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Radical Selector Turned Reggae Ambassador – DancehallMag

Rebel Nation | August 27, 2021


Reggae connoisseur Yaadcore has forged a unique brand from all his years in the business, first at the turntables and now, center stage. From cannabis brand partnerships (Leafly, Blazy Susan) to exclusive gigs with the Marley brothers, Yaadcore, born Rory Cha, is championing the cause full scale, covering all bases on his musical metamorphosis: selector, producer, curator, and now, artist.

Recording on his own 12 Yaad imprint, Yaadcore’s earliest efforts such as Tension and The Calling have racked up YouTube views. The ardent ganja advocate is ‘ready now’ with a remix of a previous release, Nyquil (Spliff A Light Spliff) featuring roots veteran Richie Spice. The blazing anthem is as poignant as it is defiant, a testament to herb’s healing properties that blasts even its historical detractors (“12 tribes HQ, we ah bun di chalice/ Fire pon Buckingham Palace”).

Following its release on Friday is a limited-edition merchandise drop with iconic California skate/streetwear brand, Diamond Supply Co, and cannabis lifestyle company Blazy Susan.

Ahead of the premiere, DancehallMag sat down with the football aficionado and doting father for a discussion on his first love — Jamaican music. Yaadcore talks his upcoming debut album, the shifting music landscape and shares his favourite dancehall ganja anthems in our interview below.

Tell us about the Nyquil (Spliff Ah Light Spliff) Remix, how the song and video came about. How much of each was based on your creative direction?

Well, it was my idea to add Richie Spice. Nyquil is a song that I have out almost a year now, and Richie’s part was even recorded a year ago as well. In thinking about different ways to promote the song, I thought, ‘who better to do a remix or collaboration with’ being that it’s a herb song and Richie Spice have so much ganja anthem. So we reached out and eventually manifest the remix and we ready fi put it out now.

For the video, the weed farm location was my idea. We shot it in an indoor grow house which definitely gave the video a whole different vibe. The other elements was the director’s idea.

Your campaign for widespread marijuana acceptance includes your popular dub rockers 4/20 mixtapes. As a former party selector though, what were some of your favourite dancehall weed anthems?

KartelVisa and Sen On. You have Bounty KillerHigh Grade Forever. I Octane have one on Orange Hill (riddim) – Puff It. And Beenie Man100 Dollar Bag.

Back in 2017, you featured then little-known singer Lila Iké’s song Biggest Fan on your Reggae Aroma 4 compilation. Who were you the “biggest fan” of growing up though? What acts have influenced your sound? 

Honestly, growing up, mi did always into more dancehall. So you know Bounty ah mi artist same way. Mi did rate Beenie Man because him have good songs, but Killer was always mi favourite same way.

Mi did rate Mr. Lexx as a artist too and Sizzla was a big, big influence on me inna high school. Mi did fall in love wid one of his Miami live performance dem and mi used to listen it every day round 2003/2004.

Your father owned a sound system, and you’ve worked with King Jammys and David Rodigan personally. Sound system culture is your foundation yet you became “disillusioned with dancehall’s explicit content“ after embracing Rastafari. How do you reconcile/balance this clash, sound systems being integral to your beginnings but Rastafari being your calling?

We nuh have a problem with the genre dancehall per se, but the messages in the most impactful ones are negative, not all of it naturally, but some. We still love dancehall you know, we still ah go voice pon dancehall riddims, but naturally our message nuh really align with too much negativity.

The thing is enuh dancehall has more than one meaning. As far as the space is concerned and not the genre, we still haffi create a space where positive music can be heard within a dancehall setting just the same. So that is where my works (Dubwise Jamaica, Sumn Different) really forward in since I made the transition to become a straight reggae selector.

What can fans expect from your upcoming debut album, Reggae Land, due in January 2022?

Fans can expect just good reggae music. As the album title, Reggae Land, states it nah go be just the typical reggae. You done know we have the foundation reggae same way as well as reggae fusion, you know. As far as my delivery is concerned we just deh inna we own style. We find some jazz vibes, we find some R&B/ hip hop vibes, some roots vibes, a likkle rockers, a likkle dub. Di only ting mi neva get fi put on was a dancehall track.(laughs) We have dancehall tune still weh coulda mek it same way though.

How has the journey been trying to introduce and push a new project during a pandemic?

Well we just start fi really announce and push di project. Challenges will lie in aspects of promotion where live performances are concerned, but everything else is on point as far as planning towards the date, the releases, the videos. So everything is going smooth, the only negative thing about the time right now is that we’re not able to travel freely.

In the past you’ve spoken at outlets like CanEx and partnered with the cannabis brand Leafly. Fast forward to 2021 and now you have streetwear and lifestyle brands Diamond Supply Co. and Blazy Susan on board to debut your new single. Talk to us about the Yaadcore brand and these kinds of synergies.

Well you know Yaadcore is a tastemaker and a musical and cultural ambassador for Jamaica and marijuana is something bigger than our culture. Leafly requested a representative and we did a road tour in California and they wanted a deejay to play some vibes an ting.

Naturally, a reggae deejay is a good alignment. We mek a reasoning at CanEx before and I was just at another CanEx forum that was more about mushrooms and psychedelics. So even on the album I have a mushroom song as well, so I will be labelled as the first reggae artist to have a mushroom song.

As far as the Diamond Supply Co. collaboration, they normally send me clothes and merch from their line so naturally we just link up one day and reason. I was like ‘you know it would be dope if you guys did the merch for the song’. That’s really how that came about. Blazy Susan wanted to do a custom tray for me personally and I decided to just use it to promote the single so we aligned the promotion more around the song more than just Yaadcore.

You’ve shared the stage with the likes of Burning Spear, Lee Scratch Perry, Rory Stone Love, the list goes on. What does it mean to you to be acknowledged as a credible tastemaker by the greats? 

It’s a joy enuh because we love music from we deh ah prep school pon a different level, so fi forward up and really see seh some of the people that I admired now acknowledging my input in the music is definitely a great feeling.

After spending so many years as a music consumer/selector, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about producing your own music?

The most important thing when it comes to producing your own music is the fact that you have more control over what’s happening. That’s one of the big advantages. The fact seh you have more control, yuh will understand the more creative aspect of what’s going on, as well as the business aspect.

With your multifaceted career path, do you see yourself pivoting towards something different again? I hear the vivid ‘Mouse and Elephant’ cover art for 12 Yaad’s debut single No Fenke Fenke was your doing. 

Well you know the Most High just bless me with a good eye and a good ear, so you know.(laughs) Even with No Fenke Fenke, that was my idea as to what the art should be. I never really did the art myself, I just kinda steered the whole idea. It’s just like how I produce too, you don’t have to play an instrument to be a good producer, as long as you have a good understanding of what works.

What album have you listened to the most this year?

I haven’t really listened to as much albums, but I would definitely put Sizzla’s Da Real Ting as one of Yaadcore’s top albums. Me did ah listen Protoje new album as well.

Besides your own, what’s the next album you’re most excited for?

Mi kinda interested fi see wah Chronixx ah go do next. Kinda interested fi see wah Bounty new album ah go be, and we ah wait pon another Damian Marley album same way.

You play both sports, but if you had to choose one, would you pick Football or Tennis?

Football.

Where has the best crowds: yaad or abroad?

It’s different everywhere you go, can’t choose.

What’s your best memory from working with the Marley brothers?

The Welcome to Jamrock cruise. Performing there is a great honor and a great vibe, like a big reggae empire link up pon a ship, you know. (laughs)

What’s the best thing about being a father?

The best thing about being a father is seeing the kids grow, you know. It’s really a blessing to see them grow and learn and become themselves.

And lastly, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from any artist you’ve met?

Won’t state the artist, but the best piece of advice is about timing and the importance of owning your own music.

Thanks Yaadcore, all the best with the new track!

The visuals for Yaadcore’s Nyquill (Spliff a Light Spliff) Remix feat. Richie Spice debut on Friday August 27 on his YouTube page.

Written by Rebel Nation

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