On Saturday August 10th the Long Beach community was stunned upon hearing about yet another senseless shooting in the city just before midnight. The news quickly spread that the victim who was shot in his upper torso was 45 year old LB pro skater and reggae influenced musician Toko Tasi who had in fact been fatally shot and killed in Long Beach outside Willow Street and Eucalyptus Avenue during an altercation by an unidentified shooter who left the scene of the crime on foot. Police are actively looking for the suspect.
Asofaatasi Malaki (Toko Tasi) 1973 -August 10, 2019
Tasi, who had recorded with Sublime and Slightly Stoopid leaves behind a daughter who he nicknamed “Bubbles.” On Monday August 12, friends and family gathered together to celebrate the life of Toko Tasi with laughter, tears, bongs and songs in the city that he grew up with and loved.
Jon Phillips (Silverback Records)- Tasi was a rare spirit whose approach to life I sensed was one of a fierce ‘no fear’ mentality. His death defying abilities on a snowboard was the stuff of legend. I actually bought my first snowboard from him up at Miguel’s Skunk Records pad in the LBC circa early 95′. Tasi was sponsored by “Black & White” snowboards and was coming up the ranks. That day I remember handing him $125 cash and thinking “Holy shit, I’m so cool I just bought a snowboard from Sublime!” I think Brad was up there and Snow and Miguel, we were smoking blunts and listening to records and the sun was shining. I didn’t really know Tasi was even a music guy, he seemed like a tough LBC Tongan warrior embellished in tattoos (many of them Opie’s), and let’s just say I was just glad I was on the home team. I didn’t even know how to snowboard yet, but I knew I got the genuine issue real deal Holyfield 187 B&W straight from the source! Later as I got to know the LBC crew more during my exploits with Bradley and Sublime and LB Dub, Tasi would appear in the mix and become a presence and a protector in a way. He was always nice to me and seemed like a gentle soul but also a sleeping giant you might not want to wake. I kinda kept my distance but always had a fondness for his crooked fucked up grill smile and zest for life. As time progressed Tasi became Toko Tasi and started to appear on some Skunk Records produced material from Burn Unit, and then Slightly Stoopid. “Shoobie” and “Girl For U “2 were a couple of songs he cut really nice vocals on and those came out on Slightly Stoopid “Chronchitis” and “Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid“, and offered a different compliment vocally to what Miles and Kyle were dropping and I kinda dug it,” Phillips continues.
“Later Tasi would start to become more prolific with his own material including “Foolish Win” and “Spiritual Life”. I grew more respectful of his craft. He then hit me up in 2017 saying how much more serious he wanted to take his career and his music. He seemed like he had gone thru a bit of a transformation and I respected that. I dug this song “Rockstar” he had and I suggested he link up with a new artist I was also supporting, vocalist Ethan Tucker, who had made some waves on NBC’s “The Voice“. I told Tasi to link up with Ethan for a collaboration on a hook for “Rock Star” so we could get it on KROQ and see if we could garner some local airplay. Toko Tasi took it all the way to completion, with serious production by Jungle Josh and a great music video by Michael Artega. They showed up unexpectedly at my office with an LBC posse to play it one day and I was genuinely impressed by the work Tasi put in and gravitated to what they did. Upon hearing about Tasi’s tragic passing by gun violence this past weekend I resent the song to KROQ because it’s a hit and deserves to see the light. That was something I pledged to him I would do originally which in 2018 I did, but it kinda fell on deaf ears with radio people like many good songs do. I woke up this morning, blasted the tune and sent it again. I hope they play it if nothing else to help create a little more notoriety for his talent, and maybe a little gift for his 12 year old daughter he’s left behind. A tough dude on the outside with the voice of an eagle of peace from within. The “Foolish Win” sometimes. Guns are for pussies. We will miss you “Bredda”! RIP Toko T you will be missed and remembered by many.”
Michael Artega (Photographer/Videographer)- Tasi was my first subject I’ve ever made a music video for. I met him around April, 2017 to shoot a music video” Rockstar” remix with Ethan Tucker for the remix. We went to locations in Huntington Beach, and Long Beach to shoot this music video and that’s where we formed our bond. He told me stories about back in the day with him and Brad and the Long Beach Dub All Stars. The stuff he said was very inspiring and insane and I wish I would have recorded every second of it. I’m just a minor player in his life, I was just there for a sliver of it. When I was brought on board it was to get content for his upcoming shows to help promote his career, I’m just numb to this all, I never expected any of it to be used like this. Tasi said ‘lets shoot me in a hot tub, let’s shoot me skating down the lighthouse,’ and then he said I want to shoot a music video and this is the song, and that’s when I started compiling what I had. When Ethan was brought on board i wanted to do them justice in this video and it was a crazy experience. After we finished the music video I went on to work with other bands who trusted having me around with my camera, bands like Fishbone, Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, and it’s all because of Tasi, it really is.
Reid Clow (Promoter) – I booked Tasi’s return at Patrick Malloys in Hermosa Beach Dec 2016, that was his first show back once he started giggin’ again. After that he did his CD release party at Bruddah’s Bar & Grill (Gardena, CA), Peter Sanders brought the Sublime van that night, it was an intimate gathering yet very fun. Tasi came out and we all told stories. RIP Tasi.
“A couple hundred people gathered for this candlelight memorial on the corner of Willow and Magnolia, paying their respects tonight (Monday, August 12), it was very somber,” continued Artega. “I saw Channel 11, Channel 5 and Telemundo came down. At it’s core it’s Skunk so you have your people who are mourning and are very sad, and on the flip side there’s people huddled around the corner passing bongs around and laughing and reminiscing, and then you have the people playing their guitar and singing Sublime and Bob Marley. It’s not a typical memorial, it’s the music communities soul at it’s finest paying their respects and celebrating a life and mourning a death.”
Updated 08.13.2019 with photographs from Opie Ortiz personal collection (above) of he and Tasi throughout the years, and links to the music of Toko Tasi.
Details to follow about benefit shows to raise money for the family. Condolences and so much respect to the family, close friends, and loved ones of Toko Tasi.
Photographs by: Michael Artega