Long Bio

nappyRiver1From the diverse, international city, Washington DC, comes a band that intertwines reggae, resistance, love and positivity.  Nappy Riddem was born as a collaboration between soulful vocalist Mustafa Akbar and DJ / Producer Rex Riddem in 2009.  They move into 2014 with the release of a new EP “Rock Steady” (Fort Knox Recordings) and a 6 piece live band. This new incarnation is rocking the scene as they embark in a new promotional campaign for their new release.  Their lyrics about peace, war, tolerance and suspicion on tracks like “Rastaman” are coupled with love songs like “Rock Steady” and traditional reggae positivity like “I Wish”.

Rex and Mustafa’s musical journey first crossed paths, while playing live with Thunderball (ESL Records), during a tour of Russia. Here, they realized the potential of combining forces and over the next several years they split their time honing the NR sound in the studio, while performing and recording with Thunderball and Fort Knox Five on tour. At home in D.C at the world famous 9:30 club., they performed in support for sold out shows with Femi Kuti, Nittin Sawhney, Trombone Shorty. On they road, they had the opportunity to share stages with many other well known artists. They recorded their first studio album “One World Sovereignty”, released on Fort Knox Recordings in 2010.

In 2009, performing with the Fort Knox Five live band, alongside legendary MC Asheru, at Earthdance 2009, they debuted two songs from the “One World Sovereignty Album”, in front of a 5,000 person crowd.  This was followed by a tour fronting Thunderball in support of Pretty Lights 2010 tour at five sold out shows in six days, the last of which was at the Fox Theater, Oakland.  The two have been inseparable ever since, both on stage and in the studio while adding Jon Modell to the Nappy Riddem Team in the process.

Individually, the members of Nappy Riddem also bring diverse musical experience to this group. As a DJ, Rex Riddem has played throughout the continental US, Hawaii, St. John, Lisbon, and a 5 city tour of Brasil.  He has performed live with DJ heroes Afrika Bambaattaa, Diplo, Bassnectar, Numark, Beats Antique, Ursula 1000,  and Rich Medina.

Nappy Riddem 4-2Mustafa soulful voice has been at the forefront of many collaborations, most recently having recorded with Afrika Bambaata (Tommy Boy Recs.) DJ Nutritious, (SpinSpin NYC) Antonio Ocasio,(Tribal Winds) the Fort Knox Five, Rodney Hunter, Thunderball (ESL) TALK (Ibadan Recs) T-Kolai (Chili-Funk) Basement Freaks ( Jalapeño Recs) The Funk Ark (ESL) and All Good Funk Alliance (Fort Knox Recordings).

Mustafa and the most recent member of the group, drummer Jon Modell, started working together with the Fort Knox Five live band in 2010, playing festivals like Joshua Tree (CA), All Good Music Festival (VA), Tellus (Vancouver, BC)  and Voodoo Fest (New Orleans). With Fort Knox, they shared billing with such artists as See-I, Funk Ark, The New Deal, Dark Star Orchestra, Snoop Dog, Soundgarden, Breakestra, Major Lazer and more.

In recent time Nappy Riddem had the chance perform at the 9:30 club in support of DJ Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation (ESL), for a charity event  he curated, and as support for reggae legend Lee “Scratch” Perry at the Howard Theater in DC.  These guys are no strangers to the big stage.

The story comes full circle when Jon and Rex discovered they went to high school together in Washington DC many years before. The collaboration grows out of a mutual love for diverse, soulful music and organically out of a story the continues to write itself.  They continue to build on the experiences covered here to produce refreshing, original music and put on a killer live show.

Press Quotes

“Local reggae band Nappy Riddem excels at keeping feet moving while spreading a conscious message.” -Going Out Guru, Washington Post, Sept. 10 2013

“Danceable and definitely Smokeable…. This socially aware album is not to be missed” – Natasha Lewin – High Times
“A funky-conscious-reggae-disco-party for the masses.” – Dylan Grier – Okayplayer

“Nappy Riddem’s “One World Sovereignty” debut is a rhythmic, global-flavored collection of positive-minded songs.”- Fritz Hahn – Washington Post

“Nappy Riddem, who joyfully respect no boundaries, instead drawing from virtually every genre of the African Diaspora.” -Pop Matters

“Nappy Riddem weave dub, reggae and ’70s soul into their new outing, One World Sovereignty, a worldly mix of sounds derived from the liberation music you might be used to hearing.” – Dulani Wallace – The Vinyl District

Please consider helping us bring Nappy Riddem to your city. Breaking in to new markets is hard work and only happens with promoters and music fans like you. We believe in our message, our music and our product as performers and recording artists. We hope you will too.  Please visit the links below for video, sounds and social media and contact us at your earliest convenience.

Thanks and Respect,

Jon Modell
Nappy Riddem


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