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Combat Jack: A Legacy Of Journalistic Excellence

Yesterday (December 21) the world was shocked to hear of the untimely passing of one of the culture’s most prominent…

Yesterday (December 21) the world was shocked to hear of the untimely passing of one of the culture’s most prominent and crucial historians, Reggie Osse, better known as Combat Jack. His death came just over two months after it was announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer — a deadly disease that claimed the lives of 50,260 Americans in 2017 alone (with an additional 135,430 Americans diagnosed this year).

 
Starting his career as a legal intern for the storied Def Jam Recordings in 1989, he spent the 90s (up until 2004) as a music attorney, most notably working with Roc-A-Fella Records (among MANY others). He later spent time as the managing editor of The Source Magazine and lent pen game to some (major) blogs — including his own. It was his podcast though, The Combat Jack Show, that ultimately solidified his place within the culture and helped to pave the lane to brand new industry that has since seen a new wave of strong voices.

The in-depth interviews that Reggie was able to get on his show, coupled with his well-spoken demeanor and incredible microfiche of Hip Hop knowledge allowed him to — since launching the show in 2010 — create a rich archive of stories. These have effectively helped to fill in many gaps in golden era happenings while digging into more contemporary artists and brands pushing the culture forward.

We’ve since become acclimatized to a number of (new) staples in the Hip Hop storytelling game, such as DJ EFN and N.O.R.E’s Drink Champs (currently airing on Revolt). Reggie, though, set the blueprint.

The stories were crazy. D-Nice described to Reggie in astonishing detail the events that led to the shooting (and death) of DJ Scott La Rock. John Forte told the story of his rise alongside the Fugees — and eventual downfall after a massive drug bust. Ice-T gave an excellent first-hand account of how gangsta-rap developed organically in 1980s LA. That, of course, is on top of more guests like J.Cole and Big Krit. The show’s seven-year run built up an incredible library that will forever teach and inspire a new generation of both fans and fresh journalistic voices.

From the success of The Combat Jack Show, he built an empire, Loud Speakers Network which includes other notable shows like The Brilliant Idiots with Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz, and (of course) Tax Season with the notorious Tax Stone. His roster boasts 1.2 million listens per month and regular appearances on Apple’s Top Podcast Charts.

This year, he had been riding particularly high after possibly his greatest body of work, Mogul, which was the incredibly detailed life and times of iconic music executive Chris Lighty — as told by the people that knew him best. Touching on topics such as mental health and domestic abuse, it unbiasedly traversed the good, bad, and ugly in the music industry, while walking listeners through digestible chapters in the life of a man who profoundly steered the most glorious and arguably essential years in the growth of the culture.

 
It was, without question, one of the best listening experiences I’ve personally had in many years.

As Hip Hop is getting older, we’re increasingly being reminded of our mortality. Earlier this year, I had to (sadly) write about the death of Jay “Icepick” Jackson, a producer and A&R who was instrumental in the Ruff Ryders movement, who passed away from prostate cancer. According to Swizz Beatz, who is the Godfather of Jay’s son, his final request was that men are made aware of how important it is to see the doctor and check up on their health.

Perhaps — like Jay — Reggie can also serve as a reminder that we need to keep a close eye on our health. Scarily enough, 1 in 21 men are at risk of developing colon cancer. If caught  early, about 92% people with stage I colon cancer are given relative 5-year survival rate.

He will forever serve as the benchmark for Hip Hop journalism that all of us in the game should aspire to achieve. As well, he exuded a level of love and detail that readers and listeners should demand. Reggie’s spirit is a tremendous loss for the culture — he leaves behind four children, many (many) friends and a legacy of fantastic content. Our condolences to all those personally affected by his loss.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Last ‘On The Cusp’ Playlist Of 2018

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated…

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated by our writer Riley Wallace. For all inquiries and submissions, hit up the playlist’s official Twitter feed.

This week’s cover artist is EverythigOShaun.

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#IndieSpotlight: Dylan 333 Is Breaking The Mold

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the…

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.

“The first week of my second song release — ‘Drum Talk’ — I caught the attention of Adam22 [nojumper] and was posted on his live stream,” he tells AAHH. “He reposted my song on Soundcloud and that instantly gave me the boost I needed.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BryY1HZDPqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The attention earned him an invite to freestyle on the famed Most Wanted Radio on North Carolina’s 72.9. “[That appearance] gave me a local/regional platform in my city to build on,” he says. His first 30 days in the game saw him earn 50,000+ (organic) plays, 5,000+ likes and features on Funkmaster Flex’s Facebook and Tokyo Tonis Instagram — and even a like by JuiceWrld which is akin to proof of attention.

“I also have struck a distribution deal with AWAL where I can get my music out to performance centers and all major platforms,” he adds proudly. All quite impressive for a young upstart with four songs to his credit — all of which he produced and recorded independently in his bedroom. There is also a lot of foresight on his part, as he’s launched his own imprint, 333 Records, which is the primary owner/publisher of his music.

Born on the island of Jamaica, and later relocating to North Carolina, Dylan describes his sound as a mixture of dancehall and American rap. “[That blend] makes me sound extremely different from other artists,” he says proudly. “I started off as a producer so when it came to the point of me creating (my own) music I could produce myself without any help.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqkiZbjP0H/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

With the recent success energizing his grind, he reveals to AAHH that he is currently working on his debut album, which he plans to release in 2019 — though he has no set date.

“My goal is to come into the game and actually change it,” he says humbly. “I want to inspire people to try out different things instead of investing all their money into education.”

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Last ‘On The Cusp’ Playlist Of 2018

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated…

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated by our writer Riley Wallace. For all inquiries and submissions, hit up the playlist’s official Twitter feed.

This week’s cover artist is EverythigOShaun.

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Swift Levels Up With “Elevate” Visual

North Carolina’s own Swift levels up once again. Earlier this month the talented rapper delivered a moving new visual for…

North Carolina’s own Swift levels up once again. Earlier this month the talented rapper delivered a moving new visual for “Elevate.” The track comes from his latest project, Worth the Wait, which was released in November.

Swift first rose to fame when he signed a deal with Akon’s Konlive Distributions. Later on, the rapper got the chance to collaborate with prominent artists such as Quavo, Young Jeezy and Jim Jones. Now, the former Def Jam and Epic Records signee is making a big comeback independently, elevating to the next level in his career journey.

Directed by Terrius Mykel, the video finds himself reflecting on his life as he rides around in a Lexus with beautiful ladies. Swift is elevating as he spits some realness and harmonizes over the hook. “I put it all on the line before I let it go/I got big shit all on my mind and I ain’t thinking about no bullshit, Nah,” Swift says on the track. Swift hopes to inspire his listeners to stay on the grind and not to worry about things/people that are not motivating them.

Watch the “Elevate” video above.

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Fly From The 518: Abs01ute and Shyste Pack Style and Substance Into Debut Concept Album

Travel 150 miles north of the Big Apple on I-87 and you’ll hit New York’s Capital City, Albany. Amongst the...

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