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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kev Choice on The Jacka: "He Was One of the Dons of Our Scene"

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 9:31 AM

The Jacka, 1977-2015
  • The Jacka, 1977-2015

[Ed. note: We'll be reaching out to the Bay Area hip-hop community to hear stories about The Jacka following the MC's tragic death last night following a shooting in Oakland. Here's the Town's own jazz/hip-hop impresario, Kev Choice — who told us "This is going to hurt for a minute."]

To say that The Jacka was revered in the Bay Area would be an understatement. In his over 15 years on the scene, he was one of the most prolific MCs in our region. He also had the rare ability to make music derived from street sensibilities but with a contemplative, reflective, and inspirational message that provoked aspirations beyond the street mentality. His smooth and melodic flow was as recognizable and distinctive as any in Bay Area hip-hop history. His collaborations with other artists — from Freeway, to Andre Nickitina, to Zion I, to countless up-and-coming artists local and nationwide — showed the depth and broad reach of his lyrical ability, which can not be overlooked.

He was an extremely talented songwriter and lyricist and had the capacity to make street anthems and radio successful hits throughout his illustrious career. The amplitude of his loss has similar inclinations to the loss of Tupac and Mac Dre in the Bay Area. He was one of the dons on our scene. He had a way of genuinely connecting to every person he met and leaving a everlasting impression.

My closest personal experience with The Jacka was a month-long tour in 2009, where I was the opening act and keyboardist for Zion I and The Jacka was the main opener. We toured up all over Cali, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, and Montana. What stood out to me the most was how down to earth he was, how every night he killed it on stage, and how much respect he garnered in every city. His status and credibility literally invoked the red carpet treatment in every town we set foot in. He was definitely a star outside of the Bay Area. He also had a deep appreciation of music and on a couple of occasions, he would arrive early and watch my opening set — which, coming from someone of his status, was a huge compliment to me and was very inspiring. He had a warmth, a presence, similar to a mob boss — but the type of boss who made everyone in the room feel part of the crew with a comforting and welcoming charisma.

A proud father, Muslim, and the pride of Pittsburg, California. The phrase "It's always the good ones who have to die" is eerily appropriate in this situation. The Jacka was a good dude, one of the realest. RIP Jacka. 

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Kev Choice


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