, nothing is going to change right now. I believe it has happened before though. We have to think in “natural” time and go back to the spirit. The spirit has no end. We have to be patient and know that we are just learning. We fell, so we just have to take our time, stop living so fast, stop accepting distractions, and just see that the message is much bigger than we think.
IW: Isn’t being an artist a distraction in and of itself?
Ras Puma: The industry has nothing but distractions but you start to realize what is from what isn't. It's your choice to accept or avoid (distractions). The industry is a scary, dishonest, backstabbing environment, yunno? As a musician, someone who has a passion for it, it’s discouraging to have to face that when you’re only trying to help.
IW: What’s your advice for somebody going into the music business, to ensure that they do not sell their soul?
Ras Puma: Recognize the powers that be - naturally. Ninety-eight percent of people… are thinking about money. Money is a reality, and I understand that. But, money will come in time - enough of it - if we put what’s more important first (which should be people) when it comes to music. Karma, blessings, “what goes around comes around,” whatever you want to call it. If we put something positive into our thoughts, our words, and our actions into the universe, we are literally creating a sequence of events that’s going to come around and be a blessing. That happens. When we realize and experience that, and see consistencies, I think it should and it will inspire them to look at music differently.
IW: Going back to music for a moment, do you feel that the Archives album has been well-received?
Ras Puma: We are happy with the response we’ve been getting. There are some strong supporters and we are grateful for that. All of us are really excited that the album is finally out. We’re paying attention to the reviews, we got like one bad review so far, that we know of.
IW: You didn’t like how it was written, or it was a bad review about the album?
Ras Puma: I have come to realize that I have to respect (the critic) for (his) opinion but he was a reviewer that does not review reggae music. He said “my editor gave it to me. I usually don’t review reggae music.” He still reviewed it. It didn’t mess with me after a while.
IW: Are you going to tour more as a band?
Ras Puma: We want more, but we have to take it one step at a time. We want to get further out and broaden the fan base. We’re not just going for the reggae crowd.
IW: The album is a good primer for people who want to learn about reggae subgenres.
Ras Puma: Exactly. The sound of music has changed. It’s too clean, there’s less feel in it, and everything is too standard. So we also just tried to give musicians some inspiration as well, if we can.
IW: What do you think about the legalization of marijuana?
Ras Puma: Do I think we should just - boom - flat-out, one hundred percent legalize it? No. We don’t have enough discipline with it. Science and history has (the information) but it’s not shared with us in the school systems. It’s still in the limelight as something that can kill you, that's dangerous, even God doesn’t like it - God makes it, and God doesn’t like it, so don’t use it. That’s what the majority of people say and think. Still, it can be abused, so we should take our time with it.
Do I think the government should put a law on it? No. But I do want all of us to take our time with it. It shouldn’t get to the point where people are bragging about how much they can smoke. It’s not about that. It's a medicine first, and until we understand that as a whole, respect it as such, and have proper education on its history and purposes, then we should move gradually with it.
IW: Do you think it should be regulated like alcohol?
Ras Puma: It’s hard to say. We live in a place where it’s hard not to have laws. We don’t want laws, but we lost each other’s trust.
IW: Where do you get your knowledge and information from, as far as the things you are putting out there including in your music?
Ras Puma: Reading.
IW: Other than Inity Weekly, what are your sources?
Ras Puma: It’ll sound crazy - Tumblr. Tumblr gives you the link to the article, then that article gives you the link to the book and to the author. Depending on who you follow, it’s strictly knowledge. That leads me to certain people who are interested in the same thing. (Other than reading) conversing with a lot of people, meditating, and just trying to observe and look at things differently. To pay attention as much as I can.
IW: You actually meditate? How often?
Ras Puma: I try everyday. I’m still learning how to have a clear train of thought. But now I’m getting into crystals. Crystals have a very consistent and strong vibration and wave of energy that helps with concentration. Crystals are beginning to fascinate me with the ability they have to store useful energy and even data. Even their very shapes, colors and sizes are fascinating. Albert Einstein once said "if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales." For example, Superman goes into his house and all of his memories and information are stored in crystals. It’s crazy but it’s a reality that we see as fantasy today. Many of the devices we use on a daily basis contain crystals, which help with saving data.
IW: Speaking of superheroes, what do think about the shooting at the Batman premiere in Colorado and all of these other senseless acts of gun violence such as the one at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin?
Ras Puma: When it comes to these killings, we have so many distractions that make us not even care about that. Making us not even care that right down the street they’re massacring people – (even) children. We talk about what Jesus went through – his pain and sacrifice, his crucifixion? People have gone through that and worse. Tortured and murdered for what they believe will help people to advance,and it’s still happening right now. On Tumblr, there was a little animation that had aliens come down and say “we have the cure for cancer” and everybody’s running over and saying, “Oh, J.Lo had twins!” That’s how bad it is right now. That is how low in vibrations we are. So low.
The Hindus talk about Yugas - ages that the physical and spiritual go through. They say that the Most High is everything. We can’t put the limits on the Most High because everything came from it. Everything manifested from the most high.
The Yugas talk about the physical going through cycles of ages and that we are in the ascending part of the Kali Yuga. There are four ages: the Satya, Treta, Dwarpa and Kali. There is a descending and an ascending part of this cycle. The descending part is when there is less love, more war and living in fear - forgetting our true nature. The ascending is the opposite: the ages where we remember our true nature and we are able to break out of this cycle. We are coming out of the Kali Yuga and are going into the Dwarpa Yuga and we’ll start understanding what energy is again and what a spirit is again. I think the Mayan Calendar and December 21, 2012 subject ties into this, just from a different culture. It’s kind of unfair when we think of it in a way, but that’s just the physical cycle. The spiritual cycle is something else. That’s what hell is to me - not realizing that we’re spirits first and being stuck manifesting, reincarnating into this physical world, the same density over and over- that’s hell. Billions of galaxies out there, and we are a speck in our galaxy. As a whole we don’t care to figure out where all of this is coming from, or our ways of finding out has been corrupted some how.
IW: So do you think it’s a celebrity obsessed or materialistic society?
Ras Puma: All of that. We can’t just put it into a few words what are the reasons, because we are so complex spiritually and physically. There are so many things that are being attacked from so many different angles and levels that we are just… Right now, we are low. But I think we have more than enough here to make us stop and just say that there’s got to be something bigger. We are more special and powerful than we have come to give ourselves credit for.
IW: What do you think it’s going to take?
Ras Puma: (Sighs) I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime (soon). We are just learning. We are thinking in natural time. Some people think that after this, we’re going into one place and that’s it: you’re there for eternity, whether in heaven or hell. That’s somewhat of torture. If you just boom - know everything all of a sudden and there’s no more learning and there’s no more creating. I don’t want to do that. I want to constantly be creating and exploring what I helped to create. I don't want to experience an end of learning.
IW: What do you want people to know about you? Ras Puma - Christopher Smith… Are these two different people?
Ras Puma: Not at all. I don’t want two personalities. One is enough. I put “Ras Puma” up there on Facebook, my website or any other social media site for music purposes, but I’m also Christopher Smith at the same time. I get complaints about not being "Puma" enough, and to advertise (my) music more. I am an artist all of the time as well as Christopher Smith. This right here is what makes me write this music, and the album you just heard. The last hundred posts on Facebook or wherever, contributed to this album here. There’s so much I’m interested in that it just comes in. It just turns into something different in a way but it’s the same message.
IW: What is the ultimate goal for your life?
Ras Puma: I just want to... survive. I just want enough, and to know how to be able to be happy, satisfied, and content with enough. Because the more we have, if we try to keep up with everything that’s being dished out by the media or the latest gadget or form of convenience, we will just go deeper and deeper into that case of amnesia. We will forget more, care less, instead of moving and learning, and going and seeing what else is out there in a safe universal way.
IW: What about your career?
Ras Puma: I’m using it for myself and for people. I’m trying to be cautious not to try and tell people that what I believe is what they should believe in. That this is the only way. I’m just trying to get people and myself to know for a fact that WE are more powerful and we serve a greater purpose. There’s something else. Something more. Even though our spirits are eternal, this phase is to help with progression and to move to that next density and we should treat it as such. To care enough not to procrastinate to make improvements as soon as possible where needed. Starting on a personal level first. I just want it to slow down.
IW: What’s “enough” for you? Do any of us even know what’s enough?
Ras Puma: Spiritually, no. There’s never enough. Physically, yeah. When we’re thinking of the flesh, yeah, there is enough. There are degrees to everything. Everything has a negative, everything has a positive. Speaking of Midnite - Vaughn (lead singer) tells us that an “electron is a negative, but you call everything that’s controlling us right now ‘electron-ics’,” yunno? (Even) “electricity” - everything you’ve given us is always subliminally negative, has something to keep us dumb and dull, and not progressive. Someone is out there right now working 24/7 to make us not progress. But we don’t work as hard (as them).
IW: What do you want to see happen?
Ras Puma: I want to not have to post a little dead (Syrian) boy on Facebook, to not have to sing these messages anymore, and sing 100% about the good things that are going on and to come. We don’t want to have to sing about "Babylon" killing this dude, or this husband beating up his wife, or the politricks. I don’t want to sing about that, but it’s necessary. We NEED it right now as a constant reminder that while you have this incredible amount of wealth in different forms, your family members on the other side of the world have not eaten or are being mistreated. Or else we’re going to wipe ourselves out. Like I said, this reggae music currently is just elementary, an introduction into looking at things differently. Using a third eye, your pineal gland. Looking at a scientific and spiritual level, even on a religious level - we can learn from all of it. But we need to have tolerance for everybody. We eat differently, we talk differently, we do everything differently from a geographic level, and yet we’re still trying to make people think there is only one way. That’s what’s really hurting us. No tolerance. No love, no unity. It’s every man for himself.
Click on the following link to read Part 1 of Ras Puma's interview on Inity Weekly: http://wp.me/p1KwdU-q2
For more info on Ras Puma, Archives, and Thievery Corporation, visit: