Peace! Thank you for your time and availability in answering our questions. That’s really appreciated. You’re from Richmond, Virginia. Correct? Well, in our opinion, what you are doing there along with the Mutant Academy collective (of which you were a member too), Fly Anakin, Big Kahuna OG, Greymatter and all the others producers and emcees is amazing. In fact, y’all are giving a great innovative and artistic contribution to Hip-Hop culture:
Where did this great Richmond Hip-Hop movement come from? How did everything start? How was your bond with the Mutant Academy and other artists as Fly Anakin born?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “No problem, man, and yes, I am from Richmond. Good look man, those guys (Mutant Academy) are my family, besides the music shit as well. I met Big Kahuna OG when I was a senior in high school. I found out he rapped and we connected on Max B and Dipset heavy. My older brother was who put me on to them, and I thought it was fire to know someone who fucked with them like I did, even more. We always stayed cool and kept working together through the years”.
I met Fly Anakin one day, who is the co-founder of Mutant Academy with Henny L.O., in Richmond to work on a song together in like 2014. We found out about one another thru Soundcloud. I was like wow there’s other dudes out here going hard. I thought a lot of people from the city weren’t on what I was on, but Fly and Henny def were. I felt we could def work and there was a mutual understanding.
The chemistry together ended up being crazy, undeniable for real. We became great friends, brothers. One day, him and Henny asked if I wanted to join and I’m like hell yeah, I wanna see yall win like me. I’m with this shit, felt so right and that was that. Just kept working together, kept building, doing the life shit together.
One day I met Unlucky (Unlucky Bastards) thru soundcloud, he reached out on messages, about a video, pretty sure. But when I went to his page and heard his beats I was like maaaan. I was trying to sit with him and hear his beats. THEN, that’s how I met Graymatter. Unlucky Bastard’s older brother by like 2 years. Unlucky is like yo my brother is the real producer, he’s been doing this for years, I pretty much learned everything from him at this point.
And really with all these guys there was a similar feeling. That out of all the people I came across in the city who were into music, these people all just gave me that genuine feeling. Like a feeling that we ARE this shit, we just grew up absorbing it, loving it. I could be here for days. We need some sort of biopic one day lol.
Gray played the beats and it was history. First track me and Anakin did to Gray was this joint called Fishscale. That started everything I feel. Kahuna came back from Buffalo, and I instantly linked him with Graymatter. They were knocking shit out constantly, everyone was organically working together. One by one, or two, they were all asked to be in Mutant Academy and here we are”.
When and how did you personally start making music? Initially, what inspired you the most to start spitting your rhymes?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “I started around 9, I’m 28 now. Poetry at first really, then like from songs I heard using the flows with my words lol.
Made my first song with all original thoughts from me at about 12, to a Special Herbs beat. I think the need to express myself, because how I grew up was pretty fucked up in the regard to that. I always felt the music more than anything else present when I heard it, the stuff my mom played, family, what I heard on the radio at that time.”
What were the first projects of yours that you have released? And the ones with which ,you feel, you have started making some buzz into the underground scene?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “First projects I released are not available anymore, but to the day one supporters, they have it in their library and that’s something I’m proud of. Thanks y’all for being with me on this journey. That’s for yall. Share if you want”.
“I feel like “Cuts From Andromeda” with Tropes, “Tale of the Mutant Root”, “Deluxe Schematics”, “Emergency Raps Vol. 3” with Tuamie are the ones that made people really talk about me in the light that they do from a solo perspective. People love how Anakin and I get down when we connect, I’d say definitely “Chapel Drive” was the one that put people on notice for real. The collaboration between us, and then us with Panama Plus with Tuamie”.
You recently released a single called “A Toast” from an upcoming project you made with Morriarchi an UK producer. Can you tell us something more about it? How did the idea of this project come about?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “A Toast was put together by Morriarchi, I fucks with Kayana hard as well. He sent me the beat, I was feeling it and floated on that real quick”
You are extremely prolific and you have a deep catalog: what’s your most important and defining album in your opinion and why?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “I don’t know, man, I feel like listen to ‘em all that are available for real. Let me know what you like best, I think the next one I’m working on by myself is gonna be crazy as hell. The best to me as a cohesive thing. There’s been projects where I wanted to showcase lyrical ability, some where I wanted to show I could make a song.
This project with Morriarchi in particular is where a producer is like, “yo, let’s get this in, bro” and we do the sporadic shit and see what we have. Now I just wanna deliver some of my world every time”.
Man, your style is truly unique and in a way unorthodox. What’s your artistic approach when you write or you are in the recording studio creating your music?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “Shit I go through beats from the producers I fuck with until I find the ones that stick, that I know I wanna write to, sit around and meditate with a beat, start to write. Feel it out, when it’s done”.
And how do you think your style has evolved over time?
KONCEPT JACK$ON: “Just gaining more knowledge over the years about all the ones before me, all I learned in my life, it’s a perpetual thing”.
We could also say that the beats that you usually pick for your albums have a particular identity and a refined sound. What are you looking for when you choose a beat?
KONCEPT JAK$ON: “I look for something that I haven’t quite done yet, so I’m not looking for the same beat, or sample. Just trying to write to shit I feel, that makes me want to write. Sometimes I’m in certain moods, it varies”.
Which producers do you love to collaborate with and why? And what about the video clips?
KONCEPT JAK$ON: “Tuamie for life. We have some things coming. I fuck with No Face from New York heavy, we have a nice chemistry fasho. Ohbliv of course. Graymatter, Sadhhugold. 7th Flow Productions is the hometeam for visuals with me, those are my guys. I outsource to some homies for video work at times as well””.
Who or what do you feel has influenced your style the most over the years? What’s your top 5 ever in Hip-Hop?
KONCEPT JAK$ON: “As far as influencers the most for me has always been Kool G. Rap, Redman, Big L, Pun, Nas”.
I found out about Kool Keith later and my head was fucked up. If I had to say most influential to how I wanted to approach shit, it’d be Kool G. Rap. He’s like the godfather. Top 2, no order, Kool G. Rap, Kool Keith, lol. I fuck with everybody this just my opinion. Shout out the Legends.
Besides “A Graceful Snafu” with Morriarchi, what’s coming next?
KONCEPT JAK$ON: “The solo project I was mentioning, I have some shit coming with Tuamie, Sadhugold, No Face, a few projects. Couple more collab projects. Probably two more this year. We’ll see”.