In the ever-changing world of the music business, perseverance is possibly the most important quality an artist can possess. Rob Jackson has met with a variety of career changes that have challenged him in ways he never thought possible, and has emerged in top form in a prime situation. While many artists start out independently and vie for a shot at a major deal, Rob Jackson got his big break at Kay Gee’s Divine Mill and Arista Records, and is now working with one of the largest independent labels in the country, Atlanta-based Blackout Music.
Rob Jackson recently released the first single, “Put Ya Pimpin Down”, from his upcoming album The Rob Report. Additionally, Rob is circulating a new mixtape entitled Highway Robbery Volume I, which is a double-disc release of exclusives, remixes and freestyles, hosted by DJ Shakim “The Franchise” of the Heavy Hitters and Superfriends DJ crews. The full-length album will drop in September 2005, and Rob will be traveling throughout the Summer in support of the project.
Raised in Kentucky, Rob was affected by all forms of music as a child. He began writing songs, and although there was no real outlet for his music from a business standpoint, he enjoyed the creative expression. Rob explains that his versatile “Mid-South” rhyme style stems from the range of influences he was exposed to early on. “Growing up in Kentucky is different because it’s not really the deep South, Midwest or East Coast - it’s right in the middle,” he says. “We used to get everything. We had the East coast sh*t, the down South sh*t before anybody else. Just getting all that different type of music kind of influenced me to rap a certain way, but I listen to everything for influences, artists like Sade and Michael Jackson, since I was a kid.
After high school, Rob went on to play Division 1 football on a scholarship at the University Of Miami at Ohio. Unfortunately things did not work out for him in his collegiate endeavors, and he moved on to pursue his true dream - a career in rap music. After a friend from college shopped Rob’s demo up North, a couple of meetings later Rob was soon linked with one of the most impressive young producers at the time, Kay Gee of Naughty By Nature, who was running his own Divine Mill label. In 2001, Kay Gee brought Rob Jackson to L.A. Reid over at Arista, and L.A. offered the budding emcee a deal.
Rob released the song “Boom Boom Boom”, which featured emcee Lady May on the popular remix, and was geared up to release his debut album on Arista. Unfortunately, the project never came out, and Rob’s relationship with Arista ended when they released Kay Gee’s contract. Due to the way paperwork was drawn, Rob had to exit with Kay Gee. Fortunately, during his stint with Arista Rob was able to collaborate with Boyz II Men for their Full Circle album, and with UGK for their Side Hustles album.
After the deal went south, Rob stayed in New Jersey for a while, but ultimately returned to Kentucky in 2003 to take a break from the industry and collect his thoughts. Eventually he moved to Atlanta to pursue some new opportunities, and met Universal recording artist Fiona Simone, who introduced him to her friends at the independent label Blackout Music. After the initial meeting, Rob signed on with Blackout to continue on his path of recording a debut album. “It’s great for me to be on Blackout, because I’ve never been in a situation with this strong of a team,” says Rob. “With the majors it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but here the system is a like a major label set up just for you. You get a lot of attention, you get whatever you need, and you can work with whoever you want to work with - it’s a great situation.”
Rob’s new single “Put Your Pimpin Down” was produced by up and coming Atlanta beatmaker Fame. “It was just a fun record,” Rob explains. “I had been through a lot, and I was doing a lot of serious records. The label wanted me to have some fun on a record, show that side of me and I did it and it came out hot. Plus I don’t do too bad with women.”
While his new Highway Robbery Volume I mixtape is geared for the streets, Rob contends that his album, The Rob Report, is going to reflect upon the many changes he’s gone through in his life. “Whatever the beat inspires me to say, I try to capture that moment,” he says. “The music is really about my experiences and the experiences of people around me. I’m trying to touch on things that aren’t really out there right now, and pick up the slack.”
Rob’s flow is a direct reflection of his laid back approach with that intensity burning right beneath the surface. A blend of sounds, Rob describes his universally appealing style as “Mid-South”. “After hearing my album I want people to feel like I’m accomplished, and I care about what the music sounds like. I want to bring the artistry back to that Quincy Jones era, where we’re really producing and making good quality music.” Read more on Last.fm
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