Hempress Sativa

The singer on a heart-felt mission to keep Roots Reggae alive

Hempress Sativa, born Kerida Johnson, emerges as a unique and influential figure within the conscious roots reggae movement. A prolific singer, songwriter, and performer, her musical prowess spans across genres, incorporating elements of deep roots, rock reggae, hip hop, Afrobeats, and R&B. This article explores the extraordinary journey of Hempress Sativa, from her early exposure to the "Sound System Culture" to her significant contributions to the global reggae scene.


Raised in the heart of reggae culture by her parents, Doris Ray Ricketts and Albert 'Ilawi Malawi' Johnson, Hempress Sativa's destiny was deeply intertwined with the rhythms and melodies that surrounded her. Her father, a legendary selector and producer originally associated with Jah Love Muzik, played a pivotal role in shaping her musical foundation. The family's gathering place, known as the "Control Tower," became the breeding ground for Hempress Sativa's innate talent.


At the tender age of four, Sativa found herself in front of a mic, performing for her father's sound system sessions. These early experiences molded her into a diverse artist with a unique ability to captivate audiences. Her music, characterized by expressive lyrics and a distinctive delivery, defies expectations, deviating from the norm and embracing a sound that is both peculiar and mesmerizing.


Hempress Sativa's journey extends beyond the borders of Jamaica, as she has successfully toured the southern United States, leaving an indelible mark in cities like Louisiana, Atlanta, Texas, and Miami. Her performance in Minneapolis supporting Hopeton "Scientist" Brown at the Red Bull Sound Select garnered widespread acclaim, introducing her sounds to a sold-out audience.


The artist's deep-rooted connection to reggae culture is evident in her style, adorned with African garments and Clarks boots, symbolizing not just a fashion statement but a cultural identity. Known as the "Lyrical Machine," Hempress Sativa's fast-paced lyricism and rhythmic cadences have shattered stereotypes, proving that a female artist can not only compete with but surpass her male counterparts.


Hempress Sativa's discography is a testament to her enduring impact on reggae music. From early hits like "Judgement" and "Marching Out of Babylon" to her debut album "UnconqueRebel," released independently in 2017, she consistently delivers powerful messages with songs like "Rock it In a Dance" and "Wah Dada Deng." Her sophomore project, "Scientist meets Hempress Sativa in Dub," released in 2018, further solidifies her place in the reggae hall of fame.


Beyond her musical achievements, Hempress Sativa remains deeply committed to her Ras Tafari Livity, reflecting humility and moral integrity in her personal and artistic endeavors. Her influence extends beyond Jamaica, reaching international festivals and events, where she continues to leave an indelible mark on reggae enthusiasts worldwide.


As a multifaceted talent, Hempress Sativa is not just a musician; she is a cultural ambassador propelling Jamaican music into the future. With her unwavering dedication to the roots of reggae and a commitment to showcasing the best talent, she stands as a timeless figure in the ever-evolving landscape of reggae music.

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