In this day in age, the rap game seems to be overrun by trap artists and “mumble rap,” as evidenced by Spotify’s Rap Caviar playlist alone. Luckily for us, South Central native JAG is here to remind us what Hip Hop is all about. Read more…
Back in the day, rappers were praised in their keen ability to tell a story while using clever wordplay, which is exactly what JAG does on his debut album Dalton Ave. With his hard-hitting flow over smoothed-out beats, it’s no wonder Cassidy, one of Hip Hop’s greatests, took him under his wing.
With the album complete, Los Angeles showed for JAG’s Dalton Ave release party at On The Rox in West Hollywood, CA.
For those who don’t know, who is JAG?
Jag is a rapper from South Central, West Adams district. I came up with Cassidy and now I’m here by myself dropping my debut album with Priority Records. First album ever — I’m happy.
How would you describe your sound?
Let’s say when conscience meets commercial.
You’re an LA native, where does West Coast sit in the realm of Hip Hop?
Right now, I would have to say we at the top, seeing Kendrick would be the crowning of the rap game right now. He’s kind of paved the way for artists like me. Now they wanna hear people that got something to say. Shout out to Boogie as well! There’s artists out here that’s really spitting. I think it’s super on the up and up.
I was reading your story on how Cassidy discovered you. That’s a legend right there! How’s your journey been with him?
Oh man, I don’t think I’d be here without him! Just the guidance from somebody who’s been in the game longer than me, who experienced the whole thing — as far as the freestyles and making it all the way to somebody who went gold. He’s one of the first three people in history to go Platinum on ringtones. I just learned a lot from him and I actually got him on the album too. He’s my big brother.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
Always work. There’s always somebody working harder so you gotta stay working.
Talk about your debut project, Dalton Ave.
Dalton Ave — I got a lot of stuff on it man. DJ Swish, shout out to DJ Swish! He did “Fuck Donald Trump” for YG. My boy Bizness Boi — Grammy-nominated producer. Childish Major — Grammy-nominated producer as well, got him on the album. He’s rapping on the album actually. I believe that as far as where music is right now, I don’t want to be cocky, but I feel like this will be one of the best Hip Hop albums of the year.
I saw you post that on IG. What makes it the best?
It’s just the feel. If you listen to music in the 90’s, it was all off feeling. If you listen to Pac, he made you feel a certain type of way. If you listen to Biggie, he made you feel a certain type of way. And this music is that.
Talk about you pen game.
My pen game is vicious! I’ve been writing for artists since I’ve been in the game. Writing for TV shows, movies, freestyling. I’ve been in battles. I was one of the first battle rappers to ever go across the map to New York and win on Fight Club, when that was popping on Showtime. So I got the battle rap respect as well. My pen game is awesome man, I can’t wait for people to get a chance to hear this album.
How long you been doing music?
I’ve been doing music about 15 years. Seriously doing music for about 10 years.
You also used to coach basketball, right?
So is that what you would be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Yeah, that’s my second love. I got a lot of people that I coach in the NBA right now too. They still come around, guys I still talk to. My boy Darius Morris, he’s an ex-Laker. He’s pulling up tonight. I’ve got a lot of basketball relationships, I definitely would be coaching if it wasn’t music.
What’s a normal day in the life?
Music, good weed, great food, and then all over again. It’s all music for me. Everything I do is music.
Who’s the most played artists on your phone?
Drake and J.Cole.
J.Cole and Kendrick.
That’s so funny, I just interviewed CyHi the Prince and he said the same exact thing.
That’s crazy. Yeah, real Hip Hop artist.