Reggae | Drew McIntosh – Dread & Alive

Irie™ Magazine | Reggae - Drew McIntosh

Drew McIntosh

Dread & Alive

“I am the roaring lion, protector of the animal world to which all humans belong.”

Meet Drew McIntosh. Like his father, he is an Anthropologist, an Adventurer, an Activist and a Duppy Conqueror. Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in the mountain village of Accompong in the Cockpit Country, he is a direct descendant of the Jamaican Maroons. Growing up in Accompong, Drew spent most of his childhood learning the ways of the Jamaican Maroons under the watchful eye of Cudjoe, the wise and benevolent Chief and Myalman of the Jamaican Maroons.

During his early teen years, Drew was introduced to the secretive spirit world of the Maroons. It is here that he discovered the mystical powers of Myalism and Obeahism (tribal religion of the Ashanti). By the time Drew reached his fifteenth birthday, he would be put through a series of test that would make him stronger in body and mind. Drew’s call to adventure would end with his acceptance of a sacred amulet said to give invincible power to its possessor. Given to him by Cudjoe, Drew has sworn an oath to guard the amulet from the nefarious ShadowCatcher, a powerful Obeahman who seeks retribution against Cudjoe.

Now at the age of 25, Drew has accepted his destiny, and together with his soulmate, Zoologist, Brandy Savage, they continue their work to protect the rights of all living things – humans, animals, and the earth, from the dark forces of babylon.

Irie Magazine caught up with the dreadlocked hero who took time out of his schedule to tell us his story.

Official Website: DreadandAlive.com

The Interview

IRIE. You started traveling when you were very young? What did your parents do that had you traveling the world at such a young age?

Drew McIntosh: Yes I! One year after I was born, my parents and I were on a plane to Africa with our first stop in Ghana. My father, Philip McIntosh, was a cultural anthropologist and my mother, Maria McIntosh, an Ethologist, which is a branch of Zoology. Her work focused on the animal behavior of the African Lion (panthero leo). My parents Maroon heritage traces back to the descendants of West Africans, mainly people from the Asante (Ashanti) region of what is today Ghana.

IRIE. You and your father share a special trait? Can you share with us?

Drew McIntosh: When my father and I were born, we both came into the world with a caul (the amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus) over our head and face. This type of birth is very rare. A child born this way is said to possess special powers to see into the spirit world. That child not only possesses the ability to see spirits, but can also converse with them. The locals refer to this ‘gift’ as being ‘fo-yeyed’ (Four-eyed) or
‘Second Sight’.

IRIE. Because of this special ‘gift’, your father is considered a local legend in the rural areas of Jamaica. Can you explain?

Drew McIntosh: Yes I! My father was often called upon to perform the duties of a Myal practitioner or Myalman (healer) and cast out bad spirits or duppies. The locals referred to him as the Duppy Conqueror.

IRIE. How old were you when you moved to Accompong?

Drew McIntosh: I was seven years old when we moved to Accompong. I remember the move very well. Instead of taking the one main road leading into Accompong, my father insisted that we trek along the unmarked and overgrown paths that blanket the surrounding countryside near Accompong. It was his way of sharing the beauty and mystique of the Cockpit Country.

IRIE. What do you remember most about living in the Cockpit Country?

Drew McIntosh: I remember the family life and communal living in Accompong. There was no crime in Accompong which meant no need for police. I also remember the respect that the family had for each other. I remember living off the earth. Very rewarding. I also remember exploring the Cokcpit Country. The Jamaican Maroons are very proud of their traditions and have retain their cultural identity. There is a strong bond within the community.

IRIE. What is your relationship like with Cudjoe?

Drew McIntosh: Cudjoe is like a second father to me. While in Accompong, he took me under his wing and taught me how to live like the Maroons. He is very wise and knowledgeable about their history and their ancestors who go back to the Asante (Ashanti) Empire. When he shares the stories of the Gold Coast and the Ashanti empire, he tells it as if he was alive during that time.

When I was a child, my father told me stories about the Myalman who wielded the power to cast away evil spells inflicted upon individuals by the Obeahman. This Myalman was also known to heal the sick with the laying of his hand. I soon realized that the Myalman my father talked about was in fact Cudjoe. As a Myalman, he is also a skilled herbalist with knowledge of every plant and its medicinal properties.

IRIE. You lost your father at the age of fifteen, which prompted you to not only leave Accompong, but the island of Jamaica altogether. Can you tell us why?

Drew McIntosh: (long sigh)… When my father died, it was very sudden. My mother and I couldn’t understand how a vigorous man could suddenly become violently ill and collapse. The shock of not having my father with us anymore was too much for my mother to take. That is why we left Jamaica.

IRIE. How did you end up in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco?

Drew McIntosh: My mother grew up in San Francisco and attend close friend named Cynthia. They attended university together and always stayed in touch. Cynthia invited us to live with her in San Francisco where she runs a foster home for two youths, Michelle and Anthony.

IRIE. How was the transition from living in the rural jungle of Jamaica to living in the concrete jungle of San Francisco for you?

Drew McIntosh: Drew McIntosh. Making the move to San Francisco, California, was easy. My mother was able to find work teaching at the university. For me, the only difficult part was adjusting to the school environment. After the first few months of attendance, I noticed how the social behavior of the students differed among certain classmates. I witnessed hidden incidents of bullying among the students. We didn’t have that in Accompong. So I decided to do the right thing and take a stand against the bully. I convinced him to see things my way.

IRIE. Can you share with us the story of how you helped a stranger in need?

Drew McIntosh: Yes I! It was my first day of attending high school in San Francisco. I had left home and began walking down the street when I woman called out to me and asked for my help. At first, I remember telling her that I was running late for school. As I walked away in the opposite direction, I could hear my father’s voice telling me to go back and see what she needs help with. So I turned around and walked towards her. When I asked her how could I help her, she immediately grabbed my arm and said, “I don’t remember where I live.” I was surprised. I quickly let her know that I would help her find her home. With amazing trust, she gave me her key and together, we walked down the street, trying the front door of every apartment building on the street. We had walked four blocks when I tried the key to the door of an aparment complex. The lock turned, allowing me to open the door. She gave me a big hug and thanked me. I’ll never forget her. Of course, when I returned home from school, I got an earful from my mother for being late on my first day of school.

IRIE. How did this experience make you feel?

Drew McIntosh: There was a feeling of relief for me, knowing that she was safe at home. There was also a feeling of pride and importance. I did the right thing. I realized that it could have been someone else that came to her aide and that person could have had bad intentions. Jah chosed me instead. I feel that my actions were a part of the life lessons I learned in Accompong.

IRIE. How did you and Brandy Savage meet?

Drew McIntosh: Brandy and I first met in high school. In fact, we met on my first day of school. She helped
me get to my classes because I was running late. I remember detecting a slight Jamaican accent in her voice and wanting to get to know her more. After spending more time together outside of school, we discover that we were connected in the past through my father. I will share that story with you after the interview.

IRIE. Let’s talk music. What do you listen too?

Drew McIntosh: Reggae Music and World Music inspires me! From the legends like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer & Ken Boothe, to the new generation of artists like Raging Fyah, Pentateuch Movement, Jah9, EarthKry, Kelissa, Micah Shemaiah, Iba MaHr… the list goes on. There is a cali reggae scene here that has its own sound too. Bands that I give maximum respect to include Stick Figure, Rebelution and The Expanders.

IRIE. California became the 5th state to legalize Marijuana. What’s your stance on hemp & marijuana?

Drew McIntosh: I support the full legalization of hemp and marijuana earthwide! Hemp is one of the strongest natural fiber known to man. The plant is versatile! And marijuana… I feel one should be able to smoke the herb freely. It is a plant… natural, not a man-made substance. It has been proven to have medicinal properties with numerous health benefits. I smoke the herb not to get high. I smoke the herb for reasoning… to clear ‘I’ head, to become closer to Jah so that I may see the world more clearly. I believe that Marijuana is the ‘Healing Herb’ of the Nations!

IRIE. What do you do when you’re not fighting against babylon?

Drew McIntosh: I’m always fighting babylon however, when I do have some time to myself, I like to read. Irie Magazine is top on my list for keeping up on the reggae scene in Jamaica and around the world. I’m a diehard comic nerd too. I spend my free time at ComiXstand, the local comic book shop in the neighborhood! I’m currently reading a spy thriller graphic novel series entitled HITLESS.

You can also find me hanging out with mi bredren Ziggi a.k.a. Dubtafari Sound, who runs Ziggi Papers in the neighborhood. For reggae music, you can always find Brandy and I at the Firehouse 7 in the Mission!

IRIE. Is there anything you would like to share with our audience?

Drew McIntosh: I would like to give thanks to IRIE Magazine for giving me the opportunity to share my story. I also want to give a BIG UPs to the IRIE team for representing reggae music worldwide.
To the IRIE audience I would ask them to continue to support IRIE Magazine and the reggae musicians who keep it conscious! We need more conscious music in our world, especially during these serious times!

I also ask the IRIE audience to Take a Stand against injustice in its many forms! One love means love for all. There are no exceptions. We must remember that we are all different. Not better or worse. Just different.

We need to stop thinking politically and start thinking consciously with each other. We need to stop labeling our brothers and sisters. When we label each other, we cause more division and less unity. We are all part of
the human race.

A label I often hear used is the word ‘Minority’ in reference to people of color or people who are non-white. The definition of ‘Minority’ is the smaller number or part, especially a number that is less than half the whole number. For the record, I am not a minority… I am a part of the world majority! Get use to it!

IRIE. Give thanks, Drew! We fight the good fight with you, bredren! Much Respect!

Irie