"The most-important role of reggae in the world is in the history of reggae, is in the past," says Ziggy Marley, Bob's oldest son, one day after sitting in on recording sessions for the legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytals.
"Reggae had a more-unified position," Marley continues, "I think in the past, the music was much broader in terms of its reach and how much people can understand what we're talking about. … A lot of it is only speaking to what is going on in Jamaica today."
But the former leader of the Melody Makers admits he doesn't quite know what's happening in his homeland these days. He's a California resident now, taking sporadic trips to his second home in Miami. Last month, he released a live album recorded on his 2012 tour, but the new material he's producing is not musical.
Marley, whose given name is David Nesta, last year launched Ziggy Marley Organics. The line produces flavored coconut oil and seasoned roasted hemp seeds, which are at the center of Marley's argument for the decriminalization of marijuana.
His brand's website boasts about the nutritional and health values of his products, with a bit of power-to-the-people ranting about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He'll introduce his organic line Sunday during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival's closing-night party.
"Everything works together: the food and the music and the philosophy," he says.
He's referring to the parallels between the social oppression his father's reggae generation decried, and the U.S. government's unrelenting fight against Mary Jane. He says Ziggy Marley Organics is an effort to expand the message of reggae into everyday American life.
"[It's] to stop being racist against the plant," Marley says. " 'Racism' is another word I'm going to use as a metaphor. … Stop discriminating against this plant. Somebody might not know that this plant has so much value to it beyond the stereotypical thing that has been portrayed."
Even though he stands by his modern approach to reggae philosophy — and Rastafarianism — Marley hosts a satellite-radio show lauding musicians from decades ago, titled "Ziggy Marley's Legends of Reggae."
"The legends of reggae who set this thing set such a high standard that it is hard to repeat or copy," he admits. "It's hard for us to live up to that, because it's so high."
Ziggy Marley will perform 8 p.m. Tuesday at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $33 plus fees at JoinTheRevolution.net. Tickets to his appearance at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival are sold-out.