JOHN JIGG$

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK | JOHN JIGG$

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK | JOHN JIGG$

INTERVIEW: REALIFE [@REALIFEVMG]

PHOTOGRAPH: KYLE KETZER

VALIDATED: BEING FROM LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP, THE CULTURE?

JOHN JIGG$: THE JUICE CREW'S "SYMPHONY" AND RUN DMC'S "TOUGHER THAN LEATHER" AS A SMALL CHILD. MY BROTHER WAS ALSO A DJ THAT GREW UP IN THE BRONX, SO I WAS ALWAYS THERE FOR HIS MIXING SESSIONS... GANG STARR, KOOL G RAP AND PUBLIC ENEMY JUST TO NAME A FEW.

VALIDATED: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN RAP?

JOHN JIGG$: WHEN KRISS KROSS CAME OUT I WAS AROUND THE SAME AGE, SO ONCE I SAW OTHER KIDS RHYMING I STARTED WRITING RAPS AND PERFORMING THEM ON THE SCHOOL BUS FOR MY FRIENDS. IT BROUGHT ME A LITTLE POPULARITY AND SOME ATTENTION FROM THE GIRLS SO I WAS ALL IN. LOL

VALIDATED: WHICH ARTISTS INFLUENCED YOU AND WHAT IF ANYTHING DID YOU BORROW FROM THEM? 

JOHN JIGG$: JAY-Z FOR HIS CONFIDENCE AND WORDPLAY, NAS FOR HIS INSIGHT, BIGGIE’S CONFIDENCE, CADENCE AND WORDPLAY AND MOBB DEEP AND CNN FOR THEIR AUTHENTICITY. 

VALIDATED: IN 2013 YOU DEBUTED YOUR SOLO ALBUM “D.R.U.G.$ (DESTINED TO REACH UNDENIABLE GREATNES$)" WHICH RESULTED IN YOU RECEIVING TWO LONG ISLAND MUSIC AWARDS FOR BEST NEW ARTIST AND MIXTAPE OF THE YEAR. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR DEBUT SOLO ALBUM?

JOHN JIGG$: I WAS EXCITED AND RELIEVED AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE I HAD BEEN IN A GROUP "THE 495 BOYZ" FOR A LONG TIME AND GOING SOLO WAS SOMETHING I WASN’T SURE WOULD WORK. THE EARLY ACCOLADES JUST GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE TO KEEP GOING. 

VALIDATED: IN 2015 YOU RELEASED ANOTHER ALBUM TITLED “51631” WHICH PUT YOU ON THE RADAR OF INFAMOUS RECORDS (MOBB DEEP) AND 50 CENT. WITH THAT TYPE OF ATTENTION WHAT DID IT DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE AND MOTIVATION AS AN ARTIST? 

JOHN JIGG$: AGAIN, ALL OF THESE GREAT SITUATIONS WERE JUST REASSURANCE THAT I HAD CHOSEN THE RIGHT CAREER PATH. I’M AWARE THAT I’M BLESSED AND MOST ARTISTS DON’T GET THESE TYPE OF OPPORTUNITIES SO I ALWAYS GIVE IT MY ALL AND CONTINUE TO GRIND. 

VALIDATED: YOU'VE PERFORMED ALONGSIDE HIP-HOP GREATS LIKE 50 CENT, CAM'RON, ERICK SERMON, DMX, BLACK MOON, M.O.P. AND OTHERS. WHAT IF ANYTHING DID YOU LEARN FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES?

JOHN JIGG$: IT’S NO DIFFERENT FROM KOBE BRYANT WATCHING MICHAEL JORDAN'S GAME TAPES. THESE GUYS ARE SOME OF THE BEST TO EVER DO IT, SO I WATCH HOW THEY CONTROL THE CROWD AND KEEP THE ENERGY UP. TAKE LITTLE BITS AND PIECES FROM EACH OF THEM. IF YOU NEVER BEEN TO A JOHN JIGG$ LIVE SHOW THEN YOU’RE MISSING OUT! 

VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU'VE GROWN AS AN ARTIST FROM YOUR 2013 DEBUT PROJECT “D.R.U.G.$ (DESTINED TO REACH UNDENIABLE GREATNES$)" TO YOUR MOST RECENT EP "TEFLON JOHN"?

JOHN JIGG$: I FEEL I’VE GOTTEN 10 TIMES BETTER LYRICALLY BECAUSE I’M ALWAYS EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW FLOWS AND PUSHING MYSELF TO BE BETTER. SINCE 2013 I’VE ALSO FOUND MY SOUND AND GOTTEN BETTER AT CHOOSING PRODUCTION, WHICH IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. THE SUBJECT MATTER HAS ALSO BECOME WAY MORE DEVELOPED AND MATURE. 

VALIDATED: WHAT PUSHED YOU TO CREATE YOUR OWN RECORD LABEL "MXNXPXLY"?

JOHN JIGG$: MXNXPXLY MUSIC LLC CAME ABOUT THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR. I HAD DEALT WITH A COUPLE OF INDIE LABELS AND HAD GREAT EXPERIENCES BUT DIDN’T ALWAYS AGREE WITH HOW THINGS WERE HANDLED. I MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO ALWAYS BE IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT WHEN IT CAME TO MY CAREER. EVEN WHEN I SIGN DEALS NOW THEY ARE PARTNERSHIPS.

VALIDATED: TOURING IN THE STATES VERSUS INTERNATIONALLY, IS THERE A MAJOR DIFFERENCE, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES?

JOHN JIGG$: THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IS THE LOVE AND APPRECIATION THEY STILL HAVE FOR THE CULTURE. IT'S VERY SIMILAR TO NYC IN THE EARLY AND MID 90’S. THE CULTURE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL IN THE STREETS OF GERMANY, SWEDEN, THE NETHERLANDS AND MANY OTHER PLACES I’VE BEEN. GRAFFITI, DJ'ING, EMCEEING, BREAKDANCING AND KNOWLEDGE ARE ALL A BIG PART OF THE SCENE AND THE LIVE SHOWS ARE ELECTRIC. THE U.S. ALSO HAS SOME GREAT FANS AND SUPPORTERS, BUT I THINK WE TEND TO TAKE IT FOR GRANTED A LITTLE MORE BECAUSE WE’VE ALWAYS HAD ACCESS TO IT. 

VALIDATED: LET'S TALK HIP-HOP HISTORY FOR A MINUTE. HOW IMPORTANT IS LONG ISLAND TO HIP-HOP?

JOHN JIGG$: LONG ISLAND GOT THE BEST RAPPERS! LOL I’M #TEAMBIAS... RAKIM, EPMD, PUBLIC ENEMY, GRAND DADDY IU, BIZ MARKIE, BUSTA RHYMES, PRODIGY, METHOD MAN, KEITH MURRAY AND THE LIST GOES ON. LONG ISLAND HAS CONTRIBUTED JUST AS MUCH IF NOT MORE TO THE CULTURE THAN ANY OTHER REGION.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR RESPONSE TO THOSE WHO SAY NEW YORK HIP-HOP IS OVERRATED?

JOHN JIGG$: OPINIONS ARE OVERRATED. THEY TRIED TO COUNT US OUT BUT EVERYTHING IS COMING FULL CIRCLE. HIP HOP WAS SUPPOSED TO TRAVEL TO EVERY CORNER OF THE EARTH, BUT IT’S GOTTA COME HOME... THERE’S NO WAY AROUND IT!

VALIDATED: AS AN ARTIST AND LABEL OWNER, WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HIP-HOP IS?

JOHN JIGG$: MY BIGGEST RESPONSIBILITIES I FEEL IS TO SUPPLY THE FANS WITH WHAT THEY WANT, AND MIX THAT IN WITH WHAT THEY NEED. MEANING WHEN YOU GET A JOHN JIGG$ PROJECT YOU GONNA GET ALL THE COOL SUPERHERO S*** YOU WANT BUT THERE’S A MESSAGE IN EVERYTHING. 

VALIDATED: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM JOHN JIGG$ AND MXNXPXLY FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2019? 

JOHN JIGG$: LOOK OUT FOR THAT NEW JOHN JIGG$ SINGLE “COOL LIKE THAT (EVERYDAY)” RELEASING MAY 3RD ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS. THE “MXNXPXLY FAMILY” SINGLE IS ALSO OUT NOW ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS. MY SOLO ALBUM "JIGGANOMETRY" WILL BE OUT THIS SUMMER! 

VALIDATED: WHAT ARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS?

JOHN JIGG$: WEBSITES - JOHNJIGGSMUSIC.COM AND MXNXPXLY.COM

INSTAGRAM - @JOHN_JIGGS

TWITTER - @JIGGSTHEGREAT

FACEBOOK- JOHN JIGG$