Earlier today, Oahu entered another lockdown. It's not the first one this year— back in April, the entire state entered a stay-at-home mandate, an unprecedented move that shut down — but it definitely heightens the reality of the pandemic, reminding us to be smart, safe, and respectful to the community-at-large.
Back in April, Likkle Jordee, a local reggae artist who hails from my hometown of Mililani, posted a string of singles on his Bandcamp and Shopify pages. These were tune he'd made during the lockdown with his go-to producer, Pana. Together they created one of the most relevant and timely songs of this year, "Stay Home Order".
When the song hits, lyrically we can relate to Jordee’s verses (“spread love from a distance”) while Pana’s production punches with finesse throughout. “Stay Home Order” is nothing short of an expression of the times we live in — music for 2020 and beyond.
I reached out to Jordee on Instagram almost immediately, "Hey, are you planning to release this on vinyl?" He'd been wanting to, but wasn't able to make that commitment himself. So I offered to press it up as part of a new imprint I've been mulling over for several months: Roots Run Deep.
To my good fortune, Jordee agreed. I quickly got to work preparing the first release, RRD-001. That was sometime in May. We had no idea that another lockdown would happen in August.
During that first lockdown in April, Likkle Jordee and Pana focused their energy to create a new song every week. They collaborated remotely from home, Pana building the riddim from his studio then sending it to Likkle Jordee, who then wrote lyrics and tracked his vocals live with Pana on Instagram. That's how they crafted “Stay Home Order”. I fell in love with the tune the first time I heard it.
The idea for Roots Run Deep came about in a few ways, but it's mainly because I've been wanting to see more vinyl pressed up by the local reggae scene. There is so much and talent and good music flowing from these islands. If Aloha Got Soul can contribute in a small way to making that happen, it's the least I can do.
Now with the official announcement as of today, the ball is rolling. We've already got RRD-002 lined up, aiming for a release in late December 2020.
Contributing to Roots Run Deep is my long-time friend (and big-time collector, producer, and DJ), Justin Legaspi. It was Justin who introduced me to Jah Gumby several years ago, in fact, and he's the reason I've been able to propel this new sublabel / imprint forward. You can follow him @playerpalacehifi.
During this downtime, we've all had to learn to live with (and make the most of) 2020. Thankfully, music has been a true healing force for our day-to-day lives.
For us DJs, we’ve been spending this time digging deeper into our crates, meditating on our most treasured tunes, and adding new records to our collections. For us musicians, we see it as an opportunity to focus on what’s important in our lives and create music that matters.
RRD-001 is limited to 500 copies worldwide.