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Jah Warrior Shelter

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

The Bay Area chapter of the much acclaimed Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi consists of Rocker T, Irie Dole, I-Vier, and Jah Yzer. Playing residences like Bless Up at Milk to Toppa Thursdays at Club Six, they definitely know how to promote positive party vibes without all the fancy hype. Taking some time out of their busy schedules, Irie Dole, I-Vier, and Jah Yzer let SF Station in on their world.

SF Station (SFS): How did you guys meet and get started?

I-Vier (IV): I met Irie Dole back in the high school days. We were both getting into DJing and both into reggae so we teamed up and started a crew called Wisdom Records. Fresh out of high school Dole and I started playing at a club called Deco where we met and started DJing with Jah Yzer.

Jah Yzer (JY): I met Rocker T through Jamalski, we did a ton of shows and studio work together in the Bay; at that time I was still playing as Sound Elevation Miami and I-Vier and Irie Dole were Wisdom Records. Rocker T had to go to New York to mix down his album If you luv luv show your luv, and he invited I-Vier and I to come to NY; we played at a few venues with Jah Warrior Shelter selector Ronnie Dread and Rocker T. Before we returned to SF, Rocker T decided make us the Bay Area chapter of Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi.

Irie Dole (ID): Me and I-Vier and Jah Yzer went to the same middle school but met up in high school. We shared a common interest in reggae, mixtapes, and rasta lifestyle. We started off DJing at spots like Maritime Hall, Nickie's and local festivals alongside DJs Spliff Skankin and Robert Rankin (Massive Sound International).We met up with Jah Yzer when we started playing a Sunday afternoon party at Club Deco in 1997. The three of us quickly realized that we had a lot in common in relation to upbringing, selection, and DJ style. At that time Jah Yzer was also doing some work with Rocker T who has been carrying the Jah Warrior Shelter torch since it was handed to him in 1988. The four of us linked up and took our first soundclash in the Bay in 1998. Since then we've been non-stop DJing and entertaining around the world.

SFS: Are you all originally from San Francisco?

ID: Me and I-Vier are. Yzer's from Miami and Rocker T's from Brooklyn.

SFS: You guys also have tons of residencies! What do you attribute your staying power towards?

IV: I think it's about hard work, staying consistent, studying the music, and staying up to date as well as digging deep. We play hip-hop, funk, salsa as well as any type of reggae party throughout the Bay.

JY: We promote good vibes; music is healing.

ID: Reciprocating love between us and the crowd. We put a lot of effort into pleasing the crowd, be it playing the newest tunes for the serious heads, or busting a fat classics set to get people to go wild. The crowd comes first. And we get a lot of love from the club goers, mix CD buyers, radio listeners…all the folks who come check Jah Warrior Shelter.

SFS: Who are some of your musical or even non-musical influences?

IV: Musically: Count Ossie and The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, U-Roy, Prince Buster, Dennis Alcapone, King Stitt, Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, just to name a few… Non-musical: Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell, Malcolm X, Mahatma Ghandi, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Mumia Abu Jamal, to name a few…

ID: My biggest influences in DJing have been Massive Sound International, Myk1, Ted Shred, Isa the Ion Lion, and Tony Moses. They have been some of my teachers along the way. Also internationally, soundsystems like Bass Odyssey, Kilamanjaro, King Stur Grav, all the way back to Studio One and Coxsone Dodd. Non-musically, Haile Selassie who has taught me about the virtues of life like education, progress and collective security.

JY: Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Coxsone Dodd, U-Roy, Super Cat, Bad Brains ,James Brown, DJ Roc Raida (R.I.P), Rakim, Pete Rock, Public Enemy, Gangstarr, X-Clan, KRS 1,Fruko, Skyjuice, Danny Dread, Isa the Ion Lion, Clint O'niel and the list goes on. Non-musical would be Nayabinghi Order, Haile Selassie, Mortimer Plano, Ashra Kwesi, Noam Chomsky, Evo Morales, Roberto Clemente...

SFS: Where are some of your favorite places to play in San Francisco?

ID: Pier 23 is one of my favorite places to not only play, but to go take in some good reggae music. Right on the bay, covered heated patio…can't beat it! Our Tuesday night at Milk is always a fun time too, people come to party!

IV: In SF I like to play Pier 23, Milk, and Club Six.

JY: Everywhere!!!

SFS: What are some LovEvolution plans you have?

IV: I plan to keep at this music mission and unite the people. One of the greatest things about reggae dancehall is that it's so international that all kinds of people get together and have fun.

ID: Are you referring to the event on the 3rd? I didn't hear about it till you mentioned it!

SFS: Any of you guys have plans to release new mixtapes soon?

JY: Many mixes in the works as we speak; we also have a new funk night starting Sundays at the Cat Club.

ID: I'm finishing up From J.A. 2 da Bay Pt.2, the follow-up to one of my most popular mixes, combining dancehall with Bay Area hip-hop. I have a radio show on KPOO 89.5fm on Wednesdays Noon-3pm. "Rebel Music", the best in reggae music, news reviews and interviews. ( kpoo.com also streaming at ustream.tv/kpooradio archived at riceandpeas.tv/dole )

IV: We're flooded with mixtape projects, it's crazy. We're currently workin’ on mixes for producer Matt McQuaid, Diamond Supply Co, WeedTracker.com, Satori Movement and not to mention our own mixtape series. We always have something new and you can always get our mixes online at JahWarriorShelter.com & Amoeba Records.

Be sure to keep an eye out for their mixes and give them a closer at http://www.jahwarriorshelter.com/index.html