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XKaliba started off singing at a young age, and was later introduced to dancehall chanting by his brother, Pulse His talents are displayed on several STX albums, along with his debut album 'Baptized Inna De Ghetto', and several other CDs.

The Music

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XKaliba sang the selection Baptize Inna De Ghetto on the Weep Not compilation and sings the combination See And Know with Donny Dread and Yahadanai on Set De Pace.  Each of the Black Star Liner compilations contains XKaliba songs, and you can also hear his voice on the compilation Itinual Jah. For The People was released in 2006, and Groundbreaking Records started 2007 off with Baptized In The Ghetto.


Various Artists - Black Star Liner Vol. 2
Listen Listen Listen Listen Listen


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My name is Michael Lionel also known as Xkaliba. I was born on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands on April 7, 1975. I am the son of an Antiguan/Christian mother and a St. Lucian/Rastafarian father.

As a young child growing up, my two sisters would go to church with my mother while my brothers and I would stay home with our dad. While spending time with dad, we were educated and motivated by the great reggae of the 70’s and 80’s era. As a child going to elementary, I was singing and listening to songs by some of the early legends. Artists like Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Big Youth, Third World, and Culture were my first reggae influences. During elementary, I was never chanting. I was a fan of the reggae music that I heard before any other genre music, rap, R&B, calypso, gospel, etc. My older brother, seven years older than me, Pulse, was already chanting. Pulse had a friend in our neighborhood, “Seferally” project, named Danto. Danto had a sound system and was one of the best chanters in the neighborhood. Danto and my brother, Pulse, and other chanters on the island would perform in the ghetto every now and then. Danto’s sound system was the first one I used. During the summer, while I attended jr. high, my dad got me a keyboard and paid for me to take piano classes from Archie Thomas. During my years in jr. high, I became more familiar with dancehall. Charlie Chaplin, Super Cat, Ninja Man, and Shabba Ranks were my early dancehall influences. After listening to artists like Lovindeer and Commander Shad, I told myself if they could do it, so could I. Their style of dancehall incorporated comedy and storytelling. When I first began to chant, most of my songs were counter action; that is what you call it when someone changes the lyrics of a song, but uses the same flow. My first performance chanting was at Arthur A. Richards Jr. High School for a Black History Month show.

When I reached high school, I became better in chanting and I began to write original songs instead of counter actions. Garnett Silk, Tony Rebel, Jr. Reid, Buju, Capelton, and Bounti Killa gave me motivation. I also got plenty other influences from watching dancehall videotapes such as Sting, Sunsplash, Sound Clash, etc. In 1992, while working a summer job in a metal shop, my right hand was crushed in a machine and my right index finger was amputated. Ever since, I labeled myself “Original Nine Fingers.” In 1993, my older brother now “Ranking Pulse” released his 1st reggae CD named Shake U Down on Prime Record label in Puerto Rico. He was also the 1st Virgin Islands’ artist to be interviewed and had his video shown on Caribbean Satellite Network (CSN). In my last year of high school in 1994, I performed in a show we called Central High Sun Splash (C.H.S.). This was my first time performing in front of a big crowd. This show featured ten (10) artists from different parts of the island who attended school. The first artist out of the show to release his own CD was Goldfish. After graduating from high school, I was inspired by new reggae artists like Luciano, Sizzla, Anthony B., and Jr. Kelly. I also began to purchase music that my dad never had from artists like Aswad, Black Uhuru, Israel Vibration, Twinkle Brothers, and Jah-Shaka. In 1997, I started to attend “Chant-out” in Whim, where I discovered DJ Swain of the Underground Sounds. We became friends and he was the first to record me and put my songs out on his mixtape (CD’s). I began to record on his mixtapes year after year along with other V.I. artists. This introduced me to Donny Dread, who gave me the opportunity to record three whole songs on his first various Artists CD named “7th St. Faren Heights.” The songs I recorded were “Babylon Pan We Mind,” “Raspect the ladies,” and “Come Together.” Donny Dread was a young artist and producer who was forming his own label, “Groundbreaking Records.” During this time I met Tippy and Kenyatta, who were two young musicians and producers. In 1999 when Midnite returned to St. Croix, I was inspired and became a fan of the band and Idren to Vaughn Benjamin. When Tippy released his 1st (Various/Weep Not/I-Grade), I recorded “Baptized in the Ghetto” to give the world a sneak preview of what was coming. “Baptized in the Ghetto” is also the title track for my album that I began to record with Donny Dread. When he released his 1st solo, Set De Pace in 2004, I was featured on a combination tune named “See and Know” along with “YAHADANAI.” From 1999 to 2004, I have been working off and on with a local reggae band named Gravity. They were known for singing covers so I performed as a backup singer and chanter with them to develop my skills. In 2005, I linked up with a next band, Reggae Bubblers, who had their own studio. In May 2005, they released their 1st various Artists CD, “Blackstarliner Vol. #1,” which featured my song, “Mr. Problem.” Shortly after, I began recording for “Blackstarliner Vol. #2,” and recorded “Life,” which was released in October 2005, followed by Vol. #3, which featured "Reggae Lives On". I am currently awaiting the release of my 1st album “Baptized in the Ghetto” and recording whenever I get the opportunity.

Click on thumbnails for full-size photos

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Xkaliba - SNWMF 2007 - Photos by Adebo Thomas
Xkaliba - Frederiksted, STX - January 7, 2006
UCA Center, STX - January 7, 2006 WRIP - Jan 8, 2006


Xkaliba Interview
January 7, 2006
St. Croix, USVI
Running Time: 6:47
Click on Image to hear Interview

Album Reviews
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Baptized In The Ghetto

Reggae Reviews:
Xkaliba -- the 'Original Nine Fingers' as he labeled himself since his right hand was crushed in a machine while working a summer job in a metal shop in 1992, which made that his right index finger was amputated -- belongs to a group of lesser known V.I. roots artists, who already have shown potential on compilation albums, but are waiting for an international breakthrough. On the basis of his musical efforts gathered on this debut album, there's no doubt Xkaliba will succeed in his mission to become a familiar name amongst reggae fans on a far wider scale. - More
Xkaliba's style is strictly Virgin Island roots. His style definitely works throughout the entire album and by my own rule, when every song is about something, it generally makes the album much easier to listen to (and review!). Although I rarely describe a roots album as such, the word that first comes to mine when really listening to Baptized in the Ghetto is FUN. It is thoroughly informative and even more so entertaining to listen to this album. The production is top notch (and even up to a few years ago, in my own experience with the music, that wasn't necessarily always the case in VI reggae as the talent was still developing and the attention and necessary funds were still accruing) from Donny Dread, and for his own part, Xkaliba not only has a full understanding of his topics (which run the usual roots gambit from first and foremost HIM Jah, the Empress, Mama, Babylon business and Black enlistment) but a unique method of creating not only vibes and melodies, but odd little stories which more than get his point across, and although I mentioned that he wasn't as talented as was Sabbattical Ahdah, he's no rookie at the game and his actual lyrical and flow ability is top notch, whether pure roots or dancehall. - More

For The People

BigUp Radio:
XKaliba, also known as "Original Nine Fingers", the chanter from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands has released his second album "For the People." It is full up of crucial tracks taken from the compilation albums "Black Star Liner" and "Itinual Jah" along with newer tunes that creates some real conscious music, "For the People". XKaliba's music is an authentic, Rastafari driven sound, enveloped inna roots and culture message. - More

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