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Preach Jacobs has been involved in the arts scene in South Carolina for quite sometime. Being a published author at age 15 and getting just as much acclaim for his photography and journalism as his music, Preach now comes full circle with his latest project “Maple St. Sessions” being released by London based R2 records this fall. Despite the accolades and attention he’s been getting working with some high profile artists in his past and near future, one thing is for certain: Preach acts as if it never happened.

“I’ve recently realized that I can’t be happy unless I’m working. I’m always writing or creating something because if I didn’t, I would be bored out of my mind.”

In the past few months, Preach has had much on his plate to stray away from boredom. He’s toured Japan back in April and plans on hitting up London this November in support of the new project “Maple St. Sessions.” An eight-song ep that is full of soul, maturity, happiness, heartbreak and hope.

On the song “Falling,” Preach addresses the tensions of love describing it as “learning to fly while you’re falling.” A song that very easily could end with love stinks, but Preach takes a different approach of acknowledging that shit happens, but moves forward anyway (with a Dilla dedication at the end that true heads will recognize).

“I believe that one of the worst things you can do in this type of business is to half-assed about anything. There was a small part in the movie ‘Amistad’ where Mathew McConaughey’s character was trying to tell Djimon Hounsou’ character that he ‘meant’ to do something. And the translator told him that there isn’t a way to translate the word meant in that language, either you do something or you don’t. My bank account sucks ass and yet I found a way to go to Japan. I know things get scary, but I’ve always told myself to not let the possibility of failure to dominate the hopes of success. You have to be that way. I don’t have a click or a crew to blow my head up all the time, so you have to be self motivated. If you’re not, fuck it, stop the music or whatever your passion maybe and go get a regular 9 to 5.”

“Maple St. Sessions” is another example of Preach going overseas to work with producers, with him collaborating with U.K. producer Denz. Denz’s style of production compliments Preach’s arrangements with his soulful-boom-bap sensibilities showing growth in Preach’s work since his debut album “Garveyism.”

Preach also recruited old time collaborator Clokwork for two of the ep’s cuts including “Oh Yes,” an afro-beat masterpiece that involves call and response and energy that a Fela show in the 70s might offer.

The song is the perfect opener for the ep, as Preach tends to do something that rappers seem to avoid these days: Have fun.

“I remember listening to that J.Period mixtape he did with all the Q-Tip music, and Tip said some great shit. He was talking about how Tribe’s music will always be important and people will gravitate to it because they were always honest and had fun. I remember growing up and seeing the ‘Buddy’ video and wishing that I could just hang with those< dudes. I love to use the music to speak out against injustices and frustrations but at the end of the day, if I don’t love doing this, then why am I torturing myself? Why spend all this money on pressing up cds, going to different cities and sleeping on people’s couches. There has to be a love for it, and for the people that don’t have it,
they’ll leave alone quick. I want to be in this for the long run.”

Other songs like the “Cool Out Remix” (original version is off of “Garveyism” produced by Nicolay) done by Denz is another ode to the obvious jazz-theme surrounding the record. Also, “Forest Whitaker” shows Preach at his most aggressive simply rapping. But I wonder, why call the song “Forest Whitaker”?

“What I love about that song, or just the ep in general is that it was organic. Denz and I didn’t really think about putting together a project, we were just working on music. Casually doing it, and I think that brings the best foot forward. When he sent me the “Forest Whitaker” beat I just felt like rhyming. Nothing about fight the power or on some mellow shit that people usually expect from me, I just wanted to rhyme. I mean, can a nigga have both a Tribe record and a M.O.P. record in their collection? I just thought the title would just be cool calling it ‘Forest Whitaker’ as if to say that rappers are all actors. If you’re going to be an actor, be a good one. Forest is that dude. I was just having fun and I think you can hear it on the record.”

In today’s musical climate it’s hard to be an emcee. The game is over saturated not to mention the digital age is killing major labels left and right. So, it must be a blessing that Preach isn’t just a rapper but a journalist, photographer and even is at the helm of his own comic strip published worldwide. Yet, none of this seems to effect Preach’s demeanor who doesn’t see the glass as half-full.

“There’s tons of stuff that I want to do. I just want to make a living out of what makes me happy. Something that I believe we’re suppose to do. I want my music to reflect what I do, and how I am. I don’t want to just be an emcee but I want people to feel it worthy to invest time and energy into whatever I do. My site isn’t a site for just my music, it’s full of shit I think is dope, articles and interview I do with other artists and more. Nowadays you have to be that way. People aren’t investing in a cd, they’re investing in you as a person. And people respond to what that are familiar with. I’m just like them.”