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Nahki Vital Stats
Birthday: February 4, 1962
Birthplace: Yokkaichi, Japan
Musical style: Reggae

Where is the Music song sample


Japansplash '93


Nahki ina Rub-A-Dub Stylee Nahki ina Rub-A-Dub Stylee (2009)
1. Ina Rub Rub-A-Dub Intro feat. Joe Lick Shot
2. Champion Bubbler
3. Soldier Fe De Earth feat. Sugar Minott
4. Talkin' About Love feat. Al Campell
5. Medley Style - Interlude
*Bad Nahki
*Ruff Neck Nahki Come Again
*Mr. Chin
6. Reason
7. Don't Let Her Take You A Way From Me feat. Fiona, Flourgon
8. Monday Through Saturday
9. Pot Pon de Fire
10. Where is the Music? (remix)

Phenomenal Eleven (2005)
Nahki & Friends (2003)
Big Step (2001)
Way Out (1998)
Inner Beauty (1996)
Jamaican Delight (1995)
Jamaican Japanese (1994)
Si Mi Ya (1993)
Something Special (1992)
Lover Boy (1991)
Baddest Japanese (1990)

Where to Buy
Order from CD Japan
Order from YesAsia

Order from CD Baby

Where is the Music
I've got to think about it, nowadays.
Don't you feel like this? No way!

Where is the music that used to hit me, used to make me cry?
I can't find them no more. Yeah. Oh please, tell me why. Yeh
Remember Sugar Minot with his sweet, sweet Lovers Rocking?
Mr. Soul of Jamaica, Alton Ellis was his idol, too.
Remember man like Tubby from the Mighty, Mighty Diamonds.
And don't forget the next one name Tamlins. Woy!
The man like Johnny Osborne, Horace, and Mr. Booths. Yeah!
They used rock my soul days and nights.
I'm telling you

Woy! Where the music gone, gone? Yeah
I'm searching where them gone? Yeah

Where is the music, ah, they used to rock me, they used to take me high?
I can't find them no more. Yeah. Ah, that's no right.

Remember man like Tiger, Pupa San and Stitchie.
Admiral and Chaka. Shabba, Cat and Ninja
Them used to shock me every minute, every second, you see?
A so we grow ina de Dance Hall. Mnnn.
And no DJ couldn't stay pon top no more than three months, you see?
A so de DJ's competition was so rough.
That's why me a bawl and sing and say

Good music is a food fi yu soul and heart.
With no good food we cannot grow, yeah

Woy! Where the music gone, gone, gone? Yeah
I'm searching where them gone, yeah

Wailers and Rockers. King Tubby, Scratch Perry and next one name Pablo.
Coxson, Prince Buster and Duke Reed. Wo yo oh
So much creation, and so much innovation.
And there left so much more names to be mentioned.
That's why me a bawl and sing and say,

Woy! (Woy!) Bring back the love for the music!
(Love for the music)
Power of the music
(Power of the music)
That we used to have
(That we used to have)
Wo yeah, now. Wo yeah, now!
We got to bring them back in our hands.
Wo yeah, now. Wo yeah, now!
You got to take it seriously for our lives.
Wo yeah, now!

© Words and Music by Nahki

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Nahki Interview

Nahki - click for full size

"One old Rastaman approached me from the dark right after I finished my rehearsal with the band and shook my hand with tears in his eyes, saying "You know Jah notes. So please continue what you are doing." I still can't forget that moment." - Nahki

The Reggae music from the island of Jamaica have captivated artists from around the world. For Nahki of Nagoya, Japan, it would become his life's obsession. He first fell in love with the music as a teen listening to the radio. At the age of 18 he moved to Tokyo, formed his own band and learned to play the music of his far away idols.

When the great Sugar Minott traveled to Tokyo for a tour in 1984 Nahki was given the chance to jam with his idol, an event he describes as "a night of dreams comes true!" And when Sugar Minott invited Nahki to come to Jamaica to perfect his craft, Nahki's lifelong desire of bringing the music and cultures of Japan and Jamaica closer together became his reality.

On August 26, 2009 Nahki was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Nahki.

You had a new release on August 26 entitled "Nahki ina Rub-A-Dub Stylee." Tell us about this project and the concept behind it.

This is a compilation album taken from recent recordings I have done for G-Governor Music edited by the producer, "G-Conqueror" himself. The concept is good old "original" Rub-A-Dub Style ~ 80's Dance Hall era, in which I have expanded my music career worldwide.

Who worked on the CD with you and where did you do the recording?

Most of my voicing has been done in Nagoya, Japan except a few in New York (at HC&F). I believe most of the rhythm tracks have been recorded in Nagoya by G-Conqueror with local musicians including himself as a programmer. All these authentic Jamaican sounds were amazingly laid by those Nagoyan Japanese musicians! Singers and DJs who participated on this album's recordings have been arranged by G-Conqueror. So, all of their vocal tracks were already there when I created my part. Only Sugar Minott voiced his part right after I finished my voicing since he was in Nagoya at the same time to perform together on REGGAE EXPLOSION, the outdoor event G-Conqueror promoted in Nagoya.

Let's learn more about your remarkable career as one of Japan's leading advocates of Reggae music. First off, can you describe the hometown in Japan where you grew up?

That is Nagoya City, the third major city in Japan. Two and a half million people live there -- about the same as Jamaica's population. The area produced Toyota, Sony, Ichiro and historical national leaders like Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu (who united the country in the 16th century, the samurai era). Surrounded by beautiful sea, rivers and mountains, beautiful nature.

What kind of kid were you growing up?

Outspoken, full of curiosity and creative, innovative thinking. Loved to sing all the time. Dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Wanted to reach across overseas, so liked to learn English since I was young. Top swimmer in breaststroke during elementary school days, although I was a shorter kid in those ages. Top of the school student academically in middle school.

How did you first learn about Reggae music?

Always been a great music fan and have been listening to FM music programs, and there I met the music of Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and Third World at the age of 16, in 1978.

What about it appealed to you so much?

Pop and nice catchy melody, easy to sing in the bathroom but the contents of the music, lyrics were totally different from other popular music. Unification across the nation was my ideal in those days (and now) and I was so fascinated to find music singing those messages in a manner that could last. (Not like punk.)


At 18 you moved to Tokyo. Tell us about that year in your life and forming your own Reggae band.

In those days, for Japanese to go overseas to reach worldwide, Tokyo was the only gateway. And so that was my passage and not my destination. Fortunately I was accepted by a national top class University like IVYs in US called Hitotsubashi University. I got a ticket to come to live in Tokyo to explore my way with my parents' support. (Otherwise it would be more harder like a runaway child.)

Out of so many things I wanted to do after I started to live by myself, forming a Reggae band to deliver my message in English on Reggae music and send it back to the world, especially to its motherland, Jamaica, was my dream. So I started to circle around all those college festivals and other live spots to explore who could be doing Reggae. And on the 2nd year, in 1981, I joined a band. Later I reformed the band and named it, "I&I Community's" as my own band, basically played my original songs in the following year, 1982.

Since then we got a chance to play in the central area of Tokyo at a live club called "Sambista" in Harajuku, which was just like SOB's in Manhattan. Originally a Samba restaurant, it started to book Reggae nights. After that night, our name spread rapidly and actually we could have played most major spots in Tokyo within a year. Most of the other Reggae bands were only playing some Bob Marley influenced music, but I had everything like Burning Spear, Culture, Augustus Pablo, Yellow man, Dr. Alimantado, Alton Elise, Horace Andy and Sugar Minott at the same time! Sing and DJ, improvised on the riddim [an instrumental version of a song] like Stag lag and so on.

Tell us about your encounter with Sugar Minott and what he did for your career.

In 1984, when he had his very first tour in Japan, I had him and his Black Roots Players Band come to my band's gig at Sambista, and unbelievably we could JAM! I had a couple of covers of Sugar's songs in my play list at that time, like So Much Trouble from his Wackies recording and Girl is Mine from his "Sufferer's Choice" Album. Gladdy on keyboard, Skully on percussion, Danny "Ax-man" on bass and Barnabas on drums... It was a night of dreams comes true!

I think I have some pics taken by a professional cameraman, "Sho-Kikuchi" who made the first Reggae Sunsplash report to Japanese music fans in 1982 and had been an official cameraman for Japansplash right through its history. That night Sugar told me to come to join his Youth Promotion in Jamaica. And a year of saving both money and vacation brought me a trip to Wackies in New York and Youth Promotion in Kingstown, Jamaica. Sugar welcomed me and took care of me there and let me rehearse with his band at his yard (home) for Youth Promotion Stage show scheduled at UWI. He showed me not only what he had been singing but also in his actual conduct he had proven to me his message to people had been derived from true love. And people who were there gathering around me, young and old, encouraged me a lot.

One old Rastaman approached me from the dark right after I finished my rehearsal with the band and shook my hand with tears in his eyes, saying "You know Jah notes. So please continue what you are doing." I still can't forget that moment. After that, Sugar produced many songs with me and we created many combination tunes. He also showed me how to set up real Dance Hall (which actually enabled me to educate Japanese on how to set up real Jamaican Dance Hall Sound System), supported the dawning era of Japansplash and cultivate a Reggae market in Japan. Without Sugar's contribution Reggae wouldn't be as big as it is now.

Nahki with Sugar Minott - click for full size

Tell us more about the Youth man Promotion Camp.

Sugar Minott's self-established organization. Coming from the ghetto in Kingston, Jamaica, he made his career through his music. Most of the artists leave ghetto life once they have made their success. But he had his philosophy that since he earned music from the ghetto, he thought he would like to remain there and return something back to the community. Instead of turning to be a drug dealer or gangster, he wanted as many ghetto youths to get a chance to find their way of living through music. That was the concept and purpose of Youth man Promotion.

He turned his own home and yard into the camp for those youths from all over Jamaica to come and establish their music skills and talents. Artists like Tenor Saw, Pinchers, Frankie Paul, Super Cat, Color man, Tony Rebel... just to name a few, have launched their name from Youth man Promotion's sound system. Especially around 1984 to 1986, when Dance Hall Style Reggae exploded, Sugar was the best male vocalist of the year in Jamaica all through those years and had numerous hit after hit. Hits like Ring The Alarm by Tenor Saw was based on one of the huge Sound Clash in Jamaica which Youth man Promotion sound won the prize.

How important were those trips to Jamaica to you?

As I mentioned above already, the experience I had at Sugar Minott's Yard in '85 was a life lasting phenomenon that led me to take this Reggae business seriously. Coincidentally, I heard the news of Japan's one and only International hit singer, Kyu Sakamoto's death on the next day at Sugar's yard through the radio who sang "Sukiyaki Song." They were playing the song all day long.

In 1988 you made the decision to move to the US. What were your goals at the time?

The chance came to me through Tachyon Co. Ltd., the promoter for Reggae Japansplash and the publisher of Reggae Magazine. They got a recording deal from NEC for me to release a single that year. They sent me to Englewood, New Jersey, at Mr. Sonny Ochiai's place where there was Wackies Recording Studio. And I was allowed to stay there since. I had a strong feeling that I could reach people through Dance Hall Reggae's break through at that time. Before me there was only Dominic from UK as a non-Jamaican Reggae DJ, and actually I won the clash when I encountered him at a dance in Brooklyn. That event took me all the way to Sting '89 in Kingston, Jamaica.

What was the most challenging thing about living in New York?

In the late 80's in New York there were so many dances, especially in those ghetto areas like east New York, Brooklyn, where shootings happen all the time. The New Jersey side where I slept was a safe environment, but places where I built up my skills and name were not so nice. You had to be really flexible and needed to be respected mutually. I had been writing New York Reggae Report on Reggae Magazine exploring and making a Reggae Map in those days.

Nahki - click for full size

What other artists have most influences your love of Reggae music?

No other than Sugar Minott. Otherwise as singers, Alton Ellice, Horace Andy, Barrington Levy, Tenor Saw... as DJs, Tiger & Yellowman. But in close relationship as co-worker, Jerry Harris & James Bond in New York were two major influences to my actual song making.

Tell us more about Reggae Japansplash and your involvement with it.

That was where Japan and Jamaica/Reggae meets. Tachyon Co. Ltd. (founded by Mr. Minoru Hatanaka) teamed up with Mr. Sonny Ochiai in New York (co-producer for Wackies Production) and paved the way to bring Reggae to Japan at its best. And the founder of Reggae Magazine (formerly named "Sound System Magazine") Mr. Manabu Kato and I were the hosts to make it marketed in the right way in Japan. He was the top journalist regarding Reggae in Japan and I was also working at PIA Co. Ltd, which started the first computer ticketing network in Japan when they started Japansplash.

Since '88 I had been working as a recording artist for Tachyon, hosting Japansplash every year throughout its history and at the same time I was one of the major contributors for Reggae Magazine. I was an artist and journalist and also sometimes I helped Mr. Sonny Ochiai to book and capture artists for Japansplash. Also we circled around all Reggae Record distributors and producers to ship their products to Japan.

Tell us about writing and recording the music for your 1990 album "Baddest Japanese."

My first album consisted of songs that I sang all through the '88 to '89 era of my historical break as a new reggae sensation. In dances I sang those songs on popular rhythm tracks but I usually wanted to create original rhythms for my own recordings, so we had musicians create them to fit to the songs already made. I was one of the track makers at the same time.

Significant milestone song on this album is My Wuk which I basically programmed the music track, wrote, sung and DJ at the same time. In those days no Jamaican artists were doing that. That amazed a lot of artists, musician and engineers in the studio (Pent House Studio). It was released as a 7 inch in Jamaica, and Elise Kelly (the popular Disk Jockey on Irie FM) used to play it a lot. All of the recordings were done in Jamaica. Steelie & Clievie, Music Works, Pent House, Black Scorpio... top brand production I could get.

What was your life like when you were recording you first albums, "Lover Boy," "Something Special," "Si Mi Ya"? Did you travel a lot?

Yes, I surly traveled a lot in those days. Basically from '88 to '92 I was based in Englewood, New Jersey. And from '93 to '96 I was based in Kingston, Jamaica. But I never stayed in one place any longer than two months during that period. My passport was all stamped out. "Baddest Japanese" ('90), "Lover Boy" ('91) and "Something Special" ('92) were recorded in Jamaica, staying at hotels. Since "Si Mi Ya" ('93) I had my apartment in Kingstown, Jamaica. It actually cut down the cost for Tachyon drastically.

Nahki - click for full size

Your 1996 album "Inner Beauty" includes the song I'll Do It. Can you tell us the story behind that song?

That story came up with a TV commercial tie up first. I was a signed artist for Sony Records and Diana King had a huge hit in Japan with Shy Guy through the same Sony. But on the other hand, we knew each other for a longtime, even before she got signed with Sony in the US. I was also requesting Sony to get Andy Marvel as one of my producers for the album, and everything got together and it happened. The three of us got together at Andy's Home Studio in Manhattan, a penthouse at 95th Street on the west side. That was the beginning of the New Year and New York had record making snow. Actually we had to postpone some of our schedule.

It was kind of an amazing story how this song was created. Because the song's BPM had to be 120bpm, since they have finished the filming in Italy for the TV commercial already before they come to NY. It was a TV commercial for a Japan Airline's travel agency called "I'll", promoting Honey Moon Travel plan using Japan Airlines. Andy was trying to convince their creative staff, telling them that Diana and Nahki are Reggae/R&B type of artists, and those songs are typically around 80's to 90bpm. But there was no way to compromise it. Basically I thought I could DJ on any kind of music as long as there was rhythm, so I encouraged the rest of the two to go ahead and try it on that typical House beat track. Since it was for Honey Moon and the name of the company was "I'll", Diana came up with the line, "I'll fly away...", and then I picked up the following lines, especially the changing lines, explaining that typically Japanese audiences love to hear authentic code progression as change.

The chemistry worked and we have finished writing the song on the first session. And that night I finished writing my DJ part as homework. The second day was Diana's voicing and I finished my voicing on the third day. So practically within three days we created the song. And actually it became No.1 hit on Japanese National chart and made half a million sales.

In addition to your own music you also do some producing. Can you tell us about working with Mega Horn & Ryu Rex?

Mr. Kato started to work at Cross Pointe Co. Ltd. which currently manage "Mega Horn & Ryu Rex" and Pang (another female Reggae singer I produced) after Tachyon's bankruptcy. He assigned me many producing projects, recruiting many young acts. I did a couple of compilation albums of female acts, many cover song projects, and so on. Among those many young talents I found and introduced to Mr. Kato, Mega Horn & Ryu Rex were one of the most successful duo groups. I saw them perform at the showcase event in Nagoya, my hometown. In those days most of the so called "Japa-Rege" (Japanese Reggae Scene) were under the strong influence of the gangster attitude. That was, I believe, copied by those Sound men who traveled to Jamaica when Kilimanjaro's sound clash thing was in around the early 90's in Jamaica.

Most entertainers on stage on those "Japa-Rege" shows seemed too rude to me. The way they talked and the lyrics were too rude to regular audiences out of the scene. But Mega Horn's (DJ guy) lyrics were much more decent, using more standard Japanese and it was impressive to me. At that time they also had a girl singer (R&B type). And the concept of the unit with "Singer & DJ" was also attractive to me. So I produced their very first album for Cross Pointe before they got signed with avex. That was right before I moved back to New Jersey, the current address, in 2002.

A couple of years later they got a No.1 hit song Day by Day (also it was a TV commercial tie up song for Toyo Tires). But also, although she hasn't gotten a No.1 hit yet, Pang is an artist that I strongly recommend and believe in her artist power. We had a showcase event in New York with MegaRyu and Pang along with Jerry Harris's band and me in 2006 and her appearance was greatly accepted by the New York local Reggae audience there.

Nahki - click for full size

The album "Big Step" includes the crossover song Ragga Salsa. Can you tell us about writing and recording the song?

The album "Big Step" includes the crossover song Ragga Salsa. Can you tell us about writing and recording the song?

To me the idea for the innovation of Reggae was always crossover of different music styles. And in those days I was interested in Salsa a lot and I wanted to fuse Reggae and Salsa to make us cross another border and make us unite. As a matter of fact, I could join many Salsa events from this song. And after all kinds of experiments I have done on the "Big Step" album, this was one of the most excellent results we got. Thanks to the manipulator, Mr. Kazuya Komatsu, I could enjoy so many experiments on this project. Actually one song per day was the norm during the making of this album due to the time and the budget allowed. So the concentration during the work was unbelievably intense.

To me the idea for the innovation of Reggae was always crossover of different music styles. And in those days I was interested in Salsa a lot and I wanted to fuse Reggae and Salsa to make us cross another border and make us unite. As a matter of fact, I could join many Salsa events from this song. And after all kinds of experiments I have done this on the "Big Step" album. This was one of the most excellent results we got. Thanks to the manipulator, Mr. Kazuya Komatsu, I could enjoy so many experiments on this project. Actually one song per day was the norm during the making of this album due to the time and the budget allowed. So the concentration during the work was unbelievably intense.

You've recorded music in studios around the world. Does the place make that big of a difference, or is it all about the music and musicians?

Vibes are different but most important is who you work with. Especially when you are voicing, who is recording is really important. Good combination with a patient engineer is really needed. My recording experience mostly started in New York or Jamaica with Jamaicans, so the hardness due to studio's facility was nothing to me. As a matter of fact, when I started to get a chance to use studios in Japan, I was so amazed by those convenient systems like monitor controls and the editing skills of the engineers.

If you had to pick three of your songs for fans unfamiliar with Reggae music to listen to first, which would you pick and why?

Shine because it is a fuse with classic.

Love & Unity (Norman Cook remix version) because it is my idealistic song achieved with the Great Sugar Minott.

Ragga Salsa because it has a drive to let the people get up and dance, including small children, internationally.

Btw, have you been married? Any kids?

One son. Nakiim, 15 years old, who lives with me in Fort Lee. He was born in Jamaica, a "Jamaican Japanese." I was married to his mother but we could not stay together. Since he was age 2, I've been a single father. The song Shine is the song I wrote for him.

Outside of music, what do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

Enjoy good food and conversation with some fine wine or something. Hot springs in Japan, and sea foods are my favorite. Floating on the seawater also gives me a lot of creative ideas. Bathing, shower, hot bath... I guess I like the sound of water. Love to travel, too. Love trivia.

Do you think most Japanese today are more familiar with Reggae music then when you first started out?

Of course they are. We made it happen. And Japan and Jamaica actually got much, much closer.

How would you describe the average Japanese person's view of Jamaica? How close is that view to your view of the country and culture?

Average people's image outside reggae circuit is typically a tropical island where everyone can live a laidback, relaxed life with "No Problem." But the truth is "Pure Problem" all over. There is no "Unity," that is why they have been singing so many songs talking about "Unity." Rich and poor. It is not a racial boundary but a class boundary causing the problem most of all there. You got to be really "ruff and tuff" to survive in Jamaica.

If there is one thing you want everyone to know most about Jamaica, what would it be?

Beautiful nature, no harmful poisonous creatures there. Only humans can be very dangerous there. So you have to be really keen on your collective security but otherwise, full of vital energy and creativity. A lot to learn from. And I love and respect Jamaican culture and people, the country.

As you look back over your career so far, what are you most thankful for?

In each and every corner of my life stage I feel I was so blessed and there have been always someone who supported me when I was in trouble, and thanks to them I could still keep making and doing my music.

Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?

"Mi no boss, yet!" (Jamaican patois.) There are a lot more places to reach and my mission has not completed, yet. Jah guide and protect us on our journey. ARIGATO GOZAIMAS! (Meaning "Give thanks and praise" in Japanese.)

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

Thank you so much for your support and nuff, nuff love to you all!!!

For more info checkout Nahki's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments