Raised on Reggae: Hempress Sativa
Hempress Sativa grew up surrounded by authentic reggae culture. Born Kerida Johnson in Kingston, she was raised by devout Rastafarian parents who entertained many musical friends (such as “Uncle” Dennis Brown) in the family home. Her father (Albert “Ilawai Malawi” Johnson) operated the Jah Love Sound System, which meant that Kerida was effectively raised on reggae music. She first began guesting on tracks as early as 2013 but her feature on the 2015 hit “Boom – Wha Da Da Deng” by Paolo Baldini DubFiles is the one that really announced her arrival on the scene (while also establishing her “Lyrical Machine” nickname). Sativa’s own debut single, “Rock It Inna Dance”, would follow in 2016 and further establish these credentials: “Rock it in a shamah wid me Wallabee Clarks / Strictly sinsemilla, mi a crush you naw fi ask,” she sings, celebrating her love for weed, Jamaica’s favored suede footwear and her own prowess, all in one snappy verse. Sativa’s full-length debut, Unconquerebel,would arrive in 2017. On it, she proved she was more than just clever with wordplay, she could also be political, conscious and downright fierce. Adhering to tradition, Unconquerebel was followed in 2018 by its’ dub companion, Scientist Meets Hempress Sativa in DUB, engineered by none other than Jamaica’s greatest living mixer. To kick off 2019, she just released the Ancient Kingdom EP, featuring a further five versions of her single “Revolution”. Our favorite of these new versions is Ras Malekot’s “Hail H.I.M.”, which you can check out, along with several of the other tunes mentioned above, on the Austin Reggae Fest playlist. And, of course, you can see the mighty Hempress Sativa perform live this April at the 2019 Austin Reggae Festival.
This Week’s Austin Reggae Fest Spotify Playlist
Click here to hear the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.