Bio / History

Bio

(Download Press Kit)

It’s the love of the music and culture that inspires Jah Rich to continue digging for vintage reggae gems as well as embrace quality current reggae tunes and trends. Selector Jah Rich (Strictly Yard Sound) has been spinning conscious reggae music for 12 years in Boston and beyond. Whether dropping heavyweight dub, esoteric roots, dangerous digital, classic dancehall, contemporary killers, or personal dubplates, selector Jah Rich spins the best in reggae!

Jah Rich first began playing the “King’s music” on college radio where he had two successful shows, “Vital Riddims” and the “Ital Restoration.” Soon after the millennium Rich acquired two turntables, a mixer, an effects unit, an amp, and two speakers. The sound’s mobile set was taking shape and soon Strictly Yard Sound was booked for gigs around Boston – both solo and alongside bands. It’s also around that time that the sound cut its first dubplate special, “Tu Sheng Peng,” by the legendary DJ U Brown! Soon things simply started rolling and Jah Rich began actively spinning in Boston at weekly and monthly gigs as well as alongside reggae’s best performers like Toussaint, Mad Professor, Lee “Stratch” Perry, Marcia Griffiths, and many more. In 2004 Jah Rich won the Milk Plant 45 clash in fine style. In 2007, Jah Rich “gone international” when he played in Dublin, Ireland for a packed crowd. Jah Rich has also promoted many events in Boston, namely a reggae sound clash called the Forward Sound Clash. The clash successfully took place for 5 straight years (a record in Boston).

Currently, Jah Rich continues to play out and make quality, 100% live, all vinyl mix CDs. In 2011, Jah Rich released a Gregory Isaacs tribute mix CD which was well received all over the world. Be on the look out for Jah Rich spinning in the clubs, on the net , and in record stores with his latest mix CD!

The Early Years

Although it’s hard to pinpoint all the reggae related experiences that I had growing up as a kid in Boston, I can clearly recall four profound experiences related to reggae music and culture in my youth.

The first reggae album I ever listened to was “Chill Out” by Black Uhuru in 1988. I was 11 years old and the music struck a cord that continues to grow deeper every year.

Then, at age 12, I remember randomly discussing the finer points of the Rastafarian faith with my 6th grade art teacher Mr. Gecheus. I can recall inquiring, “Don’t Rastafarians smoke pot as part of their religion?” Mr. Gecheus affirmed that this was true and quickly left the table with a smile. He later revealed to me that he once was a successful reggae DJ in Boston!

Vital Riddims

On the second day of college I met a strange kid named Chris from New York and the reggae fire was lit. Our sophomore year, we applied for a reggae radio show at the college station, WSPN 91.1 FM, and by the spring of 1996, “Vital Riddims” with the Smooth Operator (Rich) and the General (Chris) was blasting classic roots reggae to listeners throughout upstate New York.

“The irie-est show in the Capital District” belted out such roots hits as “Mystic Man” by Peter Tosh, “I Man A Grasshopper” by Pablo Moses, and “A True” by the immortal Dennis Brown. We didn’t know about blending beats then (it would be a while before that crucial idea of mixing hit me as a selector).

Steppin' Out

By 2000, I had two turn tables, an amplifier, a shitty mixer, and a flimsy table. I was ready for the world! Chris also lived in Boston and early into the millennium we started a reggae soundsystem called Strictly Yard.

We had our first dance at a Cambridge art gallery in the spring of 2000. Our musical presentation was by no means perfect, but our selections were different and people took notice. Three anthems from our early dances included “Late Night Blues” by Don Carlos, “Jah Is My Shining Star” by King Yellowman, and Aswad’s masterpiece, “Dub Fire.” The heavyweight works of legendary 70s producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes was our favorite sound.

Up to the Time!

I joined a deejay collaboration called Forward Movement in 2001. Papa Gary AKA DJ Advance founded Forward Movement and we continue to work together today.

Originally we held down a weekly gig at Club An Tua Nua on Beacon Street in Boston, spinning reggae and hip-hop to an enthusiastic crowd. Gary and I put on some big shows during my first year in Forward Movement, including the UK Dub legend Mad Professor!

Mr. Neil Frazer returned to Boston a year later with Lee “Scratch” Perry and I was privileged to spin tunes beforehand in an official “Dub Conference” before Pikecock Jackson took over the stage. I also got my first Strictly Yard dub plate special at this stage in the game.