You can now officially include the name Devon “Prophet Benjamin” Samuel to the list of talented Trini-born hit-making reggae acts. With the success of his hit songs “Coming From Moruga” and “Pretty Boy”, the Prophet has turned the full stop into a comma ensuring his name follows those of Marlon Asha, Khari “Khari Kill” Williams and Marvin “Mr King” Lewis as the growing cast of underground local reggae acts to penetrate into main stream radio.
But don’t be fooled, though seemingly an overnight star Samuel, like Asha, Williams and Lewis, has been working tirelessly behind the scenes for more than a decade to get his career off the ground. “Is the will of God,” Samuel said during a recent interview at a party in Chaguaramas where he was performing.
Turning to sign autographs and shake hands with a group of fans, which included two uniformed female police officers, he added, “Everyone has their time and I have been putting in my work for the past ten years and well now is my time.” Judging from the charisma displayed on stage and the reception he received from the small crowd the time of the prophet has undoubtedly arrived.
Dressed in a pin stripe maroon suit and a scarf in the colours of ice, gold and green bearing images of Emperor Haile Selassie II Samuel appeared on stage just after 2 a.m. and brought the gathering to life with his “Pretty Boy” anthem. “She wanted a pretty boy fella but she end up with a real bongo, bongo natty dread,” the crowd sang along in unison as he moved his slender frame on stage.
The prophet then cued in the lively chutney percussions of Hitman’s “Mr Shankar” brining more than a few bewildered expressions to faces in the crowd. “Hey Listen Mr Shankar yuh saying I is a drugs man yuh don’t want meh to marry yuh daughter, but yuh doing me a favour she smoke out all meh ganja she never have no paper, more weed for me,” he sang sending the crowd scattering in all directions in wild delight.
He didn’t give them a moment to settle before he rearranged the lyrics of US rapper 50 Cent mega hit “Candy Shop” singing “I’ll take you to my Ganja Shop.” “Goodnight to all the police officers doing their job here tonight,” he teased amidst the screams of the crowd.
“We have to get the facts about marijuana and determine exactly how harmful it is in comparison to cigarettes,” Samuel said backstage when asked about his open glorification of the illegal substance.
However, when quizzed further on the facts to which he referred he refused to speaker further on the topic. “My messages are clear in my music,” he said. Controversy aside the prophet seems set to leave his mark on the musical landscape of T&T and should continue to influence the melodies that keep you moving on a daily basis.
His reign, however, depends on the longevity of the “reggae wave” sweeping the island. It’s yet to be seen!