When reflecting back on the starts of many emcees in Hip Hop music, the typical stories emerge. He/she started recording in a homemade studio, had a chance encounter with a record exec, or sometimes, one even attributes Hip Hop as a savior from a lifestyle of crime. For Mike Jaggerr however, imagine living a primitive lifestyle where electricity and running water were childhood luxuries in a house that had neither.
It would be a domestic dispute at the age of seven that would spark his interest in Hip Hop, one that was not involved with his family and one that would forever change his life.
Jaggerr’s most recent project, The Eleventh Hour mixtape, gives listeners a sample of these tales and provides an introspective about Jaggerr’s struggles and a message to his doubters.
DXnext recently spoke to Jaggerr about his life, his budding music career and what’s next for the young emcee/producer.
Listen to “Away” by Mike Jaggerr
The Beginning of Mike Jaggerr and Music: “I kind of tell the story a lot on the mixtape and I talk about living with my father with no electricity and no running water like living in a household and I’m not an only child, I have a sister but we were raised separate so I spent an ample amount of time by myself so when I was living with my father, one day we saw this guy getting thrown out by his girlfriend. We were walking to the liquor store because my dad liked to drink and play the lottery, things like that, and we were walking and this girl is throwing this guy’s shit everywhere like she’s throwing all his clothes, all his shoes and everything and I saw a box of tapes and CDs and I saw it sitting there. So when we walked back to my crib, the liquor store was only around the corner so I asked my dad if I could stay outside and play or whatever and as soon as he went into the crib, I ran back around the corner and grabbed that box of tapes and the guy was gone anyway and he was pissed that his shit was all over the lawn so I grabbed that box of tapes and ran back to the crib and my pop had bought me a radio or whatever, cause didn’t have lights and shit, but he had got me a battery powered radio and that’s all I really had to do. I played most of the tapes because the tapes were older albums because he had CDs and I didn’t have a CD player, I only had a cassette player on the radio so I caught up on all the shit that I missed one, because of my age and two, I didn’t really have access to it. So you know the Reasonable Doubts [by Jay-Z] and [Notorious B.I.G.] and stuff, I kind of caught it that way and after the state had took me out of my father’s house, because they wasn’t feeling that because you can’t live in a house without electricity and running water, so I went to go stay with my father’s mother and she was an old lady and all she would do is sleep. [Laughs] She would wake up and say “hi” to me and then she would pretty much go back to sleep so I had all this time to kind of use my imagination and just live that out and make songs. She lived in this one-room efficiency and I had my little area and I would just draw what I would look like in the future as an artist and I would make up songs. Ironically back then, I would be saying the hooks, because you know a lot of artists back then had hooks to their songs, and I would say the hooks and I’d start rapping so it was ironic that I would be doing that now later in life. But that’s pretty much how I got into it. My mother listened to a lot of Erykah Badu and A Tribe Called Quest and I got to see her every other weekend. So when I would be with her, she would always be playing tapes and stuff like that so I kind of got a lot of different sides.”
Listen to “Cruise Control” by Mike Jaggerr featuring Big K.R.I.T.
Dealing with Father Loss and Incorporating it into “Away”: “It’s so vivid in my memory because I remember the day that my father came home and he found out that he was going to lose me and I had to go stay with my mother’s parents. Basically they took him to court and they took me away from him and I remember that bus ride going over to their house and that was really the last memory I have of him because after that, I didn’t get to see him or talk to him. So like when he died, the way I found out was my grandmother called the house and she told my mother and my mother, she’s a really nice person but she can have spiteful ways sometimes like when she found out, she was happy! She started praising and running around the house ‘I’m so happy that motherfucker is dead.’ You know me, being a young boy, I didn’t get to see my father again. I didn’t get to say, ‘Bye.’ So I think that was the starting point. I’m kind of reclusive when it comes to things like that so I don’t really react to certain things and I think that might be where it started or whatever you know I kind of had to shut her out because she wasn’t really thinking about the fact, ‘Oh, my son’s father just died.’ It affected me in a lot of ways but also, before my father died, he had instilled a lot of life lessons and mantra already. So I held those super close to me because those are all I really had to remember him by. It affected me profoundly as a man because the sayings and stuff I say on the mixtape were like ‘Get the best and don’t settle for the rest” and even “No breaks from greatness.’ Those were derived from stuff my father taught me growing up.
Inner Emotions During Tracks like “Away”: “Actually I feel the first time that I performed “Away” was the best time. I just had the performance for BET and that performance was like one of my favorite renditions of away because I had the live band and they brought out things in the records that people had never heard before and I had never even heard before. I had some good ass musicians so they played the shit out that record. But the first time I performed the record, I did this show in New Jersey for AListRadio.net and when I started the record, at first I did ‘Morning Noon & Night’ and I had did another record, I can’t remember what it was, but people were still kind of skeptical saying, ‘Alright he can rap but what the fuck is he talking about?’ Because a lot of people have records about hustlin’ and that’s just a common theme in Hip Hop but when I started that first verse on ‘Away,’ I noticed that people who might not have been paying attention, they all stopped and locked into me and I had eye-contact and the whole room was looking at me. When I was performing that record and I had seen that my truth was pulling them in, that was a real strong moment for me to the point where it brought me to tears and I could just tell that they felt me and they started tearing up so watching them who is watching me effecting someone like that, which is exactly what I want to do when I make records like that. I want people to have an emotional connection to the record. I want them to be able to relate and feel my pain or feel my experiences and maybe correlate them to something that they went through.”
Listen to “Get Back” by Omen featuring Diggy Simmons, Ashton Travis and Mike Jaggerr
The Experience of Putting out a First Project: “It was an exciting feeling because me and Tone, we do a real strict process of filtering music so I had been running through all types of filters so I knew the music was strong, not to be on some egotistical shit or anything, but because we’re super like, Tone will tell me if the shit is trash and the people in my circle are super honest with me so if something sucks or something is wack, they’ll let me know. All the songs that we put on there pretty much passed that test. But when it came out, you still never know how people will accept things. If there is too much singing, too much this or that and I didn’t really give a fuck because that was the vibe I had. I still wanted to see people’s reactions and I was happy with all the reactions I got so far. Some people get caught up on my name at first. ‘Ah, his name is fucking weird,’ but once they listen to the music, that stuff usually goes away.”
Seeing Mike Jaggerr: “Unsigned Hype” In The Source: “It made it really real. I remember growing up and I would hear about it. I would see these artists as I was growing up and so when I did start watching television when I got older, you would see the specials like Eminem or whatever and you would see him get in ‘Unsigned Hype’ and they would always talk about how important that was and like when B.I.G. [rhymed on ‘Juicy’], ‘My mom smiles every time my face is up in The Source.” These were defining moments that I held in my mind so once I saw myself in there, I was like, ‘Damn this shit is real.’ Now I’ve got to work even harder because with accomplishment, the sharks start to come out so it made me want to make even better songs going into the future.”
Producing Music for Oneself: “I can get all my ideas out and there aren’t any restrictions. A lot of it came out of necessity because I couldn’t find anybody to make music that I could feel or what I wanted to hear. People always compliment me on my drums or compliment me on my melodies or stuff but this is like things I wanted that other people couldn’t provide for me for some reason or maybe I wasn’t articulating it well. [Laughs] Because when you’re trying to get your ideas out, you might say a whole bunch of shit but nobody might see the vision so that’s inspired me to want to produce my own stuff. When I’m making it, I might hear something and I can make a change right there, there needs to be a breakdown. I can control that myself and I hate waiting on people so that’s kind of one of the pet peeves that made me want to do it.”
Mike Jaggerr Will be Successful if…: “My goal is to touch the world. I don’t want to just be an artist that people know in America and if you go outside of America and no one’s ever heard of you. I really want to influence the culture. I want to impact the culture. I don’t wanna be just a participant. I don’t want people to look back and say, ‘Yeah that was a cool guy.’ I want people to look at me in the future as a staple. Like you can’t talk about music without mentioning Mike Jaggerr. Some people bring up Mick Jagger but at the same time you have Frank Ocean, you have Billy Ocean. You have Eminem and you have M&M’s the candy. [Laughs] I could go on and on. For one, I want people to look past the name because that’s just the name, and I want to be a staple and I want to impact the culture so Mike Jaggerr will be successful if he is able to touch the world.