Roots Gwaan is at the forefront of truly authentic Roots Reggae Musik coming out of Hawaii. In a decade's time, this multi talent has put forth releases of the highest caliber and helped to spearhead a new consciousness of Jah Message Music for Creation to hear and realize. Robert "Higherman" Heilman recently caught up with the humble Rastaman for a nice revealing...

Q: When did you start playing King's Musik?

A: Truly, outta college - in my early twenties. I was coming up with the vibes and checking Rastafari. Mystic experiences and I was studying the culture of Rastafari. Chanting joyful sounds to The Most High. My mind was fertile enough to catch Royal vibes. In 2003-4, I started as a selector and started writing in 2005.

Q: Your release, "Betta Way-Rastafari", linked you with the legendary Andrew "Bassie" Campbell, California's Ras Biblical and other fine talent. How did you link with these bredrin?

A: Truly, mystic movement of The Most High! Each link you make have a different story. Man like Biblical - it was the mystic link of witnessing him on stage in Hawaii that led to personal Idrenship. We always link up. True Love (Roots artist from California) is part of that massive. Just hold the proper code of conduct. In Jamaica, I linked with Bassie Campbell. Each region can be fruitful. True to The Most High! Just keep it real and put business works to the side. This is the natural code of conduct.

Q: Can you tell us about His Imperial Majesty's Farm?

A: Well, it's a natural part of Rastafari. Through his teachings, agriculture is a high priority. This is a six acre vibe - all edible. Bananas, cassava, tomato, coffee, citrus, white pineapple. This is a work in progress; got to be a steward of the Earth and uphold the principles of Rastafari.

Ras Hopie, Ras Biblical & Roots Gwaan.

Q: I can feel from your music that every song is Heartical and Rootical. As a true Rasta, this is of the Highest Order!

A: True! I give thanks for the vibration. That's the reason why I pursue a career in singing - motivated by The Most High. The only motivation. As I see it; there are two kinds of Reggae artists. Someone for entertainment; put their name out deh and get good ticket sales - that's ok if they keep decent. The other group is true Rasta. May not be successful in the ratings but stands true to The Most High.

Q: Your ites release, "Exalt H.I.M", has a certain Midnite approach. Is Vaughn Benjamin (lead singer of Midnite) an inspiration?

A: Huge inspiration! The times that I've interacted with him are blessed. He became a good bredrin and he has motivated me in Life, Music and to have the strength to come out forward.

Q: Who have you performed with?

A: Niyorah, Biblical, Ras Iba, Dre Z, Mystic Vision, Soul Medic. In Kona, opened for Prezident Brown, Perfect Giddimani, Half Pint and Midnite - the list goes on. I'm getting my feet wet with tours.

Q: Tell us about your Concious Riddims Store? You just had a ten year anniversary?

A: Well, this is a family affair. Me and my brother and lifelong friend. It's a labor of Love; a lot of work. It's an outpost of Rastafari; we employ other Rastas. It's an avenue to promote Rastafari culture. My brother Ras Will and Ras Jim help make it the motherbase of our label.

Q: When did you start your Concious Riddims label?

A: The label started in 2008 as we developed more links and as another way to promote Rastafari.

Dre Z & Roots Gwaan.

Ras Hopie, Roots Gwaan,
James the Just & Ras Wil.

Q: Your fantastic set, "Sons Of The King" links you with Dre Z (Roots producer) and you have some shows with him and Ras Biblical.

A: This is the first time Roots Gwaan/Dre Z have been on the same festival bill. We are playing with Marlon Asher at The Unity Festival (Guernville, California) and playing with Ras Biblical. We have a wicked backing band especially the guitarist from Lion Tribe (worked with Midnite). (Note: These great shows took place in September 2013 in Guernville and Nevada City).

Q: How do you feel about earlier Roots bands from Hawaii like Butch Helemano and Ho'Aikane?

A: Those two bands are legendary! Forerunners of Hawaii-JA connection. They are the grandfathers and have had a big impact in my life. Big movement in Oahu.

Q: Hawaii (like The Virgin Islands) has a heap of artists that truly carry on Jah message like you, Kaya Lambsbread, Ras Enoch and producer Jah Youth. Do you see the Roots movement spreading?

A: Amongst Reggae/Rasta massive-people must be exposed. In The Most High's hands; it's up to each one's hands to motivate and work. You can do anything you want! Everyone has potential so do what you're called to do and pay attention to it.

Q: So, who are your primary influences?

A: First and foremost, Haile Selassie I - that man there! Jah works never fail. Nuff people don't check his teachings. Ones and ones - Midnite, Peter Tosh, Tuff Lion, Prezident Brown, Everton Blender, Biblical, Rocker T, Soul Medic.

<< Roots Gwaan performing live in S. Kona >>

Q: What can we expect from Roots Gwaan in the coming year?

A: Working on some shows here and there. Dre Z and I are working on our next release. It's gonna be a big one with Junior Reid, Giddimani and PABLO MOSES.

Q: Wow! This sounds massive, fe sureity! Roots Gwaan, give thanks for your time and the world looks forward to more works. Big up yourself.

A: Yes I! Give thanks and praises to The Most High!

Interview by Robert "Higherman" Heilman (October 2013)
(Please do not reproduce without permission)