In a recent interview with HipHopWorld, rapper Jesse Jagz talked about his music, his latest album, and speculation that his promotion of marijuana was a reason behind his exit from Chocolate City.
Excerpts from the interview below.
Let’s talk about your album. How is it doing in the market?
The album has done well. I know why you are asking but I am proud to say that we are yet to see a better album. After all the hype and all has been said and done, we are yet to see a better album.
Why Jagz Nation? What picture were you trying to paint with floating your record Label?
Jagz nation is not a record label. I am not going to sign any artistat least not in the near future. It is just an outfit for me to put out my music. The reason why I have the nation is justbecause people identify with what I do. They are part of what I do. It’s just the whole team effort. It’s not a record label.
People have been talking about the changes in your music, lifestyle and whatnot…
People do not change, but people grow. Chocolate city has been just a phase for me. Africans are very sentimental; once people get attached, it becomes problem. Just like when TuFace left Kennis, people were like “Ha!” If u can deal with it, cool. I have been doing music light years before Choc City came and its not like I started Choc City or anything. Choc City was a phase in my life; I was a phase in Choc City’slives and will be for as long as they are going to last… It’s up to them. Regardless of whatever story came out, the truth is I was just at the stage where I was ready to go. I was just at that stage where whether it was Chocolate City or another, I would have still put out the album by myselfbecause I have worked hard.
What’s up with the pseudonym Red Rasta?
When I wrote redemption. I still had my red dreadlocks and I was just passing a statement.
Word is, you have deviated to Reggae…
I fused reggae with Hiphop on the album so you can call it Reggae-Hiphop. But I do love reggae. Reggae is one of the deepest form of black art music. I experiment a lot; my next album might be rock and hiphop. For me it’s the content; that doesn’t change. If you really are a fan of my music and you listen to my music – I’m not talking about the “wetin dey” songs or the “popping” song;the real content that the record labels didn’t promote, the heart of Jagz, the real content of the Jagz of all trades, then you will know that the content of my music is always going to be deep. The application and expression of it might keep changing. But I don’t want people to get stuck saying Jesse Jagz does reggae. Just call it great music.
It’s been speculated that one of the major reasons you fell out with Chocolate City was because of your excessive promotion of Marijuana.
Yes, I have spoken about Marijuana in my music however every other Pop artisthas made allusions to Marijuana in more demeaning and derogatory ways than I have. The reason why I am being attacked is because of the truth that is attached to my music not the Marijuana. People have heard “Pass me the lighter” or “Gimme the kpoli” from other acts but my music is not that. If you really listen to the truth in my music you will not have a problem with the Marijuana in my music. I am not being derogatory to people who use it but I guess everybody wants to evade the truth I speak about and say “Oh there’s Marijuana in it, he wants to be rebellious.” Do you know how many songs have Marijuana in them? Should I start reeling out names? People should stop saying “Oh Jesse Jagz wants to be Fela.” Jesse Jagz is promoting marijuana in the reggae context. Let’s just focus on the truth and leave everyother thing. When Choc Boiz did the song Blaze, why didn’t they criticize then? Can we just talk about the truth?
So basically you have no legal problems with Chocolate City it’s just the weed…
I have no legal problems with Chocolate City. They too may have been uncomfortable with the truth and not the weed in my songs. But when we did Blaze, didn’t they promote it? Have you listened to Ice Prince’s album? There is Marijuana in it, aren’t they promoting it? If people are dancing, they are okay but the minute you say “Oh I smoked weed in the morning”and then later in the evening you say “the Government is bad” then that becomes stuff grown ups do not want to talk about. I am not promoting Marijuana or rebellion, I speak the truth.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?
I’m a very practical joker.. Or rather I used to be. I remember hiding in a well and closing the well just to prank a friend.
Do you still live a normal life like you used to back in the day.
I still do live on the mainland. I live a very normal life. The only thing I don’t do is ‘take bike’. But if a Doctor can take a cab why can’t a musician do same? Why live differently?
Your relationship status?
I’m not married, I’m not very big on marriage. Marriage is not in my top five. Let me just say, yes, I am officially in a relationship.
People will readily classify your music as Conscious music. Juxtaposing Conscious music with Commercial music…
Listen, Jesse Jagz’s current album has been the most commercial album of the year. I am selling on the streets, people are proud of it that’s how good the album is. People saying it’s a conscious album don’t get that all forms of music is conscious music. When you were putting out the song you were unconscious or drunk? We should rather ask how intelligent is the music? Wizkid can do his kind of music because he is that age. Our generation is far apart.
So you would never campaign for a politician if invited?
For me politics as a whole is a no. I have always made that clear because of the intent of politics.Politics is everywhere; in the music industry, in the studio and even amongst friends. Politics is a lie that people use excuses to cover. I only endorse myself.
Your top three Nigerian artistes right now…
My top three artistes in Nigeria is me, me and me. No one works harder than me. I would like to see a lot of my colleagues step up their music. This is not a Kendrick thing. You don’t need Jesus to tell you that Nigerian music is unintelligent. Even Goats can dance to our music. Can Jesse Jagz make Nigeria a better place for Wizkid? Can Wizkid do same too? Let adults do better and let kids party. We need to leave something better for the coming generation.
Do you accept money for features?
I don’t take money for features especially features I really want to do. My team however can decide if it’s business. I don’t take money and I don’t give it for features.
What’s your opinion of the industry right now.
I don’t think it’s an industry yet. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by calling it an industry. We know it’s not an industry we just ran out of names to call it. Can PMAN be PMAN. Can COSON be COSON? Let’s not have just PSquare collecting checks from COSON. Let upcoming acts be able to collect checks too. I can’t be in a room with a 50 year old man saying Nigeria is bad. What are you doing? Can the adults stand up for the truth?