“You got to come with the whole package now. It’s not just the music.”
So we’ve ordered Mad Men’s Deli. What do you like about their food so much?
I’m a burger guy. I love burger and fries, man. Super American. Yeah, you can’t go wrong with that.
What’s new in the life of Jag? What do you have going on that you’re excited about right now?
A lot of projects… A couple collab projects with some artists, with some producers… Just bossing up this year, owning my own companies and stuff like that. Good shit. Beautiful thing.
What are a couple of features you got going?
Me and J-Doe, he’s signed on Busta Rhymes with us. We got a collab project. Me and my boy, Davion Farris, he’s been on most of my projects. He wrote seven songs for Tyrese’s last album and Mary J. Blige’s new album coming out, so he’s kind of moving up. Then producer, Bizness Boi is kind of popping now.
What do you think about where hip hop music’s at right now?
Well, I think it’s nice. I think it’s coming back. I really like the rap beef, because the beef is making people listen to rap again. People competing … like Kendrick, the Drakes, the Coles, the Seans, everybody. The dance music and stuff like that ends up weaving itself out. We’re always going to have that part of hip hop, but I think the real rap’s definitely coming back.
You have a strong relationship with Cassidy. Can you explain how that came about and how big of a impact he’s had on your music?
I met him through a friend of mine. I was in New York and we ended up linking. This was like ’09 and he’s been my big bro ever since. He influences the music a lot. Doesn’t write for me or pick my beats, but just the knowledge he gives me about the game, I just soak it all up. You might not learn if you don’t have a mentor or a big bro like that around.
What region of the country is putting out the best music today?
The South. I mean, shit, it’s obvious everybody’s from L.A. or Miami. Some part of Florida or Louisiana, North Carolina. The South is popular right now. They got it. I fuck with Cole, Cyhi the Prince and Rhapsody.
Who’s your favorite producer out right now and why?
I guess I have to go with Bizness Boi. I know he’s still making his own beats. He’s hungry, he’s got the style that I like. You’re starting to hear his name a lot more. He’s on that Mansions album that just came out, The Black Bear by 6lack.
You’re writing songs for other artists. How much harder is it to write for them versus yourself?
It’s actually easier because most of them come with a story. For me, I just start brainstorming and whatever I come up with … Scattered Thoughts, you know?
What’s your top three musical influences of all time?
Michael Jackson, Biggie Smalls, Tupac.
How do you feel R&B has evolved from what it was 10 years ago?
Well, it’s different now. You don’t have to know how to really sing. You can be a entertainer and survive now. The game is different. You got to have image. You got to come with the whole package now, it’s not just the music. People want to fall in love with the person.
What are you trying to do with your image? What’s your thing?
I’m big on the hair and sports so you’re going to see a lot of sweatsuits. Crazy hair styles, though… sometimes my shit might be in a man bun, or like in two man buns.
A feature from Jay Z or a beat from Dr. Dre?
Feature from Jay Z. He one of my top favorite rappers ever. I mean, Dre is one of my favorite producers, but I rap. I don’t produce, so I’d rather spar with the king while he’s still living, you know what I mean?
What made you change your name back to Jag from Chubby Jag?
I was talking to the big homie Game. He was like, “Your name Chubby, but you should just go with Jag. Fuck the Chubby.” Once he said it, then I was like, “Fuck it. All right. Game said it.” He’s a legend from the West.
Any last words to your fans or other artists out there trying to follow their dreams?
Yeah. Work hard. Don’t expect it to come the next day or the same day. It can be years from now, but stay on the drive. Don’t give up.
Photos by: Max Reyes