” Just another day, Just another dollar”, blast from my Walkman headphones. The artist is Kage and the year is 1994. The black on white cover with a picture of him leaning up against what seemed to be another abandoned property that Jackson was sprinkled with, is vivid to the mind. The red and black font caught my eye as a kid. This was my first introduction to gangster rap and though I had always listened to hip hop, gangster rap was a whole new experience for me. Stealing tapes as a youth was a full blown hobby by the time I ran across Kage. All of the music other than what I was allowed to listen to came from taking tapes. Waiting for the bus as a kid I would examine the prize of my crimes during the ride to school. While other were sleep and having conversations. I would have my ear phones on dissecting the lyrics from the MC I was blessed to evaluate during my hour and thirty minute drive. Most of the time after I evaluated the tape I would dub it and return it to the owner before being found out about. My older cousin was my victim and Kage was the artist that changed my whole entire look on hip hop. Why you ask? When I looked at the back of his cassette it had a local 601 number for booking. Kage was the first MC I had ever heard from Jackson, MS. Me being from Raymond a small town outside of Jackson it fascinated me to know we had artist. The rhythmic groove and the dope sample of a female repeating in the background “oooohhhh” captured my ears instantly making me a fan. His story telling about the struggles of robbery, street life, and jail was new to my young ears and grabbed my attention. Leaving me in a fiend state for another tape from the local voices.
I instantly began searching for new local artist after being exposed to Kage. In 1996 I ran across a royal purple tape cover with Boo on the front and Boss Player in black and gold writing. Birds Fly South for the Winter was a classic combination of catchy melodies and sharp wordplay. Tracks like “Surrounded By Playaz” and “The Only Thing Promised” made Boo a new favorite in my tape deck. Mississippi Mafia’s “Another Mississippi Murder” and Wood Street Playaz “Turning and Burning” albums changed the sound of Jackson artist for me. These country rap tunes as Pimp C would call them were laced with social and lyrical content. “Living 4 the $” if examined shows the mind frame of a young black man in the late 90’s . Just like the first rap group The Renegades “Mind On A Rampage” showed the mind frame in ’93. 601 Playaz, Resse and Bigelow, Queen Boyz, Crooked Lettaz, Mellow T, Jew Man, Wildlife Society, Skipp Coon, ANBOS, Lil C, and Children of the Cornbread all have came out and left their mark in the Jackson rap culture since I was a kid.
Many people are rapping these days. Some of it sounds good and some of it not so good to me. I hear a lot of new rappers from Jackson doing their thing. I still enjoy listening to local artist. But I’m still waiting on the next Kage. That one artist that I will put my headphones on and feel that old feeling I felt when I was a youth waiting at the bus stop. That feeling of pride. That feeling that says “Straight Outta Jackson”.