On December 27 the Umoja Hi-Fi DJ crew gathered for a session called “5 The Hard Way – The Umoja Posse Rides Again”. The title of the night was inspired by popular Jamaican dancehall posters and albums, which reflect a Jamaican love of American Western movies. But more than that, the event showcased five veteran DJs from across the musical spectrum, gathered from two states and three cities to celebrate Kwanzaa as Umoja Hi-Fi's pioneering role in LA sound system events.
The night was held at Chinatown’s classy Grand Star Jazz Club and featured LA's DJ Daz, Jun, Culture D, San Francisco's Tomas and UK/NY/Dallas emcee and selector CoknI O’ Dire along with Umoja Experience Quartet jazz band.
The Umoja Quartet opened things up in the downstairs room and the band featured original members Josh Koslow (trumpet) and Emile Poree (guitar) from their 1993 line-up. The group was rounded out by drummer Ivan Cotton and upright bassist Ardum Belton. These jazz cats swung heavily, playing straight-head bop and jazz-funk numbers that recalled their formative years at Gaslight Bar on Cosmo Alley in Hollywood.
Upstairs, Culture D and CoknI O' Dire warmed things up with rub-a-dub reggae and foundation cuts before Daz (pictured above with Boss Harmony) took the helm spinning ‘ardcore hip-hop and rare groove as only he can. Downstairs DJ Tomas, who flew down from San Francisco blended downtempo beats by Mr. Scruff and Rich Medina with new funk cuts by Breakestra and The Lions in the mix.
After Tomas, DJ Jun (pictured above right) took to the decks spinning an all-vinyl set of rare '80s electro-soul and underground house cuts. It was a beautiful, spiritual start to the evening that got dancers shuffling on the floor.
In the upstairs room, CoknI (pictured above) and Culture D heated it up with dancehall burners that had the crowd singing along in approval. With CoknI on the mic and Culture D rocking Serato viciously, the "forwards" and shouts were numerous. Later, the Umoja Quartet played a second hour-long set downstairs at midnight while upstairs it was big reggae and drum 'n' bass tunes from CoknI and then Tomas.
More than anything, the night was memorable for the attendance of heavyweight DJs and personalities galore. Just a few that were spotted include: Jason Deadly Dragon, Black Shakespeare, Charlie B, Adam 12, Stan Endo, Marvski, Monalisa, Boss Harmony (David Orlando), Aaron Parr a.k.a., DJ Destroyer, DJ Higher, DJ Alphabet and many more I’m sure we’re missing.
Thank you from the bottom of our DJ crates for making this a fantastic night – celebrating Kwanzaa to the fullest as only the Umoja Hi-Fi crew and friends can.