New Interview - The Jacka of the Mob Figaz
First off, congratulations on The Jack Artist. It came out real solid all the way around and I never really saw any bad reviews of it anywhere. How does it feel to put out a project that's so well liked all the way around?
I'm proud man. I'm always happy for even the simplest shit. To be able to do something that I like and people actually like it too gives me drive and fuel to just make more shit and make me grow as a artist.
What's been the response from your travels when you go and perform?
The performance response is always a cool one 'cause I can interact with the people.
What are some of the towns you've had the best time in as far as doin' shows, meetin' fans?
It's certain areas that I knew was good for me since the Mob Figa days, but it's also little spots that I never knew that they would even know who I was. Denver and DC, New York, Florida. I was in Florida and somebody was like, "You Jacka, huh? You're on that Burn DVD." There was a DVD out with my video. I knew it was comin' out, but I didn't know what it was or nothin' about it, but a nigga on the street I asked him for some trees and he had DVD's and all this shit. That was crazy.
You got a chance to do a video for this album.
Yeah, I did a video for "Barney (More Crime)" song. I'ma get into directing. I realized it was easy for me. I'ma give it a shot and direct more niggas videos. As far as that "Barney" go I really just wanted to be a regular street nigga just like how I am. No chains, no nothin', just straight cash. Hustlin' and rappin'.
What's goin' on with the group (Mob Figaz) now?
We was already friends so that ain't never stop. You get older and start goin' off doin' other little things, but everybody still cool. We still the Mob Figaz.
Is there an album comin' up?
A lot of people wanna do something with us. But that's like big if you wanna do something with that. That's not no average shit. We never really tried to be like the average shit. We really wanted to be big when we was young. Even though we was independent we treated it like we would probably go platinum. We didn't know 'cause it was our first chance really in the business. We did good with that attitude so that's the attitude that we keep. When we together bro, the songs that we make is so ridiculous so it's gon' be big. We need to really have somethin' big pushin' it.
So right now is there an album planned?
Yeah, we doin' somethin' right now with Bo. We just recordin' songs, makin' hot shit. Just doin' shit so when the time comes it gon' drop. It's gonna all come around 'cause everybody still around and we all still fuck with each other.
Let's talk about what's next for you solo? What's up with a new album? People are already lookin' forward to it.
I'm just tryin' make somethin' real. Somethin' really like worth goin' to go buy 'cause that's what they want. I'm just focused on tryin' to make some good shit. If I'ma bring somethin' back, bring some thunder back. I'm damn near done.
Do you have a title?
It's called What Happened To The World?
I'm sure Rob Lo is doin' most of the production this time around too.
Anybody else on there for production?
Who do you have featured on there so far?
So far I don't have no features. I wanna get like Mess, I'm tryin' to get Cormega on some shit. Just my normal nigs that be comin' with that shit. Maybe my boy Amp Pacino from The Regime. Then after this album I'm gonna have like volumes, What Happened To The World? volumes like compilations and I got all kind of artists for that from different countries and everything. I got producers from hella places. Just some crazy shit, but it's actually dope. It ain't far out that you gon' be like, "Wow, this nigga's spaced out." It's nothin' like that, it's actually dope. The only thing I wanna do is give people their money's worth. I wanna be able to sell music 'cause I know what I put into it and I know that it's something that'll actually stick with you. You can learn from it, you can grow from it.
Just by listenin' to The Jack Artist it's obvious that you put a lot of time into each song. It's easy for a rapper to just do a song, but some of the stuff you say and the visuals you create with the music you can tell that you really think about and take your time with it. That's something a lot of people aren't doin' right now in the Bay.
I had a lot of time to practice. I was makin' songs when I was 13, 14, 15... I was actually in the lab every single day practicin' my craft. Just like everybody else in my group. I been doin' it a long time. You gotta be puttin' in work.
Who are some of the artists that you haven't had a chance to work with that you'd like to?
I really like to hear new talent. On my albums I might have Yuk and Keak or somethin' 'cause they my nigs, but if you hear another feature it's probably a young dude from off the street with a lot of street credibility and he really tryin' to make it. I like to do songs with niggas like that. Not only does it help them, it actually helps me too 'cause nine times out of ten these dudes got a whole neighborhood pullin' for 'em and I'm givin' 'em they first shot. That's helpin' me out too 'cause now I got they neighborhood too. They respect a real nigga comin' through fuckin' with they nig and puttin' them on so I look at shit like that. I know if I go get a big feature it's cool, but it ain't a big deal. A big deal is when you really helpin' somebody out. If a big feature comes and gets me, that's different and I'd fuck with 'em. As far as wantin' to go pay a nigga thousands of dollars to do some shit with me, I really ain't with that shit.
Speak a little bit about Freako (RIP).
Of the whole crew that nigga was like the top ranked dude. He had been through a lot, he had a lot of shit, he did a lot of shit. He was a fly ass nigga and he wasn't scared of shit. He was ready to do whatever at any time. He was like Troy, bro. I always explain it like he was like the movie Troy. You ever watch Troy? That's Freak, that dude is Freak, bro. He goin' at the biggest nigga and he gon' take him out instantly and be like, "Who else want it?" You feel me? That's how I always known him to be.
It's a shame that had to happen to him.
Yeah, man. It's mainey man 'cause you never know when it's gon' happen or how it's gon' happen. What I learned from that is that we gon' be around that kind of shit so don't do too much. Don't hang out. Don't do extra shit to be noticed when you out. Just relax and when you get done with what you doin', go to your destination. Don't fuck around man 'cause it's real. That's what that made me realize. That's what made me just change my whole way of thinking after that shit happened to Freak.
Let's get back to the Jack Artist album. What are some of your favorite tracks on there?
I never listen to that album. I just don't be listenin' to it, but today I was listenin' to the shit and I realized I like "Never Blink" and I put it number one 'cause that beat is a tight beat and we was comin' with some rhymes that was street shit. It's some independent shit and it ain't major, but it sound like it might could be. I like "Never Equal" too 'cause it made me get my props I think. Certain niggas that listen to rap and appreciate rhymes be givin' me credit on that. And a lot of Muslims give me credit on that song. "Girls Say" 'cause I can perform that in a party.
One that I really like on there is the one for your daughter, "Kuran." I think that is one of the strongest songs on there. Talk a little about that song and what it means to you.
My lifestyle is just so crazy 'cause I rap and I gotta do everything. I got a daughter and she mean a lot to me. She gettin' older now so she know that it's crazy. I really just made that song to let her know that I care about her like, "I'm explainin' myself to you in this song so when you get old enough to understand what's goin' on and you hear that song you're gonna realize that everything I did was for you." How she is is because of me. The things that she grows up to see, the woman that she becomes, everything she becomes is because of me. No matter what it is. If it works out to be good, that's great. If it turns out to be bad, it's because of me. It's a song for her and hopefully to give her some guidance to be a Muslim.
You mentioned being a Muslim and the quote on that song that really interests me is when you say, "I pray facin' the East, but don't know where Allah is." What do you mean?
I don't know where Allah is because I don't know where God is. You can't see him. I know he's there because I got faith. I can't see the air that I'm breathin', but I believe that I'm breathin' air. I got faith in that. Just like God. I pray to him even if I don't see him.
In all your songs you hear your religion comin' into them, but you also have the street influenced lyrics. How do you balance your life between the things you might be doin' or what you're rappin' about with a righteous life as a religious person?
It ain't overnight. I wasn't born a Muslim. It was really somethin' that I had to grasp and was somethin' that I had to grab a hold to after bein' blind for my whole entire life. I know that God see everything that I do. I can't hide nothin' from him so I just pray for forgiveness. I ask him to work with me on everything that I do. If I'm hustlin' I still pray and ask for forgiveness and give thanks because he knows what I'm doin' and I know that he knows. Who am I hidin' from? I can't hide from him. So that's how I do the balance I guess. He's the most merciful. He forgives a lot so hopefully I'll get forgiven for certain things that I ask for forgiveness for. There's things that probably I won't get forgave for. In my music when I say somethin' about that, but I'm still talkin' about the streets it's because it's a struggle. It's like a war. I'm right here. I know the truth and I know what it say in the Qur'an and I gotta battle with whatever it is until I become strong and want to give up everything. Muslim really just mean somebody who submits to the will of God. I can't really even say sometimes that I'm a real Muslim because there's certain things that I do, but I do submit to the will of God. Even though I do certain things like have sex and drink and stuff like that, it's just some shit I gotta deal with and I gotta fight. It's just somethin' in me that I gotta fight.
- "Iller Clip" from the album, The Jack Artist
- www.thejacka.com (d/l the "Barney (More Crime)" video in the LINKS section)