Reggae royalty

Stephen Marley. Photo by Leon Laing.

Stephen Marley. Photo by Leon Laing.

“Tremendous.”

That’s what Karl Hertzog said when I asked him what he thought about Stephen Marley as an artist. Hertzog, a Philadelphia resident, has been Marley’s friend for six years.

Marley, 42, performed at the legendary Trocadero Theatre in Philly on April 18. The weed-toking reggae star celebrated his birthday on April 20, which is Marijuana Day. Marley is the son of Rita and Bob Marley, the royal family of reggae music. Stephen, aka “Raggamuffin,” was born in Wilmington, Del., and raised in Kingston, Jamaica.

The medium-sized Trocadero enabled Marley to give an intimate concert. The reggae artist was clad in a denim shirt, jeans and brown Clarks Wallabee shoes. Like his iconic father, Marley exudes coolness. At the beginning of his 19-song set, a man gracefully waved a red, yellow and green Rastafarian flag. Raggamuffin performed the silky smooth “Thorn or a Rose.” The album version of the song features Philly’s own Black Thought. Later, Marley gave an acoustic rendition of “Traffic Jam,” a ganja anthem/story about a police stop. The diverse crowd sang in unison to “Could You Be Loved,” a gem by Marley’s dad.

Backstage, Spragga Benz perched on some steps and jammed to Marley’s music by tapping with a drumstick. Afterwards, Spragga joined Marley on stage. Benz played the character Wayne in the movie Shottas and dated rapper Foxy Brown. Jo Mersa and Wayne Marshall opened up for Marley. Mersa performed joints such as the Auto-Tuned “Comfortable.” Marshall performed songs including the braggadocio “I Know.” Marley wrapped up the show at 10:54 p.m.

Tremendous artist indeed.

Stephen Marley. Photo by Leon Laing.

Stephen Marley. Photo by Leon Laing.

Jo Mersa. Photo by Leon Laing.

Jo Mersa. Photo by Leon Laing.

Spragga Benz. Photo by Leon Laing.

Spragga Benz. Photo by Leon Laing.

Stephen Marley's guitar. Photo by Leon Laing.

Stephen Marley’s guitar. Photo by Leon Laing.

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