“That was actually an accident. I just ad libbed it when I recorded “25/8″ and then started saying it at live shows and it caught on. It’s definitely become a part of my brand. And I love it because, when I came to OKC, one of my main intentions was to make sure everyone who heard me knew where I came from. Lawton is everything to me.” – Jacobi Ryan on his tagline “My Name is Fresh, I’m From Lawton”
Lawton, Oklahoma native and hip hop artist Jacobi Ryan (formerly Fresh but he’ll still respond to that name too) recently dropped his much anticipated EP “Regardless” on 12/28 which set the foundation for what he has in store for fans in the new year. Or, as Jacobi likes to put it “Issa Introduction” as he has previously put out mixtapes and other projects over the years – “Retros & XOs”, “Retros & XOs 2”, and “Empty Venues”, while sharpening his craft and moving towards his purpose and the person that he wants to be. The “Regardless” EP is now available on all streaming platforms but in the meantime, enjoy “part deux” of this conventional Q & A with Jacobi Ryan right here on The Greener Side of Hip Hop (click here for part one of the interview) … enjoy!
Come what may…
Q: Previously, you spoke on how the OKC hip hop scene has influenced you but you are originally from Lawton (now residing in OKC). How has the Lawton, Oklahoma hip hop scene influenced you and your music?
A: Definitely. Without Lawton I’m nothing. Coming up in Lawton we didn’t really have a Hip Hop scene. Nobody did live shows, nobody really showed love to the cats making music, there were no venues for the artists to perform or people to show support for those artists – the radio station held us down though. With that being said, Lawton has influenced me in so many ways. But specifically it helped me understand I don’t need anyone to believe in me but me. We didn’t really have anyone help build us up or prepare us. I talk to homies in OKC and they mention doing shows in high school and having a culture built around it back then. We didn’t have that. Most we had was freestyling at lunch and I never did that because I was nervous and I don’t like to freestyle. I’m a writer. Guess I learned that thanks to Lawton’s scene too. Lol Another thing was that I knew I needed to find my own voice. A lot of music I heard in Lawton sounded like what was hot at the time. We had a few cats pop up here and there that had really original sounds that we embraced and loved – those are Lawton legends to this day in my eyes. I think also the fact that Lawton got overlooked so much in everything from music to sports in Oklahoma really had an impact on me with this chip on my shoulder. We always felt like we were just as good, better and capable as anybody else.
Q: What artists have you worked with from your hometown? And will fans hear from them also in 2019 when you drop your EP and singles?
A: My little brother – that’s about it. There are a couple artists from Lawton I’ll be working with definitely. Possibly 2019.
Q: Now let’s talk about what’s next for Jacobi Ryan You recently dropped your latest project on 12/28 entitled “Regardless”. Tell us more about the EP and the exciting plans you have for 2019?
A: Yes ma’am… In 2014 my plan was to not drop content again until people were asking for it. That happened in 2016. so between 2014 and now, a lot has happened. A looooooot. And this was my theme throughout it all. Regardless of the bullshit, I know my purpose and I know what I need to be doing while I’m here. I talk about that a lil bit on this project. And, the Formerly Fresh/52 in 365 campaign will talk about a lot of it. All of this is strategic. I went through a lot, stabilized things for myself, then sought to find a way to express myself in these experiences and maximize how I told the story. I’m always experimenting and trying new things to figure things out. This project is a small piece in the plan – Issa an introduction. Issa a greeting so to say.
I recorded this back in 2014. It’s made up of 4 songs that I didn’t create with the intent of an EP but it worked. [w] produced all 4 songs. He’s a genius and working with him has been hella dope. I released the EP to my mailing list earlier this year and decided it’d be a good one to publicly release by end of the year to get 2019 started on the right foot. So, the “Regardless” EP dropped on 12/28 and starting next week I’m releasing a new song every week for all of 2019. Along with a couple projects that we’ll talk about later. But this whole year is really about taking it to the next level for me. I’ve put in a lot of work and a lot more of my focus is on scaling my brand. Got some mercy coming soon too. I’m hype.
Q: How is this project different from some of your earlier work?
A: This is a much more mature artist. I’ve never felt like more of an artist than I do now. Although written and recorded a couple years ago, I like where I was on these songs. Compared to my last projects they were more strategic and concentrated. This one not as much. Those other projects will probably be scrubbed off the internet by January 1st.
Q: I love the concept of “Regardless” and all 4 tracks on the EP. I’m asking for a friend – Will fans get treated to a video to “Passenger Side”? “My friend” thought that track in particular resonated visually with the concept of the EP in the most simplistic way… a temporary setback, but you kept it movin’ and still had a “Bugatti” in your driveway!!
A: Man, that’s love. I’m sure we’ll do a video to some joints off “Regardless”. Right now, my focus is in the infrastructure and analyzing results of the content but videos will definitely be in the mix soon. I think that track resonates visually as well.
Q: You are an emcee, a graphic artist, a clothing designer (BombsAndCombs), and a financial adviser. How are you influencing others to also to create opportunities for themselves?
A: IDK to be honest. I’m just out here tryna’ fight my fears and follow my purpose wherever that takes me. Hopefully, it inspires people to do the same. I’m hoping I can expand on all my endeavors to the point where I can start hiring people and putting them on. Outside of that, I have recently transitioned from financial adviser and I’m back in the employed field. However, I’ve started a brand called Create and Own based on the art of business and financial literacy where I’ll be giving out free game I learned in my 2 years as a financial adviser and creating content that helps educate in a way that resonates and ain’t corny. That starts in 2019 too.
Now for a few off the cuff questions…
Q: Regarding today’s rap beefs – Do you pick sides or is it just entertainment or do you feel emcees just need to get along?
A: I don’t get involved, it ain’t really my business. I’m not one that sees beef as a requirement in Hip Hop. But I also understand SOME beef. A lot of this shit be corny but sometimes there’s real issues that need to be handled and if they don’t it can get there. I personally could never justify spending time out of my life to talk about another man. That’s just a waste of time for me. If not about protecting loved ones I don’t really see the point in beef. I understand it. Bc I used to not know myself too. And a lot of beef can be rooted in that. Identity and insecurity issues. I know my purpose. I know who I am. I be chillin yo’.
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
A: Probably my pops. I just always looked up to him as an example and got my first look at what a man should be by him. He’s helped me in a lot of ways. Probably a lot of ways I don’t even realize yet. It always seems to work that way. Him and Bob Marley. Bob has tremendously impacted my life since I discovered him and his un-Americanized glory back in 2013.
Q: Who are your top 2 (not 5) emcees?
A: Hov & Black Thought.
Q: If you were stranded in an island with ONE female emcee, who would be and why? Like who do you feel you’d vibe with the most?
A: Tink. Her shit is craaaaazy. I’d just wanna sit back, listen and learn yo’. She go in from what I’ve heard.
Q: “TGSofHH Inquirer” wants to know… Is there one thing you DON’T want fans to know about you? LOL!
A: Lmaoooooo of course, I’m a private person. But I’m sure as we continue to grow our relationship they’ll learn more intimate things about the kid.
Alright, last question…
Q: Do you want to give a special shout outs to your friends, family, fans, haters – they need love too?
A: Haha! definitely. I won’t name names because I’m guaranteed to miss someone and the last thing I wanna do is leave out people who have had my back. I really appreciate everybody’s support yo’. Whether the love is love or hate I appreciate it. It’s all love from this side.
And it’s all love from The Greener Side of Hip Hop too!
If you don’t see him, you gotta come see about him. Jacobi Ryan. If not, you know what it is – #RegardlessEP.
Photo Credit: Beechum Photography