With her concoction of conscious lyricism and her steady "treatment" of the dub itself, Jah9 is one of the most dominant voices in reggae music today. In the final third of 2018, she released a seven track EP entitled Feelings - on the EP are three new tracks and their instrumentals, plus a redubbed version of Hardcore, featuring Chronixx.
All three tunes are massive and see the artist take a different, more stripped back approach to presenting her message.
In particular, the track Love Has Found I stands as an ode to Empress Menen Asfaw, Queen of Queens and Empress to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. In our recent interview - also known as a reasoning - I asked Jah9 about the influence of Empress Menen and His Imperial Majesty on her works, her livity and her music.
Can you tell us about the inspiration of Empress Menen on the livity of Jah9?
9: Highest inspiration. Highest inspiration! I would encourage ones to go and find out about this woman for themselves. There is so much I could say about her. She was the one who was chosen She lived an exemplary life. She went through so much as a woman, at a time when Ethiopia did not give much right and value to womanhood. She endured a marriage and having children before she met the King, and being removed from that life, and being put with a man who held her in the highest esteem - she went through and did so much for her nation. She is just an exemplary woman, and we haffi big up the exemplary women. She was chosen by the Most High - chosen - so, great example.
Could you also tell us about the importance of His Imperial Majesty in the livity of Jah9?
9: Greatest inspiration to I. Greatest example of living one’s purpose and serving selflessly, and so much more. Again, I implore all ones to go and study and find your own meaning. There is metaphysical meaning; there is prophetic meaning. It is the fulfilment of so much to see that the universe would choose to bring forth this entity into Earth at that time - at this time. It cannot be ignored. It was not ignored, and it cannot be ignored. Seek for self and learn of HIM.
If I’m not mistaken, the I comes from a church background. Can you tell us about the transition period and what lead you to embrace the teachings of Ras Tafari?
9: His Imperial Majesty. I saw examples of Rastafari and how these bredrins would live so peacefully - because it is the men of Rastafari - the bredrins - that I was exposed to first. It was nothing like I would hear in the propaganda. These were the most peaceful, the most humble, the most well educated and well intentioned men that I knew. That encouraged me to say, ‘Oh! I need to find out who inspired these ones!’, because I was already on a journey toward African spirituality. My father was always very encouraging of that journey, and so when I had the opportunity to read his autobiography [the autobiography of Haile Selassie I], that was life changing for me.
9: In my mind, revolution means sniper rifles, fighter planes; revolution; bloodshed. [His Majesty] showed me another way - another more powerful diplomatic way that was rooted in peace, and not peace as weakness, but peace as power. I give thanks for that, and that is why I always try to encourage that among InI, who feel that burning revolutionary fire, to go and learn of HIM; the greatest diplomat the world has ever seen.
New Name, one of Jah9's earliest and most successful tracks.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to activate their higher self, in these times in particular?
9: Unplug, and breathe, deeply. From a few inches below your naval, inhale fully, expand your lungs, hold the breath at the top of the inhale - pause - contemplate on positive things - exhale - release all the things that no longer serve you. Hold at that place of emptiness and repeat that cycle until you reach to your zero state; until you start to feel your vibrations taper out. Balance out, and then approach all of your decisions, because you have all the answers.
Love Has Found I
Jah9 can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and her EP Feelings can be purchased from her website. Jah9 photography and artwork Samo 'Kush-I' Johnson (@samokush_i)