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Protoje & Stonebwoy to Bring Authentic Dancehall Experience to Boomyard Stage at Cali Vibes Festival

Mr. Nimbus | 02/14/2024

Cali Vibes — the West Coast’s biggest reggae, roots music and hip-hop festival — returns to Long Beach this weekend with one of its strongest lineups yet, including headliners Gwen Stefani, Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Ice Cube and more.

For the third year in a raw, Cali Vibes will include the Boomyard stage curated by Leslie Cooney, a longtime A&R rep at Delicious Vinyl specializing in Jamaican and Caribbean dancehall, reggae and soca artists. This year’s Boomyard stage will include Jamaican rapper and reggae artist Kabaka Pyramid, Jamaican reggae artist Protoje, rasta reggae singer Lutan Fyah, Ghana artist Stonebwoy and DJ sets from KrossFayah, DJ Daneekah and Mr Crooks.

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Goldenvoice’s own Nic Adler got his start working in the mailroom at Delicious Vinyl, the West Coast hip-hop label that was home to the Pharcyde, Tone Loc, Young MC, The Brand New Heavies and other acts in the late 1980s and ’90s, says label co-founder Mike Ross, who also hired Cooney around the same time to bring reggae artists to the label. In 2018 — the same year reggae imprint Delicious Vinyl Island was launched — Cooney and Ross created a regular showcase and party for Jamaican artists called Boomyards at Delicious Pizza on West Adams in L.A.

“The idea behind it was to create a place to commune and celebrate the records we were putting out,” says Cooney. “I was putting out records by a lot of these young Caribbean acts and Boomyards became a way to play those records and meet up with DJs and dancers in the community. I used my relationships with all of my friends like Shaggy, Protoje and Mr. Vegas and all of these big artists that would just come touch the mic because they were friends of mine and the Party just took off.”

Jamaican DJ and singer Yaadboy, who performs at Boomyards, was the first artist Cooney worked with at the Delicious Vinyl Island imprint, although Delicious Vinyl’s ties to Jamaican music go back to the hip-hop-reggae group Born Jamericans, whose debut record Kids from Foreign was released on the label in 1994. As the record business changed, Cooney shifted focus to managing acts including Mr. Vegas and Trinidadian soca star Machel Montano and building up the Boomyards brand.

“It’s an extended community and everybody that I put on my stage is friends or family with a lot of other Jamaican people in the community,” Cooney explains. “So the stage is kind of like a meeting point. We’ll have the Marleys on the main stages, but their kids will be performing on the Boomyards stage or DJing.”

Cooney expects Protoje’s Sunday set to be among the biggest draws for the Boomyard stage, telling Billboard that “fans are going to get the real culture there because they’re going to see Protoje perform the way he might at home at a sound session. It’s DJs, playing his tracks live, mixing them live, flying in sound effects and all sorts of fun. It’s going to be insane.”

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Written by Mr. Nimbus

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