Preach Jacobs interview @ Black Sheep Magazine
Interview w/ Black Sheep Magazine “Preach On” By Daniella Robbins
East coast native Preach Jacobs is an MC/ journalist hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, who (for me) re-ignites the 90s so-called lost genre of epic hip hop – a sound true to rhyming and timeless instrumental transportation. With the new album ‘Maple St. Sessions’ as evidence, he oozes influences from the likes of J Dilla and Common, and backs his music portfolio with support from the UK’s very own DJs Chris Phillips and Spin Doctor and, now us Black Sheep ambassadors.
What is your birth name? And how did you come to title yourself as Preach Jacobs? What does it mean to you?
My real name is Dherick Jacobs and the nickname ‘Preach’ came along at a young age. I read all the time. When I was around 8 or 9, my mother and I would go to the library and I would always go to the children’s section, until I got bored and went to the adult area with my mom. That’s when I picked up ‘Black Boy’ by Richard Wright and got into heavy reading by authors like Langston Hughes, Malcolm and Marcus Garvey. It was a wrap after that.
I would tag your music as epic hip hop… to those who are yet to give your album a listen, just give Black Sheep a recap on the Maple St. Sessions.
Denz and I are big jazz fans and I love all the Blue Note records from back in the day. So the idea for the title came from seeing these jazz records and if they played at 52nd Street, it would be the ’52nd Street Sessions’ or something. I live on Maple Street and all of my work starts there in my home. That’s why I put my spot in the ‘Falling’ video because that’s where everything begins and ends. So, it’s tastes of afro – beat, soul, funk and boom – bap music. I loved making the record because there wasn’t any pressure.
How would you describe the production sound of Denz? Does it differ much to US producers, and what attracted you to working with a European based producer?
Denz has a production style that I believe reflects what’s in my iPod. There’s a difference between finding people in hip-hop that make beats versus a producer. A beatmaker more than likely only listens to a limited amount of music where a producer just loves everything and they put it into the product. So, I’m a fan of everything from jazz, afro – beat, soul, hip-hop, funk etc. And Denz is the same way.
You’re signed to R2, a UK-based label. Is it a struggle to get recognised by US labels?
I’ve spoken to majors and indies in the states and I think there’s a little bit of over – saturation of rappers. Remember that Chappelle show skit where black folks got their reparation money and then all of a sudden there were like a million new record labels that popped up? That’s kind of how I feel. But I do believe that there’s an advantage of having a home – base in the states while still having a voice overseas. I believe it’s difficult to get noticed because everyone is putting out music, but that also means that we as artists have to work harder and prove to the public that the products we’re putting out is worthy of their time. Worthy of their purchase, illegal download or burning onto a disc. I take that task very seriously.
With a history as a journalist yourself, what are your thoughts on the new media platforms of on-line magazines and old school prints such as VIBE dying out?
I write for over a dozen publications and it’s kind of the same thing across the board. Same as with the music, people aren’t buying physical copies anymore they’re looking online or further more; there are tons of other options in getting your news. VIBE closing their doors was such a blow to the urban music scene and unfortunately it may not be the last publication that closes its doors.
During your journalism years, which artist has stunned you the most and why?
I guess some stuff I can’t talk about, since you never know who’s reading, but I would say that I’m most stunned by how normal people are. It’s funny because the people that don’t really have a name or accolades are usually the a**holes and the ones that have something to brag about, are cooler than a fan. I think the most humbling was meeting Ms. Yancey (Dilla’s mom) at an event honouring Dilla this past year. Before I’m a journalist, I’m a fan.
The Eastcoast has given birth to many emcees, who do you highly rate? Old or new?
From South Carolina (where I’m from) and the only southern artists we listened to were Outkast, UGK and probably Scarface. However, that’s a small fraction compared to the amount of artists from New York, Philly and the West Coast.
Having already performed along top mainstream billboard hitters such as 50 Cent and Nelly, how do you see your career progressing?
My goal is to stay away from the starving – artist – depression – syndrome and do this as a career and for the past year, I’ve been doing it. You have to have a lot of self motivation. Majority of the time it’s just you, a beat, a pen and paper. It’s easy to get discouraged especially when the fridge is empty. Putting out honest music and having people respond to it is a blessing and that gives me hope. The key is after every achievement, celebrate it, and then forget about it. Always work from that pure space and let the music be what it is.
What can Black Sheep expect from Preach in 2010?
This year, I’m working on a few projects with Marc Mac of 4hero, DJ Vadim, Katrah – Quey and I have a project titled ‘Rebel Radio’ that’s coming soon, plus an EP I’m doing with a production team (that includes my brother) called Helium Music. And of course, shows and shows trying to keep it fresh for everyone. I just want to solidify my career and this year is off to great start.
Follow Jacobs Music and Blog entries at: http://www.preachjacobs.com