Bio/ by Sandra Brennan
Iconoclastic, enigmatic and angst-ridden are words used to describe former front man for the punk/thrash metal group Bad Brains, H.R. (Ras Hailu Gabriel Joseph I). A devout Rastafarian, H.R.'s songs, a seamless blend of singing, rap and African chanting, demand social and economic equality and an end to oppression and racism. He got his start with the Washington, D.C.-based Bad Brains, and sang with them through the '80s. H.R. periodically left to pursue his own career, returning only to make a few quick bucks. He infused their music with his own brand of reggae rhythms, which they called "rasta-core," but grew disillusioned because fans were more interested in their hardcore sound than the message of love he was trying to convey. Compared to the rough-edged, riotous energy of the Brains, H.R.'s reggae was mellower as can be heard in his late '80s album Singin' in the Heart (SST) which he recorded in between Bad Brains' I Against I and Quickness. H.R. left the band for good in 1989 and has since worked on developing his solo career.
The "I LUV" recordings went on to influence a worldwide audience with two European tours and three U.S. tours promoting both of the Railroad Records HR releases. Rock group "311" went on to cover "Who's Got the Herb" on their albums and playing the song for years live, usually closing the show with this cultural athem. Check out 311's LIVE DVD! All publishing profits from this song have gone to the reform organization, Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition, CAMP, www.worldcamp.org