by the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey
The Jacka, PK, the Mob Figaz camp and I have been close for over 15 years, dating back to when we had offices in the same building in East Oakland on San Leandro Boulevard. I had the Whirlwind Newspaper office and they had their studio. I have always admired the brotherhood that PK and the Jacka had with their P-World family that they made music with.
The Jacka, myself, rapper Fed X, as well as producers Roblo and Maki used to be the early birds at the building, so we used to have a lot of time to smoke and reason, before the daily hustle and bustle of independent journalism and the music business set in.
The last time I hung with the Jacka was a few months before he was murdered. He was with Husalah in the smoking section of the now defunct Club 6 in San Francisco. He was surprised and amped up that I told him that Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, wanted to meet him.
I had been travelling with Young Malcolm to his speaking engagements around the nation and turned him on to a number of Bay Area Hip Hop artists while on the road. The Jacka was his favorite. Malcolm loved Jack’s crime-laden street rhymes, but what he appreciated most was the fact that the Jacka had a conscious hidden message in his songs, kind of like rappers Tupac, Askari X and Scarface. Malcolm was murdered a few weeks after I had this encounter with the Jacka, so it never materialized.
PK, the Jacka’s manager has always been a standup guy, and is one of the guys that I respect most in Bay Area HipHop because of his business acumen and his humbleness. We have always gotten along well, and I compared the camaraderie and business relationship of the Jacka and PK to Young Malcolm and mine.
It is extremely emotionally and mentally taxing to continue work on a project when your business partner, who is one of your best friends, gets murdered. I commend PK for, five years later, still carrying out the objective that him and the Jack drew up the blueprints for.
The name of the recently released Jacka album is “Murder Weapon,” and here is PK sharing the history behind it.
M.O.I. JR: How did you and the Jacka meet? What made you want to work with him?
PK: We met as teenagers through a common friend. He was already doing music at that time. I became a fan from there. My love for music and business, as well as my belief in him as an emcee and love for him as a friend, allowed for a dream to be created that we chased.
M.O.I. JR: Can you describe your business relationship with Jacka since you two were rather successful in this Hip Hop scene?
PK: We stuck together and worked on something every day. We had a small team and together we made the Jacka. We took part in the majority of his career activities, whether it was booking a show, finding a beat, releasing an album, prepping for an interview and everything around and in between. He dropped a lot of side projects on his own, but we were involved in all the major releases and events in his career from 2003 on.
M.O.I. JR: Can you let us know what is the story behind this particular compilation of songs from the Jacka? What made you put these particular songs together to form an album?
PK: In Dec of 2014 we released the “What Happened to the World” Street Album. Our blueprint was to always drop a mixtape or Street Album and then the album. We intended to follow up “WHTTW” with the “Murder Weapon.”
Jack was always in the studio and working on tracks so he left behind a lot of material. Some of the stuff we did together and some he did with different artists or producers he was working with at that time (2012-2015). We went through a lot of the music we had from this time period and picked the songs that felt right, listen after listen.
The goal was to make it as close to what he would have done himself, with what we had to work with. It needed to be timeless dope music that would touch his fans and feel like it fit perfectly into his catalog.
M.O.I. JR: Considering how the Jacka was murdered, what made you call this album “Murder Weapon”?
PK: I didn’t call this album the “Murder Weapon”; he did. Killing the rap game with the album. He did a few interviews and posts announcing it to the fans and expressing his excitement about it. Prior to the release they were asking for it by name.
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us a little bit about the producers, production and featured artists on the album?
PK: DJ Child did the intro. He was a part of our label, The Artist Records, as a producer and mixtape DJ. He put together the “What Happened to the World” project – all the skits and blends – mixed a lot of the tracks and produced a few.
RobLo, Jacka’s main in-house producer and longtime friend, produced four tracks; “Walk Away,” featuring Styles P, “Ancient Astronaut,” featuring Killah Priest, “Not Dead,” featuring Husalah and Rydah, and “Too Real” featuring Cormega.
Max Perry worked on “Not Dead” with Rob and he also mixed five tracks on the album. Maki, our other in-house producer, did “Can’t Go Home,” featuring Freddie Gibbs. DJ Toure from the Hiero camp did two tracks, “Never Worked” and “We Outside.” They worked together on a bunch of tracks over at the Hiero Compound.
AK, from Pittsburg, Calif., did 2 tracks as well, “Cherish Me,” featuring Dubb 20 and Street Knowledge, and “They Know What This Is,” featuring Paul Wall and Boo Banga. Don Juan Cartel and Rasun produced “Ask God” and “Take Over the World.”
They are reggae musicians originally from Santa Rosa but now based in Miami. Our boy Killa Guel connected us with them and sent us out to Miami to record a bunch of tracks with them. The track “Live It Up” with Curren$y and Berner was done out of the Grill Studios by Lev and Griff.
All the features were well thought out. Everyone had some kind of relationship to Jacka or significant reason to be on the track. Nothing was done simply for clout or numbers.
M.O.I. JR: How much unreleased material does the Jacka have? How often can we expect material from the Jacka in the future?
PK: LOTS. Many albums with different artists and/or producers. I can’t really say when the next project will be out right now. Hopefully soon.
M.O.I. JR: Why do you think that the Jacka is so important to Bay Area Hip Hop fans? What made him unique?
PK: Because he was dope, and he repped the Bay. And it was important to him to make music that people from here could be proud and play, wherever they go.
He showed a lot of love to everyone and spoke to the hearts of his listeners, whether it was about a hard time or just having fun. He was a real person that gave himself to his fans on his tracks and in person.
He was a vulnerable emcee, teacher and leader. Lyrically he made his music for the streets, and it was important for him to stay true to that, but not just to talk about street stuff but to talk about the life in the streets and what one would really go through and feel and think. Decisions one may have to make or regrets one may have; there was a very conscious voice mixed into all his rhymes about dark street life.
Plus, he constantly reminded us of the importance of God. He was dope and that’s what he cared about: living the best example of how he felt someone like him should and sharing that with the world.
M.O.I. JR: How do you promote this album without the Jacka?
PK: It’s challenging. Social media, music videos – so far we have released two, “Ask God” and “Cherish Me” – creative visuals, creating different pieces of content with relevant people doing something surrounding him, ads, articles and interviews like this.
PR, we are working with an agency that has set up some opportunities and created some good press pieces on some popular websites and blogs. Once this COVID lockdown is over, we can do some events as well. Got any other ideas?
M.O.I. JR: What other artists do you manage? And what do they have coming out in 2020?
PK: Husalah and Traxamillion. I’ve been doing some work with Prezi and I recently started working with some newer artists, Mico Cocky and BP the Official. I’m looking and building right now. Prezi & BP have an album coming out real soon and so does Mico.
Trax just dropped an EP with San Jose star City Shawn called “For the City.” The first single is a song with Too Short called “I Don’t Wanna Dance.” Trax also recently dropped a Street Fighter 2 inspired beat tape and a project with a new young artist who goes by the name of Gabe730.
Husalah has a vault of unreleased music. We have a couple new videos done too. I’d like to drop it all yesterday.
M.O.I. JR: How do people purchase the album “Murder Weapon” online? How can people contact you?
PK: “Murder Weapon” is available on all the digital streaming platforms. Physical CDs will be in stores whenever they open back up and there’s a few places online where you can order and have them shipped to you.
Contact @GoldenMeanPK on IG & Twitter.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey, journalist, author and filmmaker, can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. And tune in to BlockReportTV on YouTube.