The genesis genius began in November of 1978 in the, small, town of Petersburg, VA. This was the time Jah-I-Witness Emcee, born Genesis Osagboro Ridley, entered this world. Born the son of, musician/activist, Olamina of Awareness Art Ensemble (A.A.E.), a very influential force in introducing African culture and reggae music to the mid-atlantic region, Jah-Is musical roots run long and deep. When asked, Jah-I states "my earliest memories are those of being at shows surrounded by wonderful music and musicians, and people of all sorts singing, dancing, and having a good time together...One Love, One Vibe, One Heart."
Traveling on the road alongside his father, young, Genesis gained a lifetime of experiences and was exposed to a multi-cultural worldview, which the young Scorpio absorbed like a sponge. This and growing up in a stable family structure gave him a foundation and experiences, rare amongst youth that grow up in the tough streets of Petersburg, where he learned of struggle and perseverance.
In 1996, Genesis left the streets of Petersburg to further his education at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA. While studying mining and mineral processing engineering at VA Tech, Genesis, along with Hanson Jones, his roommate and fellow engineering major, formed a hip-hop group named Barefoot. The Barefoot Crew, as they were often called, created quite a following, while at Tech. They released one full length self-entitled CD, that was produced, tracked, mixed, and mastered on there school issued, engineering, computers in there dorm room. Riding the momentum of a fan base, acquired by doing countless free shows and rap battles, a very successful local CD release, and lucky break at a school sponsored talent contest. Barefoot got a chance to open up for Busta Rhymes and The Flipmode Squad, theyre first big performance.
In preparation for this performance Jah-I-Witness and his Barefoot brethren sought the aid of live musicians to accompany their socially and politically conscious form of hip-hop, thus spawning Barefoot Sound. Barefoot Sound blended the energy of live rock-n-roll with the grooves of funk and hip-hop, cemented with consciousness of reggae. Through Barefoot Sound, Jah-I gained valuable experience performing in local nightclubs, and opening for nationally recognized acts. As time went on and graduation came the members of Barefoot Sound split to pursue their own personal life goals.
With the remaining bass player, Julian Hayes, and the additions of, drummer King George Penn, guitarist Karanja Burke, and vocalist, K.C. Moyer, True Sound was born in 2001, in the wake of the September 11th tragedy. After years of honing his rhyming, singing, and freestyle skills on the microphone, Jah-I had finally found musicians skilled and spontaneous enough to compliment his truly unique style and presence. With True Sound, Jah-I has developed a style that encompasses everything from hip-hop, funk, and reggae, to r&b, rock, and jungle that can be described as nothing less than the True Sound Experience.
Currently Jah-I tours as a front man for True Sound where he has gotten the opportunity to open up for many national acts and musical legends such as Fishbone, Speech from Arrested Development, and internationally renowned reggae band, Culture. Also with True Sound he has had a chance to perform for crowds at the Floyd World Music Festival, The State Theatre in Falls Church, VA, and the Marrz Theatre in Willmington, NC. In 2003 True Sound released a live CD entitled Live Livity, which caused quite a local buzz for the band. So much so, that True Sound had out sold any act, local or national, in ticket sales (bar sales from a venue owners perspective) at the legendary Blacksburg, VA live music venue, Baylees, formerly known as South Main Café.
In a very short time period, True Sound has become one of the hottest and most talked-about live bands on the Virginia music scene. Not only has True Sounds popularity experienced such a rapid growth, but Jah-Is popularity as a solo artist has also seen its fair share of growth as well. Quickly becoming one of Southwest and Central Virginias most sought after-producers, and talked about emcee/vocalist, Jah-I has recetly released his first solo effort Stranger, an eclectic collection of songs, written, produced, and performed by himself. Stranger explores different angles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and also gives colorful commentary into various world and historical issues. Drawing on his extraordinary experiences growing up, strong spiritual and moral foundation, and unique worldview, Jah-I has somehow taken all the influences and shaped them into a all new style, which comes as a breathe of fresh air in the staleness of the music industry.
When not touring on the road with his band or as a solo artist, Jah-I spends most of his time working with the people within the community of Roanoke, Virginia, in which he now resides. Since 2002, Genesis Jah-I-Witness Osagboro has been the studio manager for the Downtown Music Lab, a non-profit after-school-recording studio for kids in grades 6-12. At the Music Lab, Genesis mentors youth, and instructs them on the basics of recording, performance, song writing, production, and the music business. When witnessing Genesis at work with the kids at the Music Lab, one sees the main theme of his music and mission in action. That main theme being The true essence of keeping it real is keeping it true and real to ones self and those in which you encounter on a daily basisthe youth are bombarded with false images of whats real 24-7, and it is our job as artist and entertainers to maintain balance, for the sake of our kids and our future.
Yes I perform live regulary. At times I just do my solo thing, but most of the time I am accompanied by True Sound (my live, four-piece band).