Empresses + Queens: An Interview with Jah9

November 21, 2014


LU: Your music is usually quite passionate and profound. Are you hoping to reel in curious listeners with this track, then hook them with more hard-hitting, thought-provoking content?

Yes and no… it is that sugar that helps the medicine to go down. This is the song that people who don’t know Jah9 are likely to hear first and I did intentionally want it to be light, because it could have been treated in a more overtly sexual way…very grown up, but it needed to be so innocent that even a little girl singing along could understand that talking, laughing together and sharing fruits, etc. is a way to show affection. I remember the first time I saw the video for Jesse Royal’s “This Morning” and the feeling it left me with…so bright, so much love, and I thought “that right there is an awesome service to people.” Just beautiful, I loved it! Now I try to draw on that whenever I’m doing a video. Avocado’s lyrics are already so much to take in that with a lighter video, the intensity is better balanced.

LU: What are your thoughts on the reggae revival, and how do you define your role in that space?

Jah9: Marketing is a great thing… and when something’s time has come you’ll have many ones wanting to capitalize on it, defining it as opposed to lifting it up and actioning it. What’s happening now cannot be encompassed by that because it’s not just reggae. Profound things are happening in other art forms. It was all happening before, but the artists of that time, as great as they were, were not celebrated. This time is different. Labeling it is to limit what it is, like it’s new but it’s not. I know my role in it… I am doing it. My service is my worship, to act on the inspiration I get for a good cause. I don’t need any other title than Rastafari.

LU: What’s the most important message that you want to impart through your music?

Jah9: Is nuff tings. In the context of “Avocado,” to be feminine is not to be weak, you don’t have to be a woman to be feminine, and it is not something to look down upon. The balance exists in all of us. Man and woman is not different but we have limited ourselves so much that we do not see the fullness of reality. If we all start there, we’ll easily see that we can love our brothers and sisters with true, full love and the idea of beating woman is a repulsive thing. If we are all vibrating on a softer, deeper, richer, feminine love frequency, that is what earth needs right now. That is what Rastafari bring. If we follow those examples, we can manifest more out of even ourselves, grow and evolve spiritually… that is how you make a real contribution.

LU: What is your vision for yourself as a reggae singer and conscious messenger?

Jah9: I woulda love to see this idea that we are royal, blessed, limitless, powerful—I’d love to see more of my black brothers and sisters living that reality. Not nurturing ideas of poverty, competition and want but of immortality, Godliness, Christ-likeness—to meditate on these things and see what happens. When I move out into the earth among others I always try to remember that, embody that and humble myself because it is not about self… it is about a vision for the whole, and I am just a part of it. It may seem clichéd or insincere, but mi ah actively work pon dat.

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