Kamoy Magazine—DJ Child Interview

Kamoy: I know you probably get this question a lot, but how did you come up with your name?
DJ Child: “If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.” —Confucius
This quote from Confucius speaks heavily to me because when branding Project Groundation, I had no idea it would take over my entire life. In the act of naming, you are invoking your deepest hopes and visions into the world. There is no separation between Project Groundation and me as a person. Everything I do, whether it be music, farming, or just my basic way of life is Groundation.
I took the word Groundation from the Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari album, “Grounation.” That was one of the first reggae albums, along with Sizzla’s “Royal Son of Ethiopia” that changed my life forever. Before that, I was just a little Hip-Hop skateboard rat that only knew about reggae through groups like Boot Camp Click, Poor Righteous Teachers & BDP. I grew up with a lot of dope graffiti writers and always wanted to do it, but I was whack. I did, however, have a decent handstyle so I started tagging everywhere and everything. I used to write a lot of quotes with the intention of leaving positive messages for peoples to medz on. I would sign the quotes at the bottom with “Groundation.” In retrospect, I believe this was a manifestation of energy that has become a reality. Groundation is a powerful word in and of itself spawning from the mystic Nyabinghi ceremonies held by the Rastafarians back in the day. The more I learned about Groundations, the more I started tagging quotes from their prayers throughout the city. The main ones that spoke to me were:

“Thy Spirit come into our hearts, to dwell in the paths of righteousness. Lead and help I’n’I to forgive, that I’n’I may be forgiven. Deliver I’n’I from the hands of our enemy, that I’n’I may prove fruitful in these Last Days, when our enemy have passed and decayed in the depths of the sea, in the depths of the earth, or in the belly of a beast.”

In 2002, when I started releasing cultural Reggae mixtapes, it seemed natural to call it “Groundation.” I knew that what I was about to do with mixtapes was, in essence, embarking on a journey of sound vibration through spiritual realization. At the time, I was living in Roxbury in Boston. I actually had Junior Rodigan press up my first three projects for me. (Big up Junior Rodigan, an OG who been holdin’ down the Reggae scene in Boston for over two decades.) I distributed the projects to all the Roots and Culture shops in my hood up and down Blue Hill Ave. The mixtapes didn’t even have covers or track listings. They were just CD’s on a spool with “Groundation Volume 1, 2 and 3” printed on them. When I went back to the shops, the response was massive. Everything had sold out immediately and there was an instant demand for more. That is when I realized this was gonna be a serious project. Thus, I added “Project” to “Goundation” and started calling the mixtapes, “Project Groundation.”

One of my boys worked at a printing/duplication company. We used to sneak in after hours and burn nuff copies to keep filling the new orders. After a minute, I knew it was time to expand. I pressed up 15,000 copies, 5000 of each volume, rode my motorcycle to NYC, Philly and DC, and saturated the shit outta the West Indian hoods.
Even from the very beginning, I worked exclusively with artists. Volume 1 had dubplates by Shaka Black from Montserrate in the Virgin Islands. He was the frontman for a well-known Boston Reggae band called “The Hit Squad.” One its members was Eddie Beazer (Rest In Power) who is actually Batch’s (from St. Croix) cousin. The more the projects grew, the more artists I started to work with. It got to the point where 70% of the mixtapes were purely exclusive. Since I’ve always been one to do my own thing, I started making original tunes with artists rather than just dubplates. Everybody I’ve ever worked with has been based off respect. Project Groundation became and is a family. By volume 7, which was hosted by Lutan Fyah, I’d worked with so many people —artists, producers and labels…that I added “Massive” onto Project Groundation to represent the camp. Now we were “Project Groundation Massive (PGM).”
We are a coalition…a movement…growing day by day, track by track, project by project. More Works—More Strength >>>Forward Ever…Backward Never<<<
Kamoy: How does music inspire your life?
DJ Child: I will start off by saying one of the most cliché, overused answers ever…music saved my life. For reals though, before I put my full focus into music, I was in the streets getting arrested left and right with no forward thoughts about my future. The only thing that mattered to me was hustlin’. The funny thing is now that I’m in the music industry, I feel this is the only more crooked business than the drug game.
I’ve been playing music my entire life. It’s always been an emotional and creative outlet for me, but at this point, it’s my bloodline…my breath. Let’s just say I was born with a f****d up chemistry. By nature, I’m manic. Sometimes I’m the chillest person you’ll ever meet. Other times, I’m bouncing off walls so hard I’m a complete nutcase. Often, I’m perceived as shady. I’ve been asked by nuff people if I’ve been institutionalized when really and truly, I’m just trying to hold in the multitude of thoughts and emotions pulsing through me.
Music is the biggest blessing I’ve ever received in life (besides my momma). It’s my drug, my addiction, and my therapy. It’s the only thing in life where I’ve found how to completely focus my energy. This focus is one of the reasons why my work ethic is so obsessive…my grind has a grind.

Oftentimes, people have described my music as having an epic, cinematic quality to it. My songs are my emotions…my sound is my energy…my cadence is my lifestyle. When I sit down to make music, it’s almost as if I’m possessed. What comes out is what comes out. I don’t normally sit down with the intention of making a specific concept…vibes just flow. At the end of the day, I feel I need music more than it needs me.
Kamoy: Why did you gravitate to culture/reggae music? I ask this because I noticed most of you mix tapes gravitate to a Rastafarian lifestyle. Your style is very revolutionary.
DJ Child: Rasta is resistance against an oppressive force that represents a globalized, demonic, cloned society. Rastas are Revolutionaries in every sense of the word. They live a unique lifestyle for themselves, by themselves, by any means necessary. Because I equate Rasta and Revolutionaries as one and the same, it’s a natural fit for the message in the music that I blast to the masses.
Following the politics of what’s going on in the world affects me deeply and angers me. I feel that the greatest way that I can contribute to society is through my music. One of the things that attracted me to Rastafarians from the beginning was their emphasis on a nature-based religion. I believe that at the root of all revolutions is farming. To break free from a dominating system one must be able to provide for themselves on all basic levels of life—food, clothes and shelter. Music has always preserved the oral tradition of a peoples…and my mission is to try and leave my mark of what’s going on in the world around me…to hopefully provide something for the youth of the future.
Kamoy: I’m a big fan of Dead Prez. How is it working with M1?
DJ Child: M1 is not only one of my favorite artists that I work with, but he is also one of the realest people I know. I’ve been working with him for 7 years now and since day one the connection has been organic…beyond natural. Dead Prez is a group that has inspired me and that I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager. Now, having the opportunity to work with M1 so closely is a true blessing. When we’re in the lab together the vibe is effortless—the creativity overflows the cup every time. (I actually stole that line from M1. He said the same thing about us in an interview we did together on Hard Knock Radio.) He’s been a huge supporter of mine from the very beginning and has greatly helped spread my music and the message to the masses. I think one of the reasons why M1 has such a deep understanding of what PGM represents is that he is a Jamaican himself, born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons why he is such a versatile artist. The talent level in Jamaica surpasses that in America so much it’s unbelievable. He’s light years beyond your average rapper—lyrically, content-wise and flow…He can rap, chat and he don’t just sing,,,he sang!!! Many artists are one-dimensional—M1 has dimensions to his dimensions.
One of my problems with “conscious rappers” is that if there is no action behind it, words are just words. Too many people in the so-called revolutionary movement talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. M1’s political education is based off of being an active member, organizer, student, and teacher in the struggle. M1 has traveled the world extensively as a speaker educating the peoples. I respect how he expresses his opinions as an intellectual scholar in the same manner as the greats like Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and Marcus Garvey. He speaks in depth on complex ideologies with equal clarity whether he be at the Murder Dubs in East Oakland or Oxford University. (He has spoken at both.)
At this point in my career, I have the opportunity to work with a myriad of artists. But to me, who you are as person is just as important as who you are as an artist. For that reason, I choose to focus my energy on my family—the PGM camp. I would rather continue to grow with my peoples than spread myself thin trying to be an industry pimp. I’m trying to bring it back to that Gangstarr shit anyway…one artist, one producer—where you can feel the energy of the individuals in the music. I’m producing M1’s second studio album in its entirety. We’re definitely taking it to some next levels for M1 to provide him a platform to unleash his fiery politics. M1 has been on over a dozen PGM projects already and guaranteed, he’ll been on over a dozen more. That’s my brother for life.
Kamoy: I see that you and M1 are working on a project, what sparked the collaboration?
DJ Child: M1 and Konshens have done nuff works together. For years now, M1 has suggested we all do a project together. From day one I was down, but I always work with artists face to face…I’m not no mail order DJ. All three of us are worldwide movers so it took a minute to align us and make this manifest.
I’m rarely inspired to work with people outside of the PGM camp, but Konshens is one of the few artists that I’ve rated for a long time now. The original concept was to be a project hosted by M1 and Konshens. Since M1 and Dead Prez are at the forefront of the RBG movement and Konshens is a cultural dancehall singer, we combined forces and titled the project, “Revolutionary Culture.” In my eyes, even though Dead Prez’s sound isn’t considered cultural Reggae music, I view it as roots from the same tree. It’s a sound for the peoples based on reality and dealing with what’s really going on in the hood worldwide.
Meantime, Jah Dan Blakkamoore came to stay with me for a couple weeks while he was on tour in California. I played him a bunch of the exclusives we had done for “Revolutionary Culture.” Immediately, he jumped in the booth and started bangin’ out track after track. Most of the time, this is how it goes down at PGM Lab…natural…in the moment…organic energy alignment through sonic forces. By the time Jah Dan left my gates, we had done so many exclusives that, not only did I have to add him as one of the hosts, but also turn the project into two separate mixtapes. PGM volume 32 “Revolutionary Culture (book 1),” focuses primarily on modern Roots and Culture, while PGM volume 33, “Revolutionary Culture (book 2),” highlights mainly Reggae Hip-Hop crossover vibes.

I’m really excited for these projects to be seen and heard by the masses. Not only are we making music with an important message, but we’re also making music that’s fun again. We re-made some classic tunes that are guaranteed to get any Reggae or Hip-Hop party crackin’ all across the globe. You can see this in our video for

“1-2-3” by Jah Dan Blackkamoore which is a re-fix of Blackstar’s “Definition” that originally sampled Boogie Down Production’s “The P is Free”. Another example of how we are pushing cultural boundaries can be seen in the video

“Money Farmer” by M1 of Dead Prez where we take over Fela’s Kuti’s track, “Authority Stealing.” “Revolutionary Culture” shows that political music doesn’t have to be purely militant and gangsta to get the message across. PGM is known for having a very raw vibe…the streets are our supporters and our target audience, so we will always stay true to that. But no matter how much struggle and sufferation we experience in life, we can’t ever forget to have a good time.
Kamoy: When should we start looking out for the finished project?
DJ Child: We’re lookin’ at a October release. Currently, we’re strategizing our plan of attack so that we can hit as many angles as possible. We’ve already released four video leaks which can be found on Project Groundation’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/ProjectGroundation) and we’re also doing a few more interviews, both magazine and radio. Anybody who wants to help spread the vibes in any format, contact DJ Child’s Email at child@projectgroundation.com. You have to support those who support you…Each One, Teach One.
Kamoy: If you could change one thing in the music industry what would it be?
DJ Child: We’re in an age of a musical holocaust plagued by auto-tuned corporate puppet talentless robots. Through Clear Channel Radio, the industry is brain-washing the youth through global dictatorship. Their mission, which I believe they are succeeding in spreading, is to dumb down the masses. We’re living in a time of illusory cloned culture vultures. It is up to us as listeners, artists, producers and labels to take this music back into our own hands.

As Peter Tosh said:

“I’m not singing ‘darling I bloodclaat love you and come shake my raas and I will swim the ocean and climb the mountain.’ Seen? And that not going change me. Seen? Because I am going to kill the fuckery out there and people is going to be in demand for the truth. People is sick and tired of hearing bumboclaat ‘get down and shake your fucking booty’, seen? People is sick and tired of hearing ‘darling, I bloodclaat love you.’ You turn on the fucking radio twenty-four bumboclaat hours a day you hear ‘darling, I love you.’ A man wouldn’t sing to the Almighty a raasclaat – him love him woman more than the Creator who create the sun, the moon, and the bumboclaat stars. I sick and tired of hearing that bumbo-bloodclaat, seen?”
I’m with Peter,,,Even though I’m not holding my breath…I demand TRUTH!!!
Kamoy:  This is the fashion issue, so please tell us why Dj Child hides his face from us? (laughing)
DJ Child: I never hide from anything…I value anonymity. The music industry is one of the most ego-driven professions in the world. I am by nature a very private and quiet individual unless you know me, then I don’t shut the f*** up. This is one of the reasons why I’m one of the only Reggae DJ’s who doesn’t talk on the mic. (Actually, in Reggae, it isn’t talking so much as it is yelling like Cookie Monster.) Covering my face with a bandana is my message to the peoples and the industry that this music is not about image, but about music.
Kamoy: You also have your own clothing line. Can you tell us the mission behind your fashion?
DJ Child: I do PGM’s clothing line in collaboration with Cory Shaw aka Stat 7 of GM5 graffiti crew which was founded by the legendary Doze Green. Cory is a serious talent on many different levels. He’s a graphic design genius and one of the top motion graphic editors in the game. His resume is deep; he’s responsible for clothing lines for Ice-T and Wu-Tang and has done videos for Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Common, Paris…and the list goes on and on and on.
Cory is one of my very close bredren and has played a major role in branding PGM from jump. If he considers you family, Cory is the type person that’s not just gonna give you a fish, but teach you how to fish. The amount of knowledge I’ve soaked up from him is invaluable. I’m self taught in almost everything I do, but as far as video and graphics, he definitely has pointed me in the right direction and continues to do so.
PGM clothing line was born out of an unintentional seed that has grown into something beyond anything we could have ever envisioned. I had a boy who managed a silk screen shop and would let me come in after hours and trade him weed in exchange for printing shirts. At that time I had numerous clothing sponsorships – LRG, I Path, Nesta, etc. I’ve never really been one to rock clothing with other people’s logos on it. My style is very basic…black and white tees all day! Most of the clothing LRG would send me was pre-releases. They would send it to their artists before it came out in the stores to help create hype and promote it. I used to take huge boxes of LRG gear to the hood shops around Oakland and San Francisco and trade them for blank tee shirts for my own clothing line.
In the beginning, we were just taking PGM logos and printing them up in mad different color combos. Cory had created a bandana for Wu-Tang that was never released, so we flipped the design and PGM’ed it out. Since we were making the clothing for virtually free, when the artists came to stay with me to record projects, I used to load them up with nuff gear for themselves and for their peoples. Straight up, we would go to Chinatown, buy a cheap duffle bag and stuff it full for them to take back to Yard and spread to the youth throughout their communities.

My camp would wear these PGM shirts and bandanas in photos for our mixtape covers and when they went back to Jamaica they continued to rock the gear non-stop. PGM clothing started popping up in magazines, TV interviews, album covers and music videos left and right. From there it continued to grow and now the unintentional seed has branched into an ever-evolving tree.
Kamoy: It was great  speaking with you, where can we see more of Dj Child?
DJ Child: You can always stay updated on what’s happening at PGM on my website,

PROJECTGROUNDATION.COM. You could also link us on our

Give thanks to all PGM supporters worldwide,,,More Blessing—More Love.