Tribe of Kings collective celebrates 15 years of bringing reggae to San Diego’s Sunday nights
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
The venues may have changed over the years, but the one constant in San Diego’s music scene for the last decade and a half has been the reggae collective known as Tribe of Kings.
Tribe of Kings is a group of five DJs and reggae lovers that formed in 1997 and have been hosting shows at various venues around town for years, from the Dog in Pacific Beach and Bar Dynamite in Mission Hills, to the grand opening of U-31 in North Park.
They currently have a Sunday residency at The Office, also in North Park, that started February 2012 and where they play the best in reggae. Called Uptown Top Ranking, the weekly event is a Jamaican dancehall-style night of great beats and good vibes.
Additionally, founding member DJ Rashi also hosts his own show called Dub Dynamite on Monday nights at The Office, and the entire group has been making regular appearances at a special night known as Riddim’ Role, held at Harney Sushi in Old Town, for the last six years.
“We just celebrated our 15-year anniversary of playing Sunday nights,” Rashi said. “It’s been an ongoing thing, we haven’t missed one despite changing locations several times. It’s been kind of a staple on Sunday nights in San Diego.”
After years of working at a record store and building up a sizeable collection of old reggae and dancehall records, Rashi said he was ready to spread his love for the genre with others. It turned out he wasn’t the only one with this goal.
Tribe of Kings was formed after the group met through “mutual friends and a shared love of the reggae culture” Rashi said. The other members of the group include DJ’s Unite, Peril, Jester and Dash Eye.
“We were all collectors and connoisseurs of reggae music,” Rashi said. “Just through collecting music and wanting to share it with people, and being involved in the local San Diego community, we started bringing music to the people.”
The band started out with “two turn tables and a mixer,” he said, and has grown enough that they can now provide a broad variety of music.
“People can expect to hear a full spectrum of reggae music, from roots reggae to culture, dancehall, remixes and just an all-out positive reggae vibe. It’s a full representation of the reggae music culture,” Rashi said.
Their popularity has caught the attention of many in the reggae-music world, including Eek-A-Mouse, Johnny Osborne, Don Carlos and the late Mikey Dredd, all who have performed with the band over the years.
Tribe of Kings’ successful residencies throughout town helps them increase their reach, always playing for new crowds.
“A need for change is one of the key things moving forward,” Rashi said. “We started at the Dog in PB, and from there we moved on to Bar Dynamite in Mission Hills where we really gained our name, but we’ve been to a lot of places in between Bar Dynamite and The Office.”
After Bar Dynamite, the group went to the now-closed Martini Ranch in the Gaslamp Quarter and, after a successful turn there, moved to U-31.
“That was great because U-31 really played a role in the North Park resurgence about four years ago,” Rashi said. “We really love that whole area.”
Fortunately the group has found yet another home in North Park, and the last year at The Office has been a great experience for them thanks to a lot of creative control and a great atmosphere.
“I enjoy that it’s an intimate environment with a great sound system, great people [and] great staff.” Rashi said. “People from all walks of life and ages come through and bring good vibes.”
The band’s Sunday night residency at The Office, located at 3936 30th St., starts each week at 9 p.m. For more information, visit theofficebarsd.com or call 619-450-6632.