32Born in bred in South Central, Los Angeles – JAG is accustom to fighting for his survival. In his mid-30’s, the veteran lyricist has seen just about everything. From touring with Cassidy’s Larsiny Family to creating records with Hip-Hop Legends like TIP, JAG has undoubtedly earned his stripes.
At this stage in life, the intricacies of life have started to unfold for JAG. As he steps into the limelight, he reiterates, “my versatility will be the key to this shit.” He could not be further from the truth.
Check out our awesome conversation below to get to know JAG.
First off, congrats on a stellar 2019. Loren Miller took off! Looking back on the tape a few months out, did it do as well as you anticipated?
Honestly bro, it served its purpose. I feel like those who heard it was able to see my versatility as an artist. I’m really in my zone. By the end of the summer, people are going to familiar with this new JAG wave.
Versatility is the key to longevity in the game. Do you attribute that to your success as an artist?
Most definitely. Think about it like this.. imagine being an NBA player who dominates the post. All your peers want you to do is continue to put up numbers on the boards, but what if you were wet from 3 too? All you need to do is showcase that, but people are focused on what lane you are already filling. I’d like to think of myself like that.
That mindset has opened doors for you. Last time we spoke, you mentioned being in the studio with TIP. Recently, you’ve been making moves w/ Cozz and Ty $ as well. How did you make those connections? Should the fans expect some collabs to drop soon?
It’s really a blessing bro. TIP is always on the move, so whenever we can get linked – it’ll be ready for rollout. Cozz is an LA brother, we connected and bonded through our shared environment and career – same with Ty Dolla $. At the end of the day, I’ve got the point where I’m only doing collaborations when the music is right. It’s not solely about the bag anymore, and that’s truly a blessing.
I was scrolling through your discography and noticed you were featured on the 420 TreeJTV tape from Mac Miller’s camp. Tell me the backstory on that connection.
Woah, shit yeah that was a minute ago. I linked up with TreeJ through DJ Clockwork – Mac’s tour DJ. Clockwork has been fucking with me for a minute now, and around that time – 2014 or so – he asked me if I wanted to be on their 4/20 tape. Of course, I said yes. It’s really as simple as that. I was younger at the time and beyond grateful for that opportunity. That’s the homie (DJ Clockwork) In total, I collaborated with him on two tapes, Baum Blvd and Smoke Till I’m Dead.
Speaking on the past, you’ve been in the game for a while now. As you’ve hit your 30’s, what are your thoughts on the new age of hip-hop, and the wave of drug use that’s arising from that?
There’s a ton of talented younger artists out now – without a doubt. The game has just changed though. I got plenty of people I work around that are sipping lean heavy, or coked out in the studio and shit. I remember when it (drugs) were only out at big events or parties. Nowadays, these kids are partying every time they hit the studio. It’s really a brutal game, it can take your life like that.
What advice would you give for someone struggling w/ that balance of ‘stress-relief’ and work? How did you learn to maintain?
Honestly, the best advice I could give is to think about the future man. You don’t wanna be 30 years old, shit out of luck, and watch your homies start families and own businesses. You can’t maintain the lifestyle. More importantly, I think the money is what facilitates all that shit. You’re giving a young kid 100 bands who has been smoking weed since he was 13, it’s almost inevitable he’s going to move to the harder shit. Not that weed is a gateway drug, but I definitely think coke is.
Aside from drugs, the violence that some young rappers find themselves in seems to be becoming more prominent. Seeing someone like Tay-K get 55-life for a murder, how did you react? Artists are even mentioning their cases in their lyrics.
People are crazy man. He killed somebody, he’s going to do that time. It’s just sad to me to see someone lose their life to the system. He’s a young black man, you gotta learn that you are a target from the jump. Why go risk more attention? It’s even crazier that this dude dry-snitched on himself. That’s just not smart – can’t talk too much, especially if you are in the streets. As a hood n****, I have homies doing life for murders that they did and DIDN’T commit. It’s a tough life out here.
Alongside from the plethora of singles you have dropped, what’s your rollout plan for the rest of the summer? Have you been preparing for a tape?
I’m really in a good situation man. I’m focused on singles for the moment, but after talking with the team, a project seems to be in the works. If that’s the case, it would be around 12-13 tracks. My main goal is to consistently put out my craft for the people. The energy and wave I’ve been on is wild. Saying that, it’s not on any beef shit. I even reached out to Meek Mill a while back to mend bridges. It’s bigger than Rap. One things for sure, there will be new JAG all throughout the rest of this summer.
Thanks for taking the time to chat again, JAG. Always a pleasure. Go follow JAG on Twitter @southcentraljag and Instagram @JAG