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Friday, January 2, 2009

Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Jah Yzer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 5:52 AM

Local DJ Jah Yzer moves acround the city and across the Bay spreading his love for reggae, roots, dancehall, and the like from behind the turntables. The DJ/MC/producer came up in Miami, where mixtapes and radio DJs helped him get a grip on his future career. Twelve years after moving to the Bay Area, this vet spends two to four days a week spinning vinyl and contributing to Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi. Below he gives us a look at his history, including what it was like opening for Afrika.

Jah Yzer

Club night(s): "Bless Up" Tuesdays @ Milk( SF); "Lion Rock" Wednesdays & 1st Fridays @ Oasis (Oakland); "Toppa Top Thursdays" @ Club 6 (SF); "The Right Time" 3rd Saturdays @ Pier 23 (SF).

Style(s) of music you spin: Reggae, dancehall, ska, rocksteady, hip-hop, b-boy breaks, funk,soul, R&B, 80's classics, salsa, and whatever else sounds good to me.

How you got your start:
My friend put me up on to mixing and I caught on real quick, making mixtapes and rocking neighborhood house parties.I hooked up with DJ CoopD'Ville who was already established in the DJ game. I learned the ropes of rocking clubs and underground radio and in 1997 I moved to the Bay and hooked up with MC Jamalski, who got me my first gigs in SF (Club Deco, Club Dread, Dub Mission, and all over). He also introduced me to Rockert T -- soon after I was selecting for Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi.

What can you tell us about Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi? JWS is: Rocker T, Ivier, Irie Dole, and myself. We all come from different backgrounds,so we all bring our own style to the table.

What first interested you about reggae/dancehall music? Growing up in Miami I always heard reggae and my older brother had Bob Marley tapes, but it was when a friend from school got me into hardcore/punk rock that I discovered Bad Brains. I instantly became interested in Rastafari and the Rasta culture.I also give props to Mr.Clint O'neil, who I listened to every night on the radio since I was about 12.

What's your favorite place to DJ and why?
I can't really say I have one favorite place. With Oasis, I've been there so long it's like spinning at home. At Bless Up, I get to rock with Ivier & Irie Dole, and at Dub Mission I get to play some serious roots

Name of a track you can't get out of your head: "Jah Mission" by Moese Angel (R.I.P)

What's something interesting happening in the world of reggae/dancehall these days? A lot of the younger artists are taking over the dancehall and more roots music is starting to surface.

 Favorite DJ experience: I was the DJ for a group called Plan Beats from Miami. We opened for Afrika Bambaata & Soulsonic Force. They performed a 20-minute version of "Planet Rock" and I got to scratch back & forth with their DJ.

Strangest situation where you've been asked to DJ:
An MC contest at a strip club.(Had to turn it down).

Worst request: They're all entertaining

Most treasured vinyl score: I'm still diggin!!!

Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself:
How could we lift the 2 a.m. curfew on clubs???

What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I'm working on producing some music. I really want to start pushing some of our local artists and get the JWS lable going

Next time we can see you spin: Tuesday at "Bless Up"

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About The Author

Ian S. Port


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