Here in Orange County—the epicenter of Dewd Culture and Republicanism—the exotic world of reggae music is a grand mystery to the public at large. In an effort to foster better understanding between cultures, I've asked two of our finest local reggae artists and Rastamen some questions to help clarify their enigmatic realm—in separate interviews. You can hear cuts by Arthur "Kyng Arthur" Sinclair, who was born and raised in Trinidad, and Carlos "Rascalin" Chin, who was born and raised in Panama of Jamaican/Chinese/Panamanian parentage, on the Weekly's Roots Canal CD.
OC Weekly: Could Haile Selassie beat up Saddam Hussein?
Rascalin: All day loooonnng!
Kyng Arthur: Well . . . that's a very tricky question. Haile Selassie is no longer with us in the flesh, and Saddam Hussein is still here. So I couldn't say that.
How do you feel about white guys with dreadlocks?
Rascalin: As far as white guys with dreadlocks, I appreciate what they stand for, the ones that are real. They're saying, "Hey, man, I'm with you on it." So I give them a shot right off the bat.
Kyng Arthur: I think the dreadlocks is like when the Afro was around—everybody was getting into it. As long as you get into roots reggae music . . . The music is so great that one converts themselves to Rastafarian.
Other than yourself, what's the best reggae band in Orange County?
Rascalin: Umm . . . I don't know. [Long, loud laughter follows.]
Kyng Arthur: I don't want to say that there's a best reggae band in town, you know. All the bands carry on the music.
What's your policy on ganja?
Kyng Arthur: Ganja is a religious thing, you know. If you smoke it, it's good to elevate yourself, but I don't think a whole lot of people should be smoking it. It's something that takes you to higher levels.
Rascalin: I don't think marijuana is wrong. I think it should be legalized.
What's the deal with Rastafarians and Hacky Sack?
Kyng Arthur: That reminds me of soccer that they play in the Caribbean. That beanbag thing you can kick around in a small area? So it's a good practice.
Rascalin: That's because where we come from, outside of America, the main sport in all the countries is soccer. So that little thing? Guys kick it like it was a soccer ball. Kind of New Age.
Why did Bob Marley steal the Banana Splits theme song and call it "Buffalo Soldier"?
Kyng Arthur: He just used, like, the melody and stuff. Everybody all over the world knows "Buffalo Soldier," even little children. I guess he just used the theme of the song. It's kind of catchy.
Rascalin: Because it was already imprinted in everyone's minds. Bob Marley was a genius. He used the poor man's method.
Is it really true that the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all?
Kyng Arthur: Well, in that time it was. Those are real experiences that were in Jamaica during certain times in the '70s, especially when reggae music was on its move.
Rascalin: Yes it is because your attitude toward life and negativity is always gonna come back to you. Everybody's got problems, but it's not what happens to you—it's how you handle it.
Please sum up your spiritual philosophy in one sentence.
Kyng Arthur: In order for you to attain certain heights in this world, you have to try to build a spirituality around you because the physical and the spiritual go together to connect to Mighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth and the Universe.
Rascalin: I'm a Rastaman who knows that Jesus is Lord.
If reggae didn't exist, what kind of music would you be playing?
Kyng Arthur: It would be more Caribbean music because that's where I was born and grew up and that's the feel that I feel. But I like other music, too.
Rascalin: Whatever music would be praising God and would be fun. Rock & roll.
If OC were blown off the face of the map, would the worldwide reggae scene notice it was missing?
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Kyng Arthur: Yes, I think they would.
Rascalin: No because I haven't made it yet. [More long, loud laughter.] Can you tell the people I'm looking for financial aid?
RASCALIN & THE ROOTS ROCKERS PERFORM AT CHINA BEACH, 2369 S. EL CAMINO REAL, SAN CLEMENTE, (949) 492-6228. FRI., 9 P.M. $8. 21+. CHECK OUT THE RASCALIN & THE ROOTS ROCKERS WEBSITE AT WWW.RASCALIN.COM; KYNG ARTHUR CAN BE REACHED VIA E-MAIL AT ARTHURSINCLAIR@HOTMAIL.COM.