Published on August 26th, 2023 | by Dr. Jerry Doby0
Shug Jackson: The Artistic Odyssey
Former Def Jam rapper and actor Shug Jackson emerges from a dynamic past, including hits like “Western Hills Funk.” After a three-year hiatus, he resurfaced with a fervor, blending music and film. His recent collaboration with Danny Trejo and Lee Majors in the Daniel Zirilli-directed film “Renegades” signifies his versatile prowess. Shug also helped compose the theme song for the film as well as performing in the promotional trailer for the film appearing alongside the headliners.
Shug recently released a new reflective single entitled “My Life”, an introspective celebration of life.
A Bit of Backstory
Shug Jackson, is a multi-faceted artist – rapper, actor, and entrepreneur. Formerly with Def Jam Records, he’s now independent with Nightstalker Entertainment/Kush Family Records. From Tucson, he’s shared stages with Ice Cube, LL Cool J, and more. Collaborator Young D led him to Def Jam’s Russell Simmons. Shug’s latest single “My Life” precedes the 2023 album “The TakeOva.” With a history of legendary stage presence, his star is again on the rise.
We got Shug to weigh in on the journey, taking time to recoup mentally and regain direction and focus and working with icons in this triumphant return to center stage.
Def Jam Days: Shaping the Path
Signing to Def Jam in 1991 was a dream come true, a childhood dream that came to fruition. My experience with the label was great at times and others not so great, but I learned and that was valuable. The success didn’t necessarily come through record sales back then, but more from growing as an artist and person. I took those valuable lessons and it’s made me who I am today.
The Creative Resurgence: From Hiatus to Triumph
I stepped away from the industry for quite some time, and I believe that’s the best thing I’ve done so far. Being away from it gave me a whole new perspective and I got a chance to really study some of the greats in the business and learn more about longevity. Being away also made me hungrier for success than I’ve ever been, I knew that I had what it takes to reach #1 in this industry. Meeting this older gentleman along the hiatus, really opened my eyes and soul after he told me that this world needs my voice. That’s all I needed to hear.
Hits That Resonate: Behind “Western Hills Funk” and “86 the Madness”
86 The Madness came from me wanting to take people inside the mind of a maniac, a person who doesn’t care about anything, and give them a glimpse of that. 86 is a street term, meaning to get rid of. In the song, the hook says “Get the funk outta my face, get the funk out my face” meaning get the madness out of my head. Western Hills Funk was inspired by the neighborhood I grew up in on the south side of Tucson Arizona and just a funk, funky track.
The Fusion of Art and Film: “Renegades” Cameo and Theme Song
Renegades came along from a good friend of mine, Daniel Zirilli who directed the movie and has always told me that I should be in movies. The experience was amazing, challenging and different from making records, which I love. I see both music and movies as a huge part of my future and both I want to be great at.
Adapting to the Times: Staying True Yet Relevant
I’ve adapted to today’s audience from the standpoint of talking about things that are relevant in today’s world. Where I won’t bend though is me talking about kiddy stuff, that won’t happen, I make music for the streets and real-life stuff, which will be relevant even after I’m gone. The streets and real life have no expiration date.
“My Life”: Unveiling the Inspiration
My new single “My Life”, is a song talking about actual events that I went through years ago, getting stabbed in my chest less than a half inch from my heart and dying on the operating table. Two months later, I was in a car accident that fractured my neck in three places, just a song that will hit home with many, plus it has that old-school vibe to it.
Digital Age Evolution: Empowering the Artist
Streaming platforms has really helped us artist a lot, being more in control of your music and creativity is a great thing. I harness the platforms by making sure that my music is on every one of them. Promoting the music, and the brand is vital to any artist’s success and the platforms make it easy for us to achieve that.
Digital Connection: The World of Shug Jackson
The website is something that fans can go into and get a look inside of the artist’s world so to speak. Keeping fresh content and even unreleased songs on the website is something I’ve found that fans really like and look forward to.
Memorable Collaborations: Shaping the Craft
Collaborating with Big Hutch from the legendary rap group “Above The Law” has been one of my most memorable and favorite collaborations that I’ve done thus far. His knowledge and his energy in the studio is amazing and very infectious. His being around Dr. Dre for so many years and the great Eazy E is valuable and I definitely learned a lot from him as we created the song titled “Pay Attention”.
The Future Unveiled: Shug Jackson’s Journey Continues
Fans can anticipate a full album, one that’s going to bring some substance back to the rap game and give the audience something they can feel. A new movie early next year and I’m sure many more great collaborations as well. My Journey Continues!
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