Jah is a tastemaker. Born Jahphet Negast Landis in 1984 in Cólon, Panama to a beloved rastafarian elder and loving mother, Negast—as his middle name suggests—has been doing king sh*t ever since.
From hopping around Brooklyn, New York apartments with his mom and aunt and finding a part of his soul’s home at the local church’s drum set at age 9 to later losing his mom in 2018—the woman who introduced him to music, good food, and all-in-all a core part of home as the cement that held the family together—at the cusp of professional success at age 21, Jah has always been interested in the why of things, and thus of life. He discovered a big part of his personal ‘why’ as he, like you, spent 2020 in quarantine—now from the comfort of his physical home in LA. It was during that time that he sat with the parallel dichotomy of loss and the joy that is the sensory experience tied to the memories that preceded it. Specifically when it comes to taste—perhaps the sweetest sense of them all.
It was that time of solitude and opting for home-cooked meals and homemade ingredients that led to the making of Jah Mama Sauce. With the guidance of his tia Ana, and cousin Chevon who so generously, loosely shared the recipe for a staple in their household growing up, Jah celebrated his mom’s memories in the kitchen and made the formula his own to create what he now calls “everyone and their mama’s favorite hot sauce.”
Melding and creating is nothing new for Jah, the medium simply depends on the moment. Over the last ten years or so, Jah has built an impressive résumé in the music space under the moniker of Roofeeo. His sonic palette and bucket of inspiration is a mixed bag that includes everything from salsa, hip-hop, reggae and gospel to Jay Z, N.E.R.D., The Robert Glasper Experiment and the sounds that blasted out of the speakers of his punk rock, art school friends in his late teens. We see those inspirations play out in his work.
One thing remained consistent as he toured on a 16-person van dubbed Quani Cannonz with The Death Set, hopped on the last leg of one of Santigold’s tours, toured the world with TV on the Radio, and produced for the likes of Post Malone and Buddy—his mom, Alba Rosa, always came through with the hot sauce. She’d mail him a batch and the warmth of home was always near. To this day, Jah holds the last bit of the last bottle dear.
As he experimented with his own take on it, close friends and family took notice and thus collaborations like pizza with Jah Mama Sauce at Side Pie Pizza, the Jah Mama sandwich at Uncle Paulie’s and the Jah Mama empanada were birthed. The small-batch sauce inevitably grew a cult following and the demand to make it available on a larger scale grew. Now, Jah is ready to share that taste of home, perhaps his most personal project yet, with the world. For his mom—and yours.