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by Kyle Galdeira, editor

 
The first single from the album, “Always Love You,” features Cherie Yuen and is already in rotation in Chicago, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Hawai‘i, and RawSun’s hometown of San Francisco. The album also features the vocals of local artist Fiji, who brings his island-style reggae feel to four tracks on the album, including the single, “Summer Time.”

“ Working with Fiji came together so well that we got together a year-and-a-half ago, and we’re still dippin’,” RawSun said. “We’re like family.”

Rated R has a sound and feel described by RawSun as “aggressive, modern, identifiable West-Coast Dancehall.” The artist hopes that the increasing popularity of the genre, in addition to his unique style, which he adapted from Dancehall pioneer Nicodemus, will make the album a hit.

“ Sean Paul, Shaggy, Beenie Man…these people paved the way to make what we do possible,” RawSun said. “They are the pioneers, and I’m honored if my name is mentioned with these artists.”
The album is produced by Don Juan Cartel, RawSun’s younger brother. The pair seems to have its craft figured out pretty well, as the duo was deemed “Most Outstanding World Beat Group” at the 1998 California Music Awards.

“ Everything we do, we always do together,” Cartel said. “We happened to get great at what we do together.”

RawSun has been honing his musical skills since learning to play the drums at age two under the tutelage of his father Ras Jashon, lead vocalist of the group Strictly Roots. He became a full-time member of the band at age 14 and had the opportunity to tour with such reggae and rock legends as Ziggy Marley, Bob Dylan, and Shabba Ranks.

After his father passed away in 1998, RawSun took over as lead vocalist of Strictly Roots and toured the South Pacific to promote its album Generation. The wealth of experience gained through performing in more than 1,000 live shows has given RawSun a strong sense of appreciation for his fans, both in Hawai‘i, and around the world.

“ Out here, my local people treat me like family,” he said. “All the boys that took me in, they’re the type that ride or die for you.”

 

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