Reggae legend Sizzla might not have been able to set foot in the U.S. since 2008, but he’s fully aware of Drake’s success with island-based records like “Controlla” and “One Dance.” After having his work visa finally reinstated over the summer, Sizzla Kalonji is fully embracing what he loves the most about his career: touring. Not long after breaking his U.S. hiatus at the 32nd-annual Reggae on the River festival in Garberville, California, Sizzla traveled down to South Florida last week to kick off his first U.S. tour in at least eight years.
“It’s a really good feeling after 8 years of really hard work,” said Sizzla.
VIBE got to sit down with the “Give Me A Try” artist days before the beginning of his first U.S. tour in nearly a decade. After reflecting on his Grammy nominated 2013 album The Messiah and his latest LP 876, Sizzla expressed how he felt about Drake’s heavy island influence in his latest chart-topping singles.
Earlier this year, reggae artists like Mr. Vegas and “Controlla” collaborator Popcaan briefly feuded about the OVO rapper not crediting dancehall artists on VIEWS. Sizzla says he thinks it’s great promotion for his beloved genre, but does agree that he needs to show credit where it’s due.
“If Drake is going to take up any dancehall music and remix it, then that’s something good,” Sizzla responded. “It’s a part of the promotion. It’s just that we must just get together to have an understanding to administer the royalties and publishing for the artists so that you don’t have any discrepancies between the either artists.”
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He also said that he’s fan of the Canadian emcee as an artist. While Drake continues to set major cities on fire during his Summer Sixteen tour, Sizzla will embark on his own journey to bring his new album and his greatest hits to stages across the United States this fall.
Although his 876 Tour kicked off in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Sizzla plans to travel throughout the country to perform no matter what issues he may face. Since it’s been long rumored that his visa wasn’t reinstated due to his past homophobic lyrics, Sizzla has already dealt with the backlash of gay rights groups who refuse to host him in cities like San Francisco.
Watch the interview in full below.