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The best kept secret in music


"reggae star to shine down on Justice League"

Reggae star to shine down on Justice League
By Bob Calhoun
Of the Examiner

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2000

Resembling a biblical prophet, dancehall reggae artist Rocker-T explodes onto the stage with striking intensity. He stands on the stage and takes the microphone, mesmerized and transfixed as if channeling spirits. Known in reggae and hip-hop circles for his socially conscious and positive lyrics, his earnestness is winning him a growing cult following on the West Coast. After a standout performance at this year's "Reggae on the River" festival in Humboldt County, Rocker-T moved from Brooklyn to San Francisco, and now makes Northern California his home.

"The response at 'Reggae on the River' was overwhelming," Rocker explains from a cellphone in Amsterdam. "Jimmy Cliff, Joan Baez and Mix Master Mike were all on stage at the same time watching me. There were also ten thousand fans out there as well. Tears were flowing, people were happy and sad at the same time. It was crazy, and I think we got the biggest cloud of the day in front of the stage."

The cloud that Rocker refers to is, of course, composed of pot smoke - a veritable sacrament in reggae music and culture. High Times, the New York Times of ganja journalism, gave Rocker-T two of this year's Doobie Awards. His latest disc, "If Ya Luv Luv Show Ya Luv", took the magazine's Best Reggae Album category and his song "Sensible Proposition" beat out the likes of Snoop Dogg, Doctor Dre and Lauryn Hill for "Pot Song of the Year."

"High Times has always been a big supporter of me as an artist and as somebody who is preaching to legalize herb," Rocker says with enthusiasm. "It was a great feeling to be recognized by the group of people who we put this album out for. To get 'Pot Song of the Year' from 'High Times' was the creme de la creme - it's reaching out to the audience that I have worked my whole life to get to."

Rocker-T also received another pothead push this year when the cover of his "Tru Ganjaman" EP was prominently featured in the background of the Ice Cube comedy "Next Friday." The album cover, with its picture of Rocker-T puffing on a joint that may be too big for even Cheech and Chong, must have caught the eye of the movie's art director in a big way.

"We got a call from one of the one of the editors from 'High Times,'" Rocker recalls, "and he said, 'You won't believe it but your cover is 20-by-20 feet on a movie screen in Ice Cube's movie.'"

But all drug-induced accolades aside, Rocker-T is a serious musician. He blends rap, rhyme and singing into a style called sing-jay (combining a singer with a DJ) and plays an array of instruments that includes guitar, melodica, nyabinghi drums and keyboards.

"I basically want to get out and play music for people and not get involved with the bobbles that are involved in this business," Rocker says earnestly. "I want to get away from singing about money and violence and put out a positive message for the future because the future is where it's at."

Steffen Franz, AKA Standout Selector, has put out Rocker-T's latest albums through his Positive Sound Massive label located in San Francisco. "I think that a lot of people are ready for a change," Franz says of Rocker's growing appeal. "They're ready to get behind somebody who is making a difference. Rocker-T is someone that college kids, hippie kids, and straight-ahead reggae fans are behind. Our concern is not the big markets. We're not trying to win in New York or L.A. We're more concerned about the Arcatas, the Eugenes, the Fresnos."

"I am a gypsy," Rocker-T says. "As much as I call San Francisco my home, or Brooklyn or Amsterdam, I will always travel. In doing so, I bring a message to people."

Bob Calhoun writes on the city's music scene for the San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at

Rocker-T is performing Thursday night with Shinehead, Jah Yzer, Coop' D. 'Ville and Standout Selector as part of Dubphonic (a monthly reggae showcase) at The Justice League, 628 Divisadero. Tickets are $15; call 440-0409 for more information. Rocker will also be playing Saturday at Club Saketini; 3900 Bell Ave. Napa. - SF

"Rocker T and Version City Rockers"

Rocker T and Version City Rockers • Nicer by the Hour • Stubborn Records • Being familiar with the 7" for "Fiya Bun Roam," I was excited to hear Rocker T's full length. I was not let down, as this CD contains both songs from that 7" plus 15 other tracks. This has a reggae and rocksteady vibe more so than ska. The slowed down nature allows you to groove to the steady beats and the chorus section of songs like "Worries." I really liked this album as the lyrics cover the personal, political and an "I-Story Lesson," while the music and voice bring to mind the spirit of Chess R&B records. This is essential listening, so get it! - impact press

"rocker-t more luv"

More Luv is the 3rd release from Conscious Dancehall artist Rocker T, and his second on the PSM label based out of San Francisco.

The album starts off with Wherever you Go, Whatever you need, a 7 and a half minute song with with great percussion and doubled vocals. The next song is an upbeat song about leaving Babylon and going onto Zion called Rainbow country. It has a driving bassline, and a nice lead synth part, while denouncing corrupt leaders and praising Jah.

the title track, is a song calling on the world to just have More Luv. It promotes positive living with one another, through fast paced lyrics over a slow, strong beat. Nevashame is a song of dedication to Haile Selassie and Empress Menen. Bad Wrong sign, one of my personal favorites on the album, is a warning to all the false prophets who mislead the youth. "Woe, be unto them who mislead the children" is a warning to those who the war-mongers, and those who spread negative messages to children.

One Time Me Locks Me Head is a great roots track with a lead guitar part that is prominently featured. complete with the steady bass and drums, as well as Rocker's excellent mix of singing and chanting, creates the atmosphere for a very enjoyable track. Rise up and Stand is another quality roots track with a One Drop beat, nice background effects, and a sprinkling of vocal harmony in certain places, especially the chorus.

"You think me put away me broom, me tek it out again, to clean the lot of them, de whole a dem heathen!" is the chanting chorus of the hardcore dancehall track Tek it Out Again. Jah the only one has a driving Horn part, with Rocker chanting "I come here to declare that Jah would be the only one, to enter into the temple of mi house Mt. Zion, too much wicked man in Babylon."

You Don't have to worry is a laid back track with Rocker T both singing and deejaying about how Jah is coming soon. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Joyous Works is an enjoyable song, with relaxed layered instrumentation and highlighted vocals, which is one of my favorite parts. one thing I have to say about Rocker T, is that he is an extremely talented singer.

My Empress is an ode to women, and has a wonderful, well sung feel with a driving beat. Kind Of Man weaves in a lot of Melodica, which almost always fits in well with reggae, and this track is a perfect example of how to implement a Melodica into the music, The closing track, Don't Give up on Me, has a well done steppers, probably the best example of vocal harmony on the album. The only downside to this album is the text on the artwork is hard to read, but after awhile it becomes easy to figure out. This album is a 10/10. Bay Area Reggae recommended.


Ras James - bay area reggae


Skadanks Whole World African 12" - 1991 (Edutainer/Elektra) Produced by KRS One
Skadanks Give Thanks - 1994 (Edutainer/Elektra) Produced by D2 & Skadanks
Tru Freedom Fighters feat. Jamalski - 1997 (PSM Recordings) Produced by Stand Out Selector
Nicer By The Hour - 1997 (Stubborn Records) Produced by Rocker-T, Agent J & Victor Rice
Tru Ganjaman Remix - 1998 (PSM Recordings) Produced by Rocker-T & Stand Out Selector
Fiya Bunn Roam - 1998 (Stubborn Records) Produced by Rocker-T & Agent J
If Yu Luv Luv Show Ya Luv - 1998 (PSM Recordings) Produced by Stand Out Selector & Rocker-T
A New Revelation - 1999 (Orange Label) Produced by Glen “Capo” Adams
Ganja Progress - 2000 (Higher Ground Sound) Produced by Disciple
Wayfarer’s Prayer feat. King Django - 2000 (Black Pearl) Produced by King Django
Prophets Of The Most High - 2000 (PSM Recordings) Produced by Rocker-T & Stand Out Selector
By Your Side - 2001 (Black Pearl) Produced by Rocker-T
More Luv - 2003 (PSM Recordings) Produced by Glen “Capo” Adams, Rocker-T, Alex V & Stand Out Selector
Retrospect EP - 2004 (Conquering Lion Soundz) Produced by Owen Maigret & Rocker-T
Hold On Strong - 2005 (Zion Way Records) Produced by DJ Prophecy & Rocker-T




As a young child, Toby Petter Herskind Sorensen a.k.a. Rocker-T was taught to sing in a Lutheran choir in Brooklyn, New York. From a very early age into his teens he played the piano and the classical guitar. By the time he was in High School he was playing in a Rock band, a Punk band and a New Wave band. The Punk band known as Noize Police evolved into a Ska-Reggae trio named the Ska-Danks which by 1989 had mutated into an underground dancehall-Reggae-HipHop phenomenon boasting guests like Jamalski, Sugar Minott and Shaggy. Also around 1988 he began toasting for the Brooklyn based Eruption Hi-Power and TNT Boys & Girls as well as Manhattan based BBC2 HiFi which was run by the current Editor-in-Chief of Vibe Magazine, Rob Kenner. Of note are opening gigs for Buster Poindexter & the Bansees of Blue, Cypress Hill, Lee Scratch Perry, Burning Spear and Super Cat among a myriad of others. At the same time Rocker-T formed Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fidelity Sound System fronting the sound as both a selecter and an MC. Skadanks signed to Edutainer/Elektra in 1991 releasing Whole World African produced by KRS One in 1991 and Give Thanks produced by the band and D2 in 1994. The Biltmore Ballroom, Reggae Lounge, the Wetlands, S.O.B.’s, Tramps and the Lion’s Den are among many venues that Rocker-T and company shredded on a regular basis.

All the while Rocker-T had been evolving both his musical tastes and styles and in 1995 he headed to the west coast and joined the Roots-Meditation outfit Jah Levi and the Higher Reasoning touring extensively from Seattle to Santa Cruz. He was soon blessed to travel to Trinidad & Tobago and also Jamaica where he performed at the Portmore Entertainment Center opening for Jr. Cat and Capleton. During this time he was initiated by Elder Lidj Ras Menelik Da Costa and Rastafari Elder Ras Pidow into the true and living science of Word, Sound & Power and Niyahbinghi Chanting and Drumming. Also in this same year he was asked to be one of the main frontmen for the newly-formed and presently renown Cannabis Cup Band and played the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup for the first of many times, of special note backing and singing with Rita Marley for Bob Marley’s induction into the Cannabis Hall of Fame, opening for Spearhead, and eventually becoming the DJ Coordinator for the entire event.

In 1997 Rocker-T returned to New York to team up with long-time Ska-Scene brethrens King Django of the Stubborn All-Stars and Agent Jay of Crazy Baldhead. He started production and recording of his first solo album along with Agent Jay and bassist Victor Rice subsequently to be released on Stubborn Records. Around the same time he met San Francisco based producer Steffen Franz a.k.a. Stand Out Selector and also began to record tracks for Franz’s Positive Sound Massive label. This year saw the release of four tunes on PSM, Tru Freedom Fighters and War Pan Pause both featuring Rocker’s storm-the-mic days partner Jamalski, along with Jah Everlasting and the original Tru Ganjaman. In 1998 King Django’s Stubborn Records released Nicer By The Hour and PSM released the Tru Ganjaman Remix and If Yu Luv Luv, Show Ya Luv. These three records are pure Rocker-T classics among his many fans, and of particular note the cover of his Tru Ganjaman Remix is noticeably present in a scene from the Ice Cube film Next Friday.

Rocker’s popularity allowed him to tour in Japan and Europe between 1994 and 1999. Also in 1999 he began to be a regular fixture at Rainbow Gatherings. Surfing between the East and West Coasts, Rocker-T found himself associating with both Glenroy “Capo” Adams of the Upsetters (The Wailers’ original touring band) in Brooklyn and also Owen Maigret, a Bay Area Painter & Producer with a flair for underground hits. Glen Adams released Rocker-T’s A New Revelation just prior to the year 2000 and Mr. Maigret’s Conquering Lion Soundz released T’s only to-date recorded-in-Amsterdam production, a tune entitled Sensi In The Club which has become quite popular among the artists of Amsterdam as well as the club kids of Panama. In the year 2000 he appeared at Reggae On The River, an event that was marked by the overwhelming enthusiasm of the backstage staff and front-row fans toward Rocker’s presence. Also at Reggae on the River is where Rocker-T established a relationship with Joan Baez. In 2001 he played the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and was invited back in 2004. Once again it was obvious that Rocker-T was quite the local favorite, judging by the exodus of fans from the main stage to the village stage where he was performing. Rocker-T also released two more albums, PSM’s More Luv in 2002 and Hold On Strong in 2004 on Zionway Recordings. He has recorded some very popular Raggaton in Panama as well as co-inventing Socaton with Panama City DJ Fulo. Rocker-T has performed in N.Y.C.‘s Central Park, CBGBs, and B.B. Kings, S.F.‘s Golden Gate Park, Maritime Hall and The Fillmo