City of Saginaw, Michigan
Jeremy "J-Jack" Jackson
From Producers like Gee Pierce, who produced for Artists like MC Breed, Top Authority, The Dayton Family, Madam Dane and more including Prozak's track "Why" which featured Tech N9ne and Twista. LeRoy McMath, owner of Power Entertainment Group, who has numerous credits and accomplishments. ranging from the S'Kool Girlz & The Boogie, to B.A.D., M.C. Breed, Gangsta Pat, Freak Nasty with "Da Dip" to Spice 1 and on and on. To current Platinum Producers like Sonny Digital who has produced for numerous artists like Travis Scott, as well as wrote and produced songs like 50 Cent and Chris Brown's "I'm the Man" and more, to RushDee Williams who has platinum credits and worked with numerous Artists in the industry from Fabolous, Lil Wayne to the Late Great Nipsey Hussle. All the way to an Up and coming Artist like Aye Mack, that has a Living Legend in Hop Hop as in Fat Joe, hosting his mixtape, as well as Compton California native "The Game" supporting his music. Shi Wade, an up and coming artist who was featured and spoke highly of by the Late Great M03, to Corey Dollaz who just wrapped up a few things with Zaytoven, been featured in Say CheeseTV and more, Max Hilli who has been featured on "This is 50" website and MBK Big Homie to Co Owner Kuddles Hopkins of the Brand "Wealthy" that is seen in 25% or more of Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and more Artist's Music videos, as well as Photographer, Promoter Billy "Zookie" Ware or just "Mr. Ware", who covers plenty of Artists like Kash Doll to influencers like Ariana "Ari" Fletcher. Also, Artist signed to Eminem's
Shady Publishing like Astray. Oh, there's more like An Artist signed to Tech Nine's "Strange Music Inc.", whose name is Prozak. Sire who was featured on Jermaine Dupri's "The Rap Game" and also who famously gave Da Brat some "Bars." as well as his Up and Coming Younger Brother, Dollaz. To Seiairah Page, who has videos of her music that has Millions of views, with a fanbase spanning many Cities and States. From DJ's like DJ Campus Legend who is signed to Rollin' Records and who also DJ's for Saginaw born, Sonny Digital. As well as Ger'Quia Abner of Tag Designs, a Graphic Designer who has done numerous Logos, Album Cover's and Graphics for Many Artists most notably Hopsin., and the names continue to grow.
That would be a worthy list of Artist for any Big City. But
that is just a growing amount of Artist and Creatives, that are coming from a small city. Saginaw, Michigan. When You say, you are from Michigan, people seem to automatically think... Detroit. Their second guess, most likely would be Flint. And that's understandable. Detroit is a Legendary city, where it is known for more then just music. Of Course, what better way to promote the city to the World then the... "Detroit Pistons", "Detroit Tigers", "Detroit Red Wings", and "Detroit Lions". Well, ok. Yea, we could have left the Detroit Lions out of this but I'm a Fan. And Barry Sanders or Megatron is all you have to say and most of the Nation will automatically have a vision of Detroit.
Yet, Saginaw doesn't have the same marketability or luxury of Professional Sports team. They go hand and hand, just ask Detroit Artist Big Sean. But on one hand, Saginaw does have Sports figures like Darvin Ham, Jason Richardson, Monty Brown, Tory Humphrey, Anthony Roberson, Terrence Roberson, Tory Jackson, Draymond Green, LaMarr Woodley, Stuart Schweigart, Legendary Charles Rogers and MORE!! You can even count Serena Williams, as she was born in Saginaw, as well as Kenyon Martin, also born in Saginaw.
That's a pretty fair list of Creatives and Sports figures, that doesn't even list Actors or Actresses from Saginaw, like S. Epatha Merkerson, Sophina Brown, Dwayne Adway or even LJ Reynolds of the Legendary "Dramatics".
So, why is Saginaw not as appreciated or mentioned along with let's just say, in Michigan, a Detroit or even Flint?? Some may say because those cities stick together and Salute each other's accomplishments or there is way more of a media push. Or because Flint had MC Breed or The Dayton Family who reached National levels of success. Fair enough. Shoutout to Detroit and Flint.
But as far as Saginaw, first, we reached out to Producer James Flowers of "Ghetto Records" who were releasing around the late 90's to early 2000's. The reason we did is because, he also produced tracks for my Group, Double M back in the early 2000's. So we witnessed first hand, a lot of the Unity and the fact that MANY Groups and Artists from the 90's to early 2000's were in and out of Ghetto Records for years. They were able to put out G-Wreck Cartel, which featured around 19 GROUPS. Many Artists collabed or socialized and planned in their studio for years.
How was the Saginaw Hip Hop/rap scene before Ghetto Records became a reality.
Before we started Ghetto Records the scene was still live. I felt it was a bit scattered and could've been a bit more tightened down. But back in high school, V. Billingsley a.k.a V. Sinizter and I had started a family of artist mainly of rappers from Saginaw High. We had a strong roster of artists that formed the U.M.F (Underground Mob Family). That was probably my first time organizing artists and actually seeing who was hot at the time. A lot of those same artists were the ones that ended up on Ghetto Records.
What Artists did you see or grow up on, that were Saginaw Artists.
When I started really paying attention to the local artist, I listened to Mack The Jacka. And since that's V. Sinizter's brother and we had known each other for years, that connection was there. Also, Dat Nigga Bone. He was actually still at The High my first year there. Bone was my favorite rapper back then. I felt like his delivery was so smooth. N.O.T.P was doing their thing around that time. I remember riding the bus home from school and my man Stan Johnson used to ride the same bus. My Uncle Ray, him and Gee Pierce were in the same band back in the day when they were younger, so I was around a little bit back then when they were doing their thing.
As a Producer in the Ghetto Records era, you produced arguably half or more of the music that came out of Saginaw for a couple years straight. Were there any other producers that may have inspired you or that you looked at THEN??
The time period when we were putting out our projects was around the time No Limit was big. I believe a lot of producers were probably influenced by Beats By The Pound at that time since their sound was all over the place. But outside of that, mainly producers like Timbaland, Teddy Riley, Manny Fresh, Dr. Dre. And of course my Uncle Ray, because without his influence, I wouldn't have ever gotten into music as heavy as I did. I left Saginaw back in '04 and moved to Tampa, so I kind of lost touch with the Saginaw music scene. I actually had retired from music for quite a few years and was completely out of the loop but started back up producing fully again around 2011 or '12. The only person who I kind of knew about and heard their music was Phe and that was mainly through Dub. But I know there has and always will be talent coming out of Saginaw. That's in our blood.
Next we reached out to Tyran Haulcy also known as Ske3m. Ske3m was instrumental into the growth of Hip Hop in Saginaw, from an artist to promoting Artist when he laid down the mic, from 989United to his w989radio and his Sons, "Sire" and "Dollaz" of Yung DayOne continue that passion for the Art of Hip Hop.
"Why is Saginaw underappreciated in Hip Hop?"
My Honest opinion is based on a fact. Saginaw Hip Hop won’t be appreciated as a whole or on a global level, because Saginaw doesn’t support itself. The music is actually the focal or starting point for a lot of the Professionals thriving in our City. Clothing lines, Graphic Designers, DJs, Producers/ Engineers, Writers, Publicists, even some media. If it wasn’t for the Music scene a lot of this wouldn’t exist. The music is the springboard. Now imagine if the energy that was put into the sub other jobs, was put into the music... You’d truly see the magic. It’s Mad talent in Saginaw but until ppl realize we’re all in this together, you’ll never hear it. Every thriving scene allowed their artists to flourish, because they were a representation of them. Saginaw must do the same.
When compared to others or why is Saginaw's past Artists so underappreciated in the Hip Hop scene? Going back to Bone Skanless, N.O.T.P, Footy G, Madam Dane, Day One, Omega, Yourself, Astray to Prozak n Bedlam, Getti, Ghetto Records, 1st Dagree, etc, that Saginaw is Underappreciated even as so many have made contributions even if it's so spread out. Why do you think that is so?
Far as the respect for those who blazed the Trail. I mean it’s the traditional usual Saginaw mentality, “that was then, this is now” that is basically how most feel. Now to be honest it’s some who reach out to us “2nd Generation” Saginaw Artists and the respect is given, but a lot of the Younger Artists don’t really know the history, or even care to know. As we Older Artists sometimes won’t show proper respect or guidance to the Younger Artists. I think that imbalance has a lot to do with it. Most know about those older Acts who are from the same neighborhoods they’re from, not so much about the others unless it was a “beef” of some sort. I think if we found a way to visually bring the history to light, it’ll give a better understanding, and appreciation.
Next we spoke with Charles "Convic" Conley of Indie Spot. Currently, Indie Spot, located in Bay City, Michigan, has been a hot spot for Artist to collab and record their music. Currently sporting producers like DBLR, CookinupwitFo, MAC 11 and Convic.
"Why is Saginaw underappreciated in Hip Hop?"
I think the scene needs to wake up and be open to stepping to the next level. The rest of the state done leveled up why can't 989. Saginaw artist are underrated because saginaw put them in a box. Any artist that left get mad love.
Next we spoke with Flick the Rick of D Hicks Media, who did Flick'd Up TV and which includes "The Hot Seat" as well as doing photography.
"Why is Saginaw, Michigan underappreciated in Hip Hop?"
From what I see personally and from speaking to most of the artist around the city I don’t think the problem is the music not being appreciated cause it’s great music in the city. It’s more so that it’s unorganized and a lot of bad business do to miscommunication and lack of understanding of others and what needs to be accomplished to get to the next level. Everyone is to divided and trying to build something out of nothing without a platform that’s big enough to carry it. No one wants to put in footwork and try to buy there way into success. Relationships are not valued unless it’s clout chasing involved.
Things that needs attention aren’t getting any cause someone is looking to get a quick dollar or want to make sure they pick the right person to have all there eggs in the basket with. But they do blinded by trying to get rich and being selfish that they think the lack of support comes from the city when outside looking in, y’all look unprofessional, untrustworthy, and greedy. And that’s what causes that negative outlook from the way I see it.
Last but not least, we asked Kattar Baz of Comachee Comachee Productions. A well known Promoter and Business Owner, who has promoted plenty of shows around the State and mostly everyone in Saginaw can probably remember where they were on his Ladies Night weekly series that feaured Local Artist's Performances.
"Why is Saginaw, Michigan underappreciated in Hip Hop?"
The real question is, underappreciated by who?? The people here or outsiders looking in??
It's crazy how many people... in Saginaw, aren't even recognized... anywhere else except here. You know, so how can they be appreciated if they are unknown to the masses. When I tell em, it's a lack of hustle, it might hurt their feelings. But, Imma keep it real.
If a Artist signed or making noise outta Saginaw, it seems they are automatically grouped or seen as a Detroit Artist. Going back to the Bone Skanless, NOTP, Astray, etc...
Yes, well, what Saginaw lacks... is a Master P mentality and ability for everybody to follow the one that's most likely gonna be the one to make it and what are they going to do to bring everybody up. Now the people that did get somewhere, what have they done to help? Has anybody from Saginaw ever went nationwide? Like, I cant really think of anbody that... really got on a national platform, you know... to that level. I guess Astray but even... nobody was known on a national platform. You know, I guess like ah... RushDee got a lot going on, you know, on the behind the scenes tip, on a national level. But even the cats here don't even know about that. People dont really pay any homage to the ones that did make some noise and move beyond the city.. you know, because who did they bring up when they did it?
Only can think of Bone Skanless being on Jive Records. But they usually group him in as a Flint Artist.
Yea, part of that is ...Bone Skan's, the way he promoted himself and he was... in Flint more then was here dam near for a long time of his music career. ya kno, for most of his performances, was there. that's why he did get recognition. Flint's closer to Detroit. A Flint Artist is gonna get looked at a lot quicker then a Saginaw Artist will. You know, That's just facts!!
We would like to thank everyone who gave us their opinion and to the Saginaw Music scene with Artists on the rise like D.R.E.E.M Ent., Young Hood, Road Runnaz, Yung Heartbreak, Ray P, Sky Walka, DJ Woo, Ello El, Charlie Red, D.A., C-Note, HBK Boom, Tay Rowe, and more. Keep an eye out for all of these Artists, Producers to DJ's. SAGINAW!!!! 989 #Salute