Cover Story: Mission: Accomplished

Multi-hyphenate Jahson at the controls

Sean Hughes/photopresse.com


Dude, stop punching me, you're fuckin' up my autofocus. Jahson is the reigning brain cell behind Mission Control Records.v



Every new Hip Hop artist swears they're doing something different from the rest. Conversations with an emerging Hip Hop artist tend to follow a pattern something like this: "Yo, me and my crew gon' blow this shit up, knowhutumsayin'? We doin' the damn thang, knowhutumsayin'? We comin' wit sumthin' new. It's funky. It's fresh. Knowhutumsayin'? Y'know we different an' shit from the rest of what's out here, knowwhutumsayin'?"

These declarations of originality equate to sayin' "Yaknowwhutumsayin'?" after every statement, son.

But then Jahson, producer/DJ/sometimes MC, embodies the rare emerging Hip Hop artist who makes the statement and actually backs it up with fresh beats, interesting mixes and fluid lyrics. The bonus track is that he's also the CEO of Mission Control Records, his own label.

After a bad record deal with his former group, MOOD, Jahson struck out on his own to create the company. The label has released several artists who have achieved notoriety in the underground Hip Hop scene.

In July 2003, Jahson released his own debut solo album, The Resistance, available in local independent record shops like Everybody's and Shake It Records and at www.missioncontrolrecords.com.

"The market is just saturated with corny shit," he says. "Ere'body think just 'cause they got a computer they can just put out a record. You gotta make music, y'know? It's a science."

Working previously with such Hip Hop notables as Killah Priest, Raw-N-Tellect and Talib Kweli — or "family," as he refers to Kweli with fist on heart — Jahson's range of beats are as diverse as the genres of music that inspired him.

"I listen to ere'thang — Jazz, Rock, Soul, Funk," he says. "When I was younger, I was close minded to different music. But now that I'm older, I can appreciate this stuff."

As CEO of the company, he also has to keep track of the dirty side of the industry.

"It's a bottom-line business, he says. "If you ain't producin' hits, then you ain't a priority."

He learned this lesson all too well when he had to fight to be released from a contract with his former record label, TVT Records. According to Jahson, the company has a history of shady practices with record deals.

It's this aspect of the business he struggles with. Today's scene is rife with potential for exploitation.

"I saw on VH-1 where they said back in the day it was an insult to do a commercial. Nowadays, it seems like you almost gotta do that shit to keep your career going," he says.

But for him, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. As the CEO with creative licensing, Jahson is in the position to develop every aspect of his music from the boards to the beats.

The label presses its own vinyl. It has people who generate the graphics for each CD cover. Jahson and his PR Manager, Justin Hugh, will actually shop their music around the country.

To Jahson, Hip Hop is a way of life, not just a paycheck. While the game is saturated with superficial lyrics that extol the virtues of bling-bling bullshit, he refuses to fall victim to it.

"Many artists aren't as paid as you think," he says. "They just look like they are, but whatever. I'm not knockin' them, I just know what I gotta do. I focus on my seeds, my family and my music.

"I just try to make music that I like. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about."



For a review of The Resistance and other local Hip Hop releases, go to Mike Breen's A Fistful of Hollas.

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