Between 4/20 and Earth Day, it was a beautiful, busy spring weekend. That’s why it was so dope that reggae superstar Pato Banton took time between gigs to perform at a small celebration to mark four years of one of his fans being seizure free thanks to cannabis. After an intimate set and spending time with friends and family, Pato and I stepped away for a quick conversation that I am stoked to share with Vegas Cannabis readers. Just so you all know, Pato really is the kind soul you hear about.
Between 4/20 and Earth Day, it was a beautiful, busy spring weekend. That’s why it was so dope that reggae superstar Pato Banton took time between gigs to perform at a small celebration to mark four years of one of his fans being seizure free thanks to cannabis. After an intimate set and spending time with friends and family, Pato and I stepped away for a quick conversation that I am stoked to share with Vegas Cannabis readers. Just so you all know, Pato really is the kind soul you hear about. He really does treat his fans like family. He uses his talent, not only to reach people, but to actually reach out to them.
Hopper: Thanks so much for talking with me for Vegas Cannabis Magazine. I usually call this column “Tokin’ With The Infamous”, but I think I’ll have to call it Tokin’ With The Famous, or better yet, Tokin’ With A Legend. You have been doing this for decades!
Pato: Yeah, man. I’ve been doing it for over thirty years now, probably more like thirty-seven years.
Hopper: You tour non-stop. How do you keep that pace?
Pato: Well, we set our own pace.
Hopper: You and your wife Antoinette, right? You guys are the dynamic duo!
Pato: Yes, we are a dynamic duo. We work together on numerous projects. We have our own booking agency, our own record label, our own video production company, we have our own travel agency, and we have our own spiritual ministry as well.
Hopper: That’s awesome! You play stadiums, huge festivals, shows around the world, and you just played in a person’s living room! Your commitment to fans is incredible. I’ve never met an artist that’s so down. You perform weddings, baptisms, house parties. You care about your fans in a way I haven’t seen.
Pato: Yes, my fans asked me to come to their home today. They explained what it was going to be and I was like, “I would love to come do that for you guys.” They really turned this house party into a festival. Good people, good vibes, vendors in the back garden. Everything was so great.
Hopper: It was a beautiful night. What role does cannabis play in your life, your music, your spirituality?
Pato: For me, the herb has always been an inspiration. As far as its effects on me personally, anytime I partake of this plant, which is not very regularly, but when I do it is very consciously and with respect, and I always have a deep, reflective moment. I don’t just smoke socially or partake of herb socially. When I do it, I do it for a deeper meditation and contemplation. As far as socially, I have always promoted legalization and decriminalization, because I think it’s a crime to criminalize an herb.
Hopper: Amen to that!
Pato: Yes, we have been promoting it around the world for years. It’s a blessing to see that slowly but surely, the planet is opening up to the real gift of this plant.
Hopper: It’s God’s plant, made by the Almighty Creator for healing.
Pato: Yes, yes. That’s right!
Hopper: What do you prefer when it comes to consuming cannabis?
Pato: My preference is edibles. I don’t smoke too much anymore because of my throat. As far as eating it, I get a better high. So, edibles for me.
Hopper: You recently made a new video for your classic “I Do Not Sniff The Coke”. I was so stoked to see that, what made you decide to do it?
Pato: When I started my own video production, I decided it was time to create my legacy and do it my way, on my own time, and my own terms. Usually, making a video is so much money, and you need someone to help finance it, or it’s more relevant to do when you have a single coming out. Being a video producer now, it was a blessing to be able to do that.
Hopper: Again, you treat your fans better than any artist I’ve been around, and I’ve been doing this since ’89.
Pato: I have three F’s in my approach as an artist. My first one is Fans. I meet the majority of people in my life because of their love for my music. So when I meet most of my fans, I tell them as soon as we meet and get to know each other, we’ve started a Friendship. And when I get to know my fans a little bit better, they become my Family. A lot of the people I saw tonight, I know them as Family. It’s a beautiful thing. I never try to hide from my fans, I always reach out and am available to them. Most of my fans have my cell phone number.
Hopper: That’s what’s so amazing. You even invite people into your own home.
Pato: Yes, we do. We have potlucks at our home and we just promote it on social media, and everyone comes to our home and enjoys a nice evening.
Hopper: What do you have coming up? You just dropped an album, right?
Pato: We just dropped two albums. The first album was a month ago called “The Words of Rastafari” which is a box set of me narrating the speeches of Haile Selassie over some Bob Marley riddims and some other old time classic reggae riddims. It’s a beautiful, beautiful project. It’s available on cdbaby and iTunes. Last week I just released an album called “Love Is The Greatest” which is my full-length recorded album with artists from Brazil, Africa, America, and the UK.
Hopper: That’s awesome, I’m gonna grab both of those. Do you have any shout outs before we finish this and get back to the celebration?
Pato: I want to give a shout out to all the people in the medical field who are exploring this beautiful plant, all of the professionals who are promoting the herb, and people who are fighting legislation so that it is accepted federally. I want to give a shout out to all the herbalists who’ve been on the frontline for years, all the scientists, and the unrecognized who fight to legalize marijuana. I just want to say thank you to all of the reggae fraternity, for always promoting marijuana. A big respect to Damien Marley as well, for the progressive moves he is making in establishing ganja farms in different parts. Also a big shout out to Mendo Dope up north, I love you guys. A big shout out to my wife, Antoinette, who is always pushing me to do better and be better.
Hopper on Instagram @Hopper448