On a recent Friday afternoon, San Francisco’s most sought-after female reggae DJ puts the finishing touches on three separate sets for three totally different parties around the Bay. Selecta Green B will hold down the Island Reggae party at S.F.’s Elbo Room in a few hours, Saturday she shares the booth at Embrace the Bass in Oakland, and Sunday is a strictly African and roots reggae club night in San Jose.
Between releasing 18 full-length mixtapes under her label Hot Gyal Promotion and co-selecting for Coo-Yah! Ladeez reggae sound system, DJ Green B guest-appears at dancehall parties up and down the West Coast, all while serving as regular contributor to SiriusXM’s the Joint. The legitimacy is there—but she is a rarity on the scene.
Reggae sound systems are by tradition male-dominated, and even to this day women are hesitant to step up to the tables. Of course, there are ladies rocking the decks in other genres, like Pam the Funkstress, who recently killed it a few Mondays back with the best mashup of classic ’90s hip-hop Hopmonk has ever heard.
The fact that the North Bay’s biggest reggae night, Monday Night Edutainment (running 14 years strong this June), keeps top female selectors in rotation shows how much respect they garner. And the esteem is mutual. “I’ve been listening to Jacques’ mixtapes for years,” says Green B of party founder Jacques Powell-Wilson. “At lot of the artists he grew up with are the people who influenced my love for reggae music.”
Some people say dancehall music hit its club peak a few years ago. More often than not, venue owners have been turning to EDM (a rash catch-all term for the current electronic dance music craze) to fill clubs on weekends. “Bass music has taken over,” says Green B, whose own Coo-Yah! Ladeez’s Wednesday nights was shuttered as S.F. venues switched over. Even here in the North Bay, the biggest nightclubs have EDM DJs on constant rotation.
Consequently, reggae DJs are pulling samples from every subgenre of EDM, from dubstep to trap and tacking them onto island riddims and dancehall tunes. The result is a whole new sound experience. On any given Monday night, DJ Jacques will likely throw down a deep dubstep whomp, turning roots into a bass music mutation. And to be at the forefront of the hype, DJs like Green B are following suit, mixing and mashing digital beats into their own sets.
“Jacques takes his sound system out for a stroll,” says Green B. “It’s definitely one of my favorite parties to play at.”
Catch Selecta Green B at Monday Night Edutainment on Monday, Jan. 27, at Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $10. Ladies free before 11pm. 707.829.7300.