Yaadcore: “Most of My Creative Process Is Just Talking to the Riddim” (The Interview)

by Jun 6, 2022Articles, Interview

Yaadcore Interview

When: May 15, 2022
Where: Los Angeles CA / Kingston JA (via Zoom)
Reporter: Stephen Cooper
Footage: Stephen Cooper – Edited by [email protected]
Copyright:  2022 – Stephen Cooper
Any use of any photos or artwork contained herein -without prior authorization- is strictly prohibited.


Yaadcore, also known as Rory Cha, is an extremely original, conscious, creative leader of the next generation of reggae stars. Previously known as an internationally influential DJ, Yaadcore is now fully blossoming into a producer—with his 12 Yaad Records label—and vocalist in his own right, releasing a remarkably impressive debut album called “Reggaeland” on March 18.

On May 15, I was blessed to interview Yaadcore via Zoom—Yaadcore was in Kingston, Jamaica; I was in Los Angeles—for slightly less than an hour. We spoke about many topics reggae fans will find interesting, including but not limited to: “Reggaeland”; the Jamaican government’s continued shameful failure to (1) fully embrace reggae, and (2) honor its singers and instrument players; whether Jamaica’s new openness to legal marijuana is yet trickling down to Rasta farmers; the taboo nature of psychedelic mushrooms in Jamaican culture; and specifics about certain Rastafarian beliefs and lifestyle choices.

What follows is a transcript of the interview, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations. Embedded in the transcript are links to Yaadcore’s music, exclusive images and photos, and more. At the end, you will find a link to the entire video of the interview on YouTube.

Greetings.
Blessed. Far-I.

How you doing, man?
Good, good, give me a minute—hold on.

Cool.
Yeah.

Are you at your studio?
Yes. Sorry about being late.

No worries. No worries at all. Thank you so much for your time.
Yeah.

And thank you so much for doing the interview for Reggae-Vibes, I really appreciate it.
Yeah man. Yeah man. You know how it go. Just doing Jah works, you know?

Yeah man. It’s truly a blessing to get another opportunity to reason with you. And talk to you. I know that as somebody who’s been touring the world now for over ten years that you’ve done many interviews. And so you may not remember, because you know, you’ve been to many, many reggae festivals, and many, many places all over the world—during the decade that you’ve been touring. Maybe more than a decade now. But, you know, you and I—I’ll never forget that you and I—we had a spontaneous conversation—you and I—we first connected at the Cali Roots festival. It was in 2018, and you and I had a very brief interview at the Cali Roots festival that—
Yeah man. Mi remember the I, man.

Yeah and people can google that up. And check that out. It’s a very short interview, but you know it was a very cool—very cool, cool interview. The reason why I rolled up on you that year at that festival was, I had a scheduled interview that year with Raging Fyah. Back when, you know, Kumar [Bent] was the lead singer of Raging Fyah. And when I saw you there, I was like, “Oh my God, I have to talk to him!,” you know. Because first of all, I was like this is the D.J. who decided he’s only gonna play conscious reggae music—and put the dancehall music to the side. So I have to talk to this guy about that. And then, I also wanted to talk to you about—and I did talk to you briefly [about]—your dad, who I believe is Tony Cha, that his sound system that he started in Mandeville—I believe it was called “Love People International.” And—
Yes.

—it used to be called “Playmate” [before that], I think?
Yes, correct.

Yeah, yeah. So I was like, “Oh my God.” And then the other reason why I was like, I can’t pass up—I told my wife, she was with me at that festival, and she’s actually the one who took the picture of you and I at the festival that year. I was like, I gotta talk to him because he stars with his son—I think now [he’s] your oldest son—Streme, in both of Raging Fyah’s super-hot videos that people can go check out online; the [official] video [for] “Rebel,” and I’m trying to remember the other one—the other one was called “Milk & Honey.”
Yes.

Both those videos were so tight. I’m sorry to go down memory lane with you, but just to establish, for the people, that when you and I first connected, it was at a very different point in your career. Because, you know, primarily, back then, you were known as a DJ—an internationally renowned DJ and Selecta. And people knew you because you were touring with Protoje. And you know, now, you’ve stepped out into a whole new different fashion and arena, on your own, as an artist. And so, you know, I think people also knew you—I don’t want to forget—that people knew you even before this point, for some of the mixtapes—many of the mixtapes that you put out. I know you had the SoundCloud endeavors that people enjoy. But, you know, fast forward in time, and right now, as we say, you’re at your own label that you started, the 12 Yaad Records label. And you’ve put out, what I think is—and I wouldn’t puff you up Yaadcore—I would only tell you the truth—
(Smoking spliff) Accha.

I think [“Reggaeland”] is a genius debut album that you put out. I believe on March 18th?
Yes.

Nyquill (Spliff A Light Spliff)

Well Blessed

The Calling

Ready Now

Yaadcore - Reggaeland | Album Sleeve
And you know, I forgot, before this also of course, you produced—people can go check—the great song with Kabaka Pyramid, “No Fenke Fenke.” And people know that you were the first person to play Kabaka Pyramid and Chronixx on [the] Jamaican airwaves. So this is another reason why people even knew you before you dropped this new album.
Yes.

You know there’s just a lot in this album that I want to talk to you about. Again, I just think it’s very, very well put together. An impressive debut. You had foreshadowed—you had kinda foreshadowed and put it out there that you were gonna be doing this a little bit earlier. Before the pandemic. In 2019, you dropped [the popular single] “Ready Now.” And then, in 2020, you followed [that] with [another very popular tune,] “The Calling,” right?
Yes.

So that was kinda letting the people know that you were kinda coming like this. But there are now enough new irie compositions—I mean people have asked you—I’m gonna ask you a few questions about those songs, or about one of them at least. But people have asked you a lot of questions [about those two tracks already]. I want to ask you more about some of the new songs on the album. [But] I’ll go ahead and ask you [now my question] about “Ready Now” with Pressure Buss Pipe. My curiosity, it compels me to have to ask you this; at one point in “Ready Now,” which is a very, very upbeat, energetic song, you sing how you’re “ready now.” And then this was kinda surprising to me, and I want to make sure—sometimes I like to forensically examine the patois that I’m listening to. Make sure that I understand correctly what’s being said.
Accha.

Because as an American, I can frequently—and I think a lot of reggae listeners [like me] are not sure exactly what they’re hearing [at times]. So, you [sing], this was surprising [to me]: “Light di chalice, grabba hotta den a pepper now.”
True.

And I even went—because you have a “lyric video” that people can watch on Reggaeville.com—to make sure I had the lyrics straight. And so I thought about it. “Light di chalice,” that needs no further explanation—
Light. Light di chalice.

Yeah. “Light di chalice,” that needs no further explanation, everyone understands [what that means]. But then when you say “grabba hotta den a pepper now,” I’m imagining that you grab a hot pepper and put some hot sauce on it—
(Shaking head and smiling)

—no?
“Grabba” is tobacco leaf.

Ah! Thank you. That explains—(laughing)—that explains a lot.
Right. So anytime you hear me say “grabba,” it’s tobacco leaves.

Tobacco leaves. And then the next thing you [sing] is, “den a pepper now,” right?
Yeah. “Hotter den a pepper now” is just meaning the grabba is—it’s just a comparison to something that’s hot. To let you know how hot the grabba is.

Respect. Thank you for that, because I would not have figured that out otherwise. I really appreciate that. Now like I said, there are some super ultra-wicked new tracks that you dropped just recently in this new album.
Give thanks.

And perhaps my most favorite, it could be, is the track—the title track—“Reggaeland.”
Okay, nice. Thank you.

There are some really vicious complex lyrics in this tune. And honestly the rhymes on this track are so dope. The message of this song is so tight. You say, at one point you [sing], “reggae this, a-reggae that, a-reggae pon top, reggae can’t flop.” And then, eventually, you go on to assert: “The whole world know reggae can’t stop.” And then you move on from that, and this is what I think is the most powerful line, you chant, with authority, quote: “Reggae is a third world ting. Straight from yard we making first world sing.” So first off, respect. Because I just love this rhyme. And can you speak for a moment [about] how you [got] the inspiration to write the killer lyrics that are in this particular tune? And tangentially, where were you—I just like to sometimes know about people’s songwriting process. Do you remember? You know you wrote this song, “Reggaeland.” Where were you and what were you doing physically? Where were you—were you in Jamaica—and what were you doing when you wrote this lyric?
I was in my studio actually, and I was just—just listening to the riddim, you know? And most of my creative process is just talking to the riddim. So—

Wow.
—listening to that riddim, that’s what the riddim spoke to me. As far as “Reggae is a third world ting, straight from yard we make the first world sing,” it’s just stating that, you know, Jamaica is the foundation of reggae music. And the root of where it is. You know forwarding from whether people outside of Jamaica is inspired by that, you know? As mi say, “Straight from yard, we make the first world sing.” Meaning that our music has traveled to the four corners of the earth to reach people in the first world. And that they’re embracing our music, you know?

Respect. And how did you decide that [“Reggaeland”] was going to be the title track? And did your business partners—I know that this album, you put [it] out on your own label. But you also put it out with Delicious Vinyl Island—which of course is an offshoot of the Delicious Vinyl label that’s in Los Angeles. So, you know, did you just say, “Hey”—I’m always curious to how this works—did you say, “Hey, this is going to be”—did you, Yaadcore, say “Hey, this is gonna be the title track?”
You know, actually, I was inspired by Mike Ross from Delicious Vinyl to call [my debut album] “Reggaeland.”

Nice.
So, you know, I got support from Delicious Vinyl, definitely, and mi give thanks for that. Because it definitely work out in being the perfect name.

Yeah, I agree. Now I also respect—I really have to say—I put it out on—I don’t love social media, but we all have to use it sometimes. And one of the things that I put out there [on social media] that I really just enjoy [about “Reggaeland”], and I think [other] people agree, is one of the verses on [the track] “Reggaeland” [where] you sing: “Mi know about the ones from before, Sly Dunbar done taught Yaadcore.”
No, I said, “Mi know about the ones from before, Sly Dunbar nah talk Cat Coore.”

YaadCore-Screencapture1
Oh—
“Cat” Coore—

“Cat” Coore from Third World. Oh, wow, that totally changed the song for me.
And then I went on to say, “which part u deh when LB a-soar.” “LB” is a reference to Lorna Bennett.

Oh, yeah, Protoje’s mom.
Right. So [it goes] “which part u deh when L.B. a-soar,” and [then], “Toots Maytals did a tour,” you know?

Oh yeah, because my next [question] was going to be to ask you, did you do a tour with Toots [and the] Maytals?
No, no, no. Just in reference to say that when they’re—reggae is a global genre, you know? Toots [and the] Maytals and dem been touring the world since the 70s, 80s. So that’s what I’m making reference to.

True. And you know what, same way, Yaadcore, same way. Because you know I just respect the fact that you dropped the names of these legendary people in your song about “Reggaeland.” Even though [“Reggaeland”] could be my favorite tune [on your new album], the other tune—it’s hard, because the other [new] tune [I really love] follows on the album [right] after that—which I just love. I told you yesterday I was gonna have to ask you about this. Because there’s no amount of times where I could listen to this song and get tired of it—which is your remake of the John Holt [classic], “Police in Helicopter.” That song is just so slamming.
Respect.

Yeah I have a couple of questions about that [song]—that song is super-tight. And before I ask my questions about it, there’s a reggae radio host—he’s in Uganda—he has his own reggae radio show [#NxtReggaelizeIt], he’s had it for like a year. He started it up during the pandemic. And it’s a very popular reggae show in Uganda. And he asked me to ask you—because he found out I was going to be interviewing you—and he said, about this track, [“Police in Helicopter”], when did you record Jah 9’s vocals and also get the video of her—for the official Tizzy Tokyo video that you have—that people can watch on YouTube? How did you [get] this part with Jah 9 [in it]? Because his understanding—and, you know, he reminded me—is that Jah 9 has relocated to Tanzania. To Dar es Salaam. So, we’re just curious as to how did you—were you able to work—did she do her stuff in Africa, and then, somehow send you stuff through the internet? Or how did it work?
Yeah, so as far as that song is concerned: Subatomic [Sound System] linked me to do the remake of “Police in Helicopter.” And I knew I wasn’t the perfect one to sing the whole chorus. So I told [them], I think the best option we have right now is Jah 9. Taking into consideration her vocal range and everything. And I reached out to her, and you know, she agreed to do it after I had my verse [ready]. Naturally that was when I reached out to her.

You reached out to her in Africa?
Right, right. So then I sent my part and everything [to her]. She liked it, and she did her part. As far as the video is concerned now, there’s a technique called the “Green Screen Technique.” So we shot both our parts in front of a green screen.

Wow.
So that way they’re able to join it as [if] it were in the same room.

Wow. Okay. You’re dropping a lot of knowledge; I don’t think people know [about] that [generally]—that’s cool. And the video. I have to mention the video because, I told you, it’s so slamming because you see—all of the sudden there are cuts [to] one of my favorite drummers/percussionists—he plays with Subatomic Sound [System], [the legendary] Larry McDonald. Suddenly you see him in the video—he’s got his percussion. And you know, Larry McDonald—did you—Subatomic, you mentioned Subatomic, of course I know and have connected before with Emch from Subatomic. Back when Lee Scratch Perry was still with us. When you connected with them, did you get a chance to meet Larry McDonald? And be in the same room with Larry McDonald at all?
Yeah, yeah. We shot our part at the same time so—

Nice.
I’ve met [Larry] on separate occasions as well, too.

With Larry, I mean the reason why I also wanted to ask you about him, is—Yaadcore, as you know Larry is—he has over fifty years of professional hand-drumming experience—congas primarily. And he’s played for tons of reggae stars: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Lee Scratch Perry—the names for reggae go on and on. He’s played outside of reggae, of course, for different genres, you know? [With] Taj Mahal and Gil Scott-Heron. All just to say, it’s unquestionable that Larry McDonald, at eighty-four-years-old, is a legendary musician. Not just legendary Jamaican musician, he’s a legendary musician, period.
Yeah man.

It can’t be argued. And the question—the reason that I want to ask you about it is because, you know, I saw an interview—or I read an interview you gave to the Jamaica Star after your album was released (I think the Jamaica Star might be an offshoot of The Gleaner). But you mentioned how the government [in Jamaica] had turned their back on the culture—in the interview. And what I wanted to know is, how can it be that a person like Larry McDonald has never been—I mean we could put so many different names in this question. But I’m just focused on Larry McDonald, because he’s in that video with you, and you know who I’m talking about. How could it be that the Jamaican government has never ever officially honored [Larry McDonald]? Or given him the recognition [he deserves] ever? Larry McDonald—never ever have they, the Jamaican government, recognized his musical contributions in Jamaica and in the world. What we can we say about that? What can we make about it?
Well the Jamaican government [doesn’t] really glorify musicians. Or even artists. Much less musicians. If your name is not really carrying a hype, or you don’t have a lot of money or anything, the government don’t really recognize you, you know? So, firstly, the government needs to recognize the genre, you know, pon a more in-depth level. Dem [need] to realize who these musicians are that played a big contribution to our musical culture, you know?

Yaadcore-Screencapture2
You’ve talked before—I’ve even seen some interviews you’ve given on Jamaican TV about how they need to update music education in Jamaican schools. And teach the playing of reggae instruments—and not, for example, [the playing of] recorders and things like that. I’ve seen that you’ve said that before. And there [has] also been a push to have more to educate schoolchildren in Jamaica about the reggae genre. And in that regard, I know that there are plans for like murals—they’re gonna paint murals in downtown Kingston. The Mayor of Kingston has called it like a “Walk of Fame.” But to me, that’s really insufficient. They have to have like a beautiful—Jamaican writer Emma Lewis has written about a “Reggae Hall of Fame.” That would be like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Where you could go down like a wing [of the museum], [and] it would be like[, for example,] the Larry McDonald wing, right? Or you could go down the Winston Jarrett [wing]—who I just interviewed, you know. You could go down a wing and see all of his albums. Learn about his career. The schoolchildren. And also tourists could. And I want to ask you specifically, Yaadcore, about this. Because five years ago, if people go check, the interview that you and I just did, spontaneously, four or five years ago now, at [the] Cali Roots festival in 2018. I pretty much asked you the same question. I pretty much covered the same ground. We talked about how the Jamaican government just fails to support and fully invest in reggae. As they should. Embrace the culture. You can make a lot of money—forget—even if you wanted to put it aside. In terms of investment and “prosperity now.” And things like that. There’s certainly a good reason to invest [in reggae] even if you weren’t concerned about all the cultural aspects of it. But because I saw that quote that you gave in the Jamaica Star after your album was released, about how the government has turned their back on the culture, I just wanted to ask you: What will it take, is there anything that can happen in our lifetime that can change—that can make the government do right by people like Larry McDonald? And also by the schoolchildren in Jamaica, to really learn about the culture?
Yeah man. It’s definitely something we can look forward to in our lifetime as we grow as artists. As we grow as humans and get more leverage. These are the tings we a-go try fi implement. You know not solely, but naturally within the community of the music and everything so—

One other thing I wanted to throw out there to you, because you’re a young artist who I think is going to be around—you’re gonna be I think, Yaadcore, one of the people I think who’s gonna be having a big say in this industry as we go forward. And one thing about that that I mentioned is that—I think if they had a Reggae Hall of Fame, like for example on the Kingston waterfront, a really well-funded one, a big one, then they could have a performance venue there. And then if they had a performance venue there they could have a reggae Grammy—a reggae award [show]—like the Grammys. And then no one would care about the Grammy Award in the United States [for reggae]. They would just care about the award that is given out in Kingston. At the place where Jamaica—at the “Reggaeland.” And Reggaeland, that’s what they would care about. And so, do you think that that could ever happen? And the reason why I ask, too, is because if—truly your [debut] album—like I bet at the end of this year—I don’t want to jinx you, man—but, I’m gonna be honest with you. I think your album should be in the running for Best Reggae Album [for the year]. But because we know who sits on the Grammy committee, I think the chances are—you tell me what you think about it. I don’t want to jinx you, but I don’t think that the people on the [Grammy Award’s] reggae committee truly appreciate reggae [on the whole] to know enough, where, for example, people like you and Addis Pablo—who I just [recently] interviewed—are [artists] who should be in consideration for Best Reggae Album. But that’s not what we see when the Grammy Awards [take place every year].
Yeah well we need more people like you pon the Grammy [Award] committee. You can sign up, and be a part of the Grammy [Award] committee. You know that, right?

I might try to ask—you know, I know [reggae historian] Roger Steffens. So I might ask him about it.
Yeah, you can become a member you understand? And have a vote.

Respect. But I still—even if I could—I just think that it needs to be coming from Jamaica. Forget the Grammys in the United States. They need to have—
Well that is a total separate thing, you understand? That is definitely something, as mi say, where mi a-go try to implement in our lifetime same way, but—

Nice.
—that is separate from the Grammys. The Grammys is something on its own, you get what me a-say? And we know say they’re a lot of politics behind what’s happening—what’s happening within the Grammy [Awards] committee. But as we say, that’s why real people have to realize dem power. Dem leverage. And know that they have a say, too.

Respect.
So when you spread the word to all your real people who know the music, and check out what it takes to become a part of the recording academy committee, then you can be a part of the change [too], you know?

Nice. Now I wanted to move away from that for a second and just ask about another kinda “hot topic subject.” Because “Police in Helicopter” is a perfect song for you to remake, Yaadcore, on your debut album I feel, because you really have kinda developed into an internationally known spokesperson for the cannabis I would say—in many ways. Because, for example, I know that you had a partnership with “Leafly,” who review[s] marijuana strains. And I know also that you’re the host, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re the host of Jamaica’s first weed strain review series. And it’s called, just like the alternate song [name] for “Nyquill” [with veteran singer Richie Spice]—[this] series that you do, I don’t know if it’s on TV or if it’s on the radio. I would like to watch it. But apparently you do some kinda weed strain review that’s called “Spliff A Light Spliff,” where you review different strains of cannabis. True?
Yeah. There was a series I did. It’s on YouTube.

Nice. And it [was] for a dispensary that’s in Jamaica, right? That’s called “Itopia [Life],” true?
Itopia, yeah.

I want to ask you about it, because, one question I even asked a way back, when I was so blessed, I was able to talk to Max Romeo—[when] he came to the Dub Club in L.A. So one question I want to ask you is kinda like I asked him. Now there’s—it seems like when I went to Jamaica [last] even, right before the pandemic, I was lucky, I came to Jamaica in 2020, and I noticed that there was some [cannabis] dispensaries even on the beach. And that there was a new kinda openness that I hadn’t seen in previous years when it comes to cannabis use in Jamaica. And certainly, since you worked with Itopia and Leafly and all that, I just want to ask: Has any of that trickled down to the Rasta farmers in Jamaica? The new kinda openness and acceptance of marijuana in Jamaica? Are the Rasta farmers, have they benefitted at all, in terms of what’s going on now?
Well there are certain licenses that can be granted. But on a general scope, no, the Rastafarian community is not really benefitting. Because separate and apart from, you know, being granted to grow herb for sacramental purposes, like if you want to conduct yourself in the actual business, you still have to apply for certain licenses and pass certain criterias—just like anybody else, you know?

Right. Is there anything you would suggest, in particular? I’ve heard people suggest they should make that easier for Rasta farmers, so they can get those licenses. Is there anything you would suggest the government do to make it trickle down more to Rasta farmers?
Yeah, well definitely, if you have a marijuana farm, then you just try fi educate; the Rasta farmers dem no reach a certain level where it’s necessary to be, you know, partaking in the dispensaries or whatever, you know? So it’s just farming education, because you know, it’s a lot of more technicalities when you go into the white market of selling herb, you know?

Yeah.
So I think that the Rasta farmers need more education on how to reach certain standards. And you know, obviously, a certain leeway with the licenses and so forth, you know?

Respect. Respect. Now because I asked you about herb, you know that I have to ask you about the other substance—we call it a “substance”—[the] [mu]shrooms. Because you have a very interesting song on your new debut album called “Shrooms.” And I have to ask you about this because I saw where you talked about how, you know, you came up with this song as you were—you had taken some mushrooms at a friend’s house in San Francisco. And I think you came up with the melody, or maybe with the hook, and then later came up with the full song. Which is a very creative song—the song “Shrooms.” And on the song itself, and then I’ve heard you say a few times yourself [too], but actually in the lyrics [of the tune], you [sing] that you’re the first Rastaman to sing about shrooms pon your album. And so then that leads me to want to ask you so badly whether shrooms are kinda frowned upon? Before your—I think you’re right. I think you may be the first person—I’ve not—I can’t think of any other—I listen to a lot of reggae. Over the course of many, many years. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a [reggae] song about mushrooms before. Do you think that mushrooms have been kind of a taboo thing in the Rastafari community, or in reggae, for some reason?
Yeah, definitely, mushrooms is a taboo thing in our culture on the whole. Because in Jamaica, we call it the “duppy umbrella,” you know?

Oh for real? “Duppy umbrella?”
Right. So that means like a ghost umbrella or whatever—

Yeah.
—that’s poisonous. The Jamaican culture is not really big on mushrooms.

Is it worse than weed? Do they frown upon it worse than weed? Worse than herb?
It’s like, it’s more taboo, so it’s like really a small segment of people really even know about taking mushrooms for psychedelic purposes. So it’s not really frowned upon in a way like people know what it does. It’s not really a part of our culture to even take it, so it’s just more like, “Yo, stay away from that, it’s poisonous,” you know?

But it’s legal—I learned this too, I think, just getting ready for this interview—but it’s legal in Jamaica, true? Mushrooms?
Yes, it’s legal here.

Wow. But it still has that stigma.
And the fact that it’s legal is because the people don’t even know the potency of it. So it’s not like frowned upon, as mi say, because people know it as a drug. They know it as mushroom—something that just grow inna di bush where, you understand, it’s nothing where you know people know about what it’s about. It’s just recently now that the mushroom culture kinda spreading, you understand?

Yeah. I appreciate that. I didn’t know any of that.
Right. So—

Have you gotten any—has anyone ever questioned you about this song, or given you any [grief about it?] I was curious, because I saw you on, you were on I think it was “Smile Jamaica.” Some kind of very official—it looked like—TV program. And you were talking to the people about the shrooms. And it seemed like you were blowing their mind. I was just curious, have you gotten any blowback at all from any corners about this song—whether from the Rastafari community, or you know—I could see some record [company] executives being maybe nervous, you know? I don’t think they should be. But has anyone given you any hard time about this song?
No, no, no. Everybody love it, man.

Respect. Respect. It brings me to a really interesting question that another reggae-lover from Uganda wanted me to ask you. He asked me to make sure to put this question to you. He goes by the name of “Rokkku.” So Rokkku in Uganda, he wanted me to ask you, he said: On your song “The Calling,” you chant, “Me know dem waan stop this. See dem a move fake just like actress. Dem natty covenant full-up a doctrine. Dem smile in yuh face but dem acting.” And so he wanted to know, based I guess on that lyric, what are your views as a Twelve Tribes member on the food doctrines? And he mentioned, which I didn’t know all that much about, but I know a little bit about it, he said like the “ital livity.” And Rokkku tells me that these are pushed—[that] ital livity is pushed more by the Rastafari mansions Bobo Shanti and Nyabinghi. And so he want[s] to know, he’d like to know, as part of the Twelve Tribes yourself, are there certain things that you can and can’t eat? And why?
Alright, well the Twelve Tribes doctrine is basically more aligned with the Old Testament, seen? And more aligned with the Ethiopian Orthodox doctrine, you understand? So by that, you know, you’re able to eat chicken. You’re able to eat goat, beef—as long as you’re not eating pork or any shell-food. Then you’re safe within the Twelve Tribes [doctrine] or the Ethiopian Orthodox [doctrine], seen? But as Rastafari we know that, you know, the real way is really ital living. The healthiest way is really ital living, which is no meat. So even for me who is somebody that is a pescatarian, I know that the healthiest way is to be a vegan. You get what me a-say?

Yeah. Respect. Respect.
That is what mi promote as a Rastaman, you understand me?

Respect. Respect. Thank you so much for saying that. I think that’s very important. Yaadcore, there are a lot of other really cool songs on “Reggaeland” I haven’t even mentioned. You know like the love songs, “Be with Me,” “Tina,” and the very chill song that you do with Sara Couch. Who I didn’t even really now about as an artist until your album—the “La, La, Laa” song. Which is like a really chill, laid back kinda love song that you could listen to with your girl—driving in your car, or, wherever. And it’s just a very—you have a lot of very, very cool love songs [on this debut album]. And you know, it kinda is a very good complement because it kinda juxtapose[s] with some songs that really discuss the grim realities of ghetto life in Jamaica. Like, for example, “Ghetto Youth,” “Money on Trees,” and “Play God” a little bit—the song where you sample Lee Scratch Perry—which is a very, very cool song, too. And this is all just a long-winded way of saying, you know, “Reggaeland” is like I say, a very, very mature, complex, well put-together, extremely impressive debut album. So—
Thank you.

Yaadcore-Screencapture3
—much respect! Much, much, much respect. I was really blown away by the album. And I only have two last questions. I could ask you many, many [more] questions. But out of respect for your time—I mean, you’re at your studio and I’d actually like to see some more Yaadcore tracks I can maybe talk to you about. And get an exclusive on them maybe even. But the two last questions I want to ask—put today to you, is this: With the release of “Reggaeland” now, what new music projects should the reggae-world watch out for—coming from Yaadcore for the rest of 2022, the rest of this year, and going into next year? And don’t limit yourself, because I know that you have your foot in a lot of different ponds—as a producer and as an artist. Or maybe you’re just gonna stay in this one pond now, now that you have fully [gone] in this artist direction? What’s it gonna be for Yaadcore—what should people be looking out for?
Well you’re definitely a-going to get more music, you know? (Laughing)

Yeah. I saw now, correct me if I’m wrong, did you not say to someone recently that you have another album in the works?
Yeah well, I mean we have a lot of music stored up, seen? So if I want, I could put out another album tomorrow, you know?

Do it! Do it! Dweet it! (Laughing)
(Laughing) No man. That’s not good advice. That’s not good advice.

You gotta wait for the timing, right?
Everything is timing.

Yeah, respect. Respect.
Always remember that.

[Nevertheless are] there any other projects that you want people to just know [are] coming?
Well [I’m] gonna put out more mixtapes. Put out more production. Put out more singles same way before mi next album [is] ready. So as mi say, more music [is coming], you know?

Has the pandemic—have you been able to—is the travel, I know you’re in Jamaica now, but has the travel started to open up now again for you such that you’re able to—we’ll be able to see you? Because the other place that I saw you, and took some great pictures of you—which I’m sure my publishers might put in this interview—was I saw you at the Reggae on the Mountain festival. And I took some pictures of you there. But are you able to travel more freely now? Are you able to get to the [United] States now? Or are you still kinda locked down in Jamaica?
Yeah man, we’re free up. I been a-travel. We did the Cali Vibes festival in February and tings so. [And] you know, we’ve been moving around here and there inna Cali same way, you know? And inna the East Coast, same way.

Do you know of any festivals you’ll be at yet this year—that you can already say you know you’ll be at?
No, no no. Not right now, but we definitely know when I go be there, you know? (Laughing)

Keep me posted. I missed the one where you came in February. I actually knew you were going to be there, but it just didn’t work with my schedule. But keep me posted as to when you’re gonna be coming through my neck of the woods, please. In the Southern California area. So we can come out and see you live. And get a bunch of great video and photos of you performing. I would love to do that. And Yaadcore, I just want to end the interview by giving you the last word. I know we’ll be in touch later. Because I’m gonna be tracking your career like a hawk. But before I give you the last word, I just really want to say, you know, thank you. Respect for this album. I want you to be safe. You know it’s a scary world out there. So I hope that you’ll be really safe touring. And before we hang up, is there any kinda final message—you know there are so many fans who’ve been deprived of music. Like you say, [things] are starting to open up a little bit more, but at the same time everybody, I think, has their eye[s] always on the news. You know, is there going to be some new kinda lockdown that’s going to stop the music? What kind of message do you want the Yaadcore fans around the world to carry in their hearts right now—going forward into this year?
Well, you know, the message is within Rastafari. The message is within life. Everything else is secondary except life. Giving thanks to the Most High. As long as you can stay in tune with the creator, you understand? Then all your questions will be answered, you understand? Everybody have a different burden to bear, so only you can really determine where your footsteps should go. You know, when you’re in tune with the creator and the spiritual essence, you know? So that is what my music is for. To bring people closer to [themselves]. Bring people closer to the Most High.

So much respect. Stay in touch with me, Yaadcore.
Yeah man.

And bless up my friend. Take care.
Much love, much love. Give thanks, fam.

Give thanks. Bless up, Yaadcore. Take care my friend, we’ll be in touch.
Yeah man. Bless.

Bless.

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