The Jacka hails from the land of sunshine, palm trees and the place where rap once reigned. Straight out of the bay area, the Jacka is hardly a new artist at all. He broke into the West Coast hip-hop scene in the 90’s with his street sanctioned super group, Mob Figaz. With the allegiance of his home team The Jacka’s catapulted himself to the forefront of the West Coast hip-hop scene as a solo artist. The Jacka recently sat down with HipHopWired to tell us how his faith, association with West Coast legends and award nods keep him in the Cali limelight.
HipHopWired: Congratulations on being San Francisco’s Weekly’s pick for hip hop and rap. Talk a little bit about how you heard the good news.
The Jacka: When I heard it I was actually on tour I think I was in Missoula Montana. I was with a guy named Tim House and he was telling me it was a good award to win, it really came unexpected. It’s more of a blessing more than anything because it came from a talent I was blessed with. Thank god for giving me the opportunity to win something like that.
HipHopWired: Right, so you’re getting a lot of love on the underground scene, are you looking to ever go mainstream or are you fine with where you are now?
The Jacka: That’s a good question. I don’t mind how we are today right now because right now when you look at the majors they seem like they really don’t know what they’re doing right now. I would definitely sign with somebody to further my career and make sure the really got me in their best interests and help my music get out further. It just seems like the labels right now are kind of confused in how to put stuff out or how much you put into somebody or even how to blow an artist up, it’s a tough decision. There’s so much politics with signing, these guys hardly ever get paid. I know a lot of dudes that have major record deals and it seems like if they haven’t been in the game for a long time these dudes hardly ever get paid. They get paid certain ways like off of shows. I’m a business man so it’s hard for not to see money off of sales and things that everybody else is eating on, I want to eat some of that too.
HipHopWired: So how did you blow up yourself without having a major record deal? How did you market yourself and promote yourself?
The Jacka:It wasn’t easy, I really just did a lot of ground work, traveling. All the stuff that artists don’t want to do, I had to go to different places, do a lot of stuff for free. Whatever it took I had to do it. My first album came out in 1999 with Mob Figaz.
HipHopWired: Are you still working with Mob Figaz?
The Jacka:Definitely. I’m definitely still working with Mob Figaz. And ever since then we just been traveling, been on the road, trying to make it happen. Taking all the steps to where we are today. What it did was give us a real solid base of people really seeing us that liked us, spread the word that we was cool people and our music was good. That we wasn’t stuck up, wasn’t arrogant, all of that actually counted. That’s basically how we got our won fan base.
HipHopWired: Let’s talk about the west coast hip hop in general. You guys have been pretty absent on the scene with the exception of you and 40. How do you really plan to bring west coast hip hop back?
The Jacka: I don’t know, to me, we got a lot of people who like to rap out here. All the good rappers they’re either in jail or you don’t know who they are, they so underground you’re not gonna hear them on the radio. Here we got an underground scene that’s pretty good. It’s really been popping for at least 15 years, it’s just underground,the underground movement got almost bigger than the major movement. When I say that, of course it ain’t bigger than Lil Wayne and Eminem or Jay Z, but it’s pretty much the same as everybody else. The underground scene right now is bigger than the mainstream scene because everybody is going independent. The did their deal with the majors but now everybody going independent. It made the underground scene more noticed. As far as the west coast underground scene, it’s gonna be kind of hard to get us back because in the bay area we don’t have major record labels here, we don’t got no line to get on the radio. It’s kind of tough to bring the west coast back. We got a reputation, the industry gave us a reputation. We went along with it but we didn’t really title ourselves that.
HipHopWired: Oh, so you weren’t apart of the whole hyphy movement then?
The Jacka: I was apart of it because it was a movement, I was going to be apart of any movement that’s positive and something that’s getting us attention but I didn’t make the music. I’d rather make the kind of music that my fans like. I don’t really know what was really happening. I’d rather do what was dope and what sounded hella tight.
HipHopWired: Do you support the dance crazes you guys have up there as real hip hop, like the jerk and the reject? Do you support that as real hip hop?
The Jacka: I’ve got to say it is. Ever since the beginning of hip hop we’ve had dancers. You remember the Pee Wee Herman? I don’t know how far you go back in hip hop, but I remember they had dancers, the smurf, the pee wee herman, it all came from hip hop, break dancing. There’s always gonna be some form of dancing when there’s music involved because that’s what it’s made for. Dancing is a big part of music, it’s kind of like, of course it’s hip hop.
HipHopWired: Let’s talk more about Mob Figaz. What’s next with you guys, what are you guys working on right now as a group?
The Jacka:: We really just in the lab working individually. As far as the group goes, it’s like politics with that. When we first started we were still in high school, nobody had responsibilities, it’s real easy to get five dudes together and come on, let’s travel the world, let’s record this album. It’s a little bit different these days. I got a partner in my group his name is the Hustler, he just got out of prison and they released him to a halfway house. They’re real strict on him because he’s supposed to still be in jail and when they release you to the halfway house so you can get a job, work those hours and go back to the halfway house. It’s still kind of like being in jail. His release date was 2010, so they got him a halfway house till 2010. It’s kind of tough to get the songs done in a situation like that, so we just trying to wait until the beginning of next year until they release him from the halfway house so we can get it popping again.
The Jacka feat. Matt Blaque- “All Over Me“
HipHopWired: Do you got plans to work with Cee Bo again?
The Jacka:: Definitely got plans to work with him again. I just saw him at the Core DJs event and he was telling me how he moved to Dallas and he told me he was ready to rock anytime I’m ready. We just basically waiting on Hustler right now, beacause when you be in the studio, we miss out on a lot of bullShyte when you be in the studio. Every time we go, man there was some shooting there……just keep our head level and keep working, stay out of trouble long enough where we can just out this mafia thing down again, you know?
HipHopWired: With Teargas, I see you got Freeway on there, with you guys both being Muslim, do you feel like , is that a reason you linked up with him or do you think you guys really vibe together because of your shared religion?
The Jacka: When you muslim it’s automatic, it’s a vibe. When you study Islam and study Islam It ain’t just like, I can say, say somebody is fascinated with Islam and say yeah, I’m a muslim, you can say that, but at the same time in order to be one you got to really study. You got to have a real understanding of what it is before you switch your faith, so when you see somebody who is a Muslim and you a Muslim and you got real strong bond automatically, because you know what this person had to study, what he knows, he knows some real Shyte. It’s a brotherhood. It definitely was like the main reason he wanted to do a song with me. We got an album coming out, me and him got a street album.
HipHopWired: Tell me more about that.
The Jacka: It’s like some real something for the streets……it aint really has nothing to do with the radio, or trying to be famous. I’m not really trying to score a name off of doing a project with him. But I want people top respect us and love us for making some dope music. We ain’t trying to gain nothing out of it, just trying to bring product back to hip hop.
HipHopWired: Let’s talk about “Glamorous Lifestyle”, you made it to MTV with Andre Nickatina. Tell me about how you guys linked up for that.
The Jacka Feat. Andre Nickatina- “Glamorous Lifestyle”
The Jacka: I’ve been knowing Andre Nickatina for a while now ever since the beginning of my career but it was kind of tough, it wasn’t really easy, he don’t really like to do videos. He didn’t have no problem doing the songs, we was trying to do the videos, we didn’t know if we were gonna be able to get him. He’s like a legend out here in California, pretty much everywhere across the states. He’s got a real big fan base, a real big following. He did a show in NY and there was 1,400 people, that’s crazy. I would’ve never imagined that. He’s just like me, he never had a major deal but he did a lot of ground work. I’m actually following in his footsteps, it’s really how it went down to get him in a video. We had to focus and he had to see we were serious about it, it’s m0re of a blessing then anything, he really don’t do that kind of Shyte for people.
HipHopWired: After this single with Andre Nickatina what’s the next single you’re really gonna push for?
The Jacka: I got this song called “Girls” that a bunch of people are getting ready for. Every time I perform it, they feel it. It’s like a Beastie Boys, that song Beastie Boys had called “Girls”, it’s the same kind of thing, but it’s different.
HipHopWired: Olkay. Well just one more question. What’s next for you are you working on anything new? I know you just got off tour so you might be taking a break.
The Jacka: I got a lot of albums already done that’s about to come out. I got this album with this guy named Burner he out of San Francisco, it’s called Drought Season Part 2, that’s coming out. Then I got a partner from Ohio named Amp Pachino. Me and him sh^t is about to come out, we actually already got one out called The Devils Rejects Part 1 and we got Part 2 coming out, that’s done. I just finished a street album with Paul Wall that’s about to come out. I’m working on my solo too it’s called Murder Weapon. I got a lot of albums. We live in the studio, my house is a studio. Everywhere we go there’s a studio there and we do work every day. We just trying to keep coming out……I’m gonna drop or leak about 4 or 5 albums a year. I got a partner named Lee Majors that I just finished an album with too. He outta Oakland and he got an album that’s called The GoBots. We got one in stores already and we finished the GOBOTS 2, that’s about to come out too.
HipHopWired: Right. So you’re staying busy.
The Jacka: I gotta stay in there man. I realize that I always tell my partners, a lot of people that’s with us there not here any more. Alot of people that was pushing The Jacka, pushing Mob Figaz really doing a lot of time, or they just died, but they really had dreams and ambitions to do this so they got to live it through us. I really got a lot of people pulling for me and a lot of people that believe in me just like I believe in this thing and they want to see it happen, we just got to stand here and make sure it really go down. We got Portia an we got my boy PK, they all got college degrees. They took time out of there life to be there for me. My whole thing is to really hold it down and stay active, it ain’t promised. I know at the end of the day the ones that keep working and the ones that doing it, you might be the dopest one in the world at football, but the dude under you, he keep practicing, you keep fu**ing and fu**ing off. He keep practicing, next thing you know the dude under you is in the league and you ain’t in the league because you wasn’t working. I just had to use that as an example. Hard work pays off in the end, really, I know that for sure. That’s definitely one of the reasons I stay in there, trying to get it popping.