Nego Hights “De Warrior”

| April 9, 2012

Staff Writer Nastasia Grant

Nego Hights journey has been long, adventurous and ambitious with many obstacles along the way but he remains firm, confident and enthusiastic about his future as an entertainer, song writer and musician. Carpentry has been his present method of income and it has also been a guide in his musical career.

In 1999, Nego Hights decided to seriously take charge of his musical career, according to Nego “Wi get influence by certain things in the streets…I lost a bredden of mine and I wanted some kind of change…” Through the years his loss has also been a stepping stone in taking his career as a musician, singer, and songwriter to the next level.

Hailing from the Caribbean country of Belize, born Kareem A. Etyem in an era when dreadlocks was a ‘taboo’ and shameful to family and friends. Dreadlocks were shunned in many class structures. However, Nego Hights decided to press on as a musician and a Rastafarian with his locks.

Nego Hights sees his lock as “deeper than a religion or philosophy…it is a way of life” He wears his locks as a symbol of his faith and freedom from oppression. Nego proudly identifies with the Rastafarian faith even though it is never easy to be different and is quick to add that his music is not only based on his religion, for “religion is a form of division” he states. His music is about uplifting the youths and spreading positivity.

“Strange enough, when I was a youth I use to stay out late nights and listen to music but as a youth the lyrics didn’t make much sense but little did I know that music would be something I would look into (be my career path)”

Even though growing up as a child he was exposed to different genres of music, reggae music was the most appealing. According to Nego he could relate to reggae music in his day-to-day life as it had a story line and there was always a message as the music dealt with social issues.

He was able to identify with the lyrical content professed by artistes such as Peter Tosh and the legendary Bob Marley. However, it was the voice of Sizza Kalonji and Anthony B that rekindled his love for music and spreading his message to the youths. He considers himself very privileged to have been able to work with many artistes but he cherishes his musical moment with Nello Player, a re-known Belizean artiste.

Photos are courtesy of Nego Hights (DOVE studio)

In 2007 he started working with GarrisonTek, and in 2008 he was able to release two songs “Hell Pon Earth” and “Joyful Noise” recorded on the ‘Nice and Bad’ riddim made by Hot-ice & Notnice of Portmore Empire. In 2009 Nego Hights was on the road working shows with The Remnance Band. With this band The Warrior played all over Chicago and even went as far as New York City.

In 2010, Nego’s underground pre-release album “Street-side Gospel” was nominated for the best reggae album by the Chicago music award.

Nego Hights acknowledges his collaboration with D.O.V.E. (Development of Vital Energies) Music Inc. for their continuous support of his music and talent working with close friend Tzaddi Wadadah II “Selecta-T”.

2010 was continuously proving to be a blessing for Nego, as in that same year he graced the stage at one of the biggest out door shows in the mid-west (U.S.A) “Chicago Belize Day in the park”.

By 2011 Nego Hights was well on the way in making his name known, he was able to prove why he is called “The Warrior” when he shared stage with known and seasoned reggae artistes such as General Similey, Ken Serious, Ras Sherman and Sargent Remo. That same year Nego Hights delivered a strong & energetic performance as the head liner on the Haile Selassie I Earth Strong Festival in Chicago at Washington Park, he describes this as his most memorable moment to date.

Photos are courtesy of Nego Hights (DOVE studio)

In order to become a musical success he emphasizes the importance of giving the people what they want, “as an artiste you have to be current, and so…with certain influence we bring to the people what they want”.  He has coined the phrase “wah duh wah dah”, when asked the meaning he explains that “it means progress and achievement to a higher heights…nuh badda hold mi bak sah”.

When asked to explain the meaning behind his name ‘Nego Hights’, he expresses that most people use the term ‘Negus’ meaning ‘King’, however to show his uniqueness and creativity he decided to call himself “Nego”, ‘-o’ represents masculinity in Spanish. He also states that ‘Hights’ means a higher level of consciousness and continuous development… “because kings and queens are on a higher level.”

Today one of his biggest influences in the business is Sizzla Kalonji. Nego Hights expressed how elated he would be to work with Sizzla, as he loves his lyrical content and musical style. Both share similar Rastafarian beliefs and they are keen about the type of message they send to the youths. Considering they are far apart in terms of musical achievements, Nego remains strong and faithful on his musical journey.

Nego has never visited the land of reggae music but looks forward to the day he visits “reggae country” Jamaica ‘fi mash up di place”

Nego Hights ‘The Warrior’ sees music as the “only tool left to unite and educate the masses in a time when Politics and Religion both failed the people.” His approach to life and music is simple “I want to uplift the youths and keep the music positive.”

Check out Nego Hights Music at…

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