April 20, 2024
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Str8jaket “Closure” Interview [FLH Exclusive]

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Str8jaket (Native World Inc Roster) is straight up keeping the underground fresh. This Flint, Michigan native never stops grinding and keeps on pushing to satisfy his blood thirsty die-hard supporters and their unquenchable music thirst by releasing a unique brand of Underground Hip-Hop that’s keeping the underground alive! This cat was destined to be on the mic! In reference to the Beastie Boys, “Str8jaket has the skills to pay the pills!” Don’t miss him at this year’s Gathering of The Juggalos and make sure to listen to the freshness inside Closure! Smart move on Anybody Killa for signing Str8jaket!

Chad Thomas Carsten: What was your early childhood like in Flint?

Str8jaket: It was dark and cold. I remember the smoke that filled the streets, as the sound of gunshots echoed through the air like a siren to ward outsiders away from the city. It was a struggle every day to survive. My family fed off the bodies of those killed by street gangs and had to fight off other families to get to the meat while it was still warm!……..Naw, for real though I lived on a dead end street and had a pretty normal childhood for the most part. I have 3 brothers and a sister so life was always busy. We blew up a lot of shit! We used to tie G.I. Joes around pumpkins and blow them up with M-80’s!  It was fun! I think when you are a kid you’re pretty dumb to what’s really going on around you, like shit you would notice more the older you get; like crime and murders and shit. When I was young though I didn’t care about nothing but playing with my friends, comics and video games, ya know.

CTC: Let’s discuss the origin of your stage name and how it relates to the streets of Flint Michigan. The story must be fresh!

Str8jaket: I came up with my stage name when I was 15. By this time I was well aware of what was going on around me in my city. It’s crazy to think back now at all the fucked up shit I was doing so young; I mean, me and my group of friends str8 got the fuck down! Parties, drugs, sex! You name it we were doing it! Life was crazy for me as a teen and I was one of the crazier ones of our bunch! It all added up, my city was crazy, me and my friends were crazy.  Everything around me seemed crazy at that age and it became a part of my personality hence the name Str8jaket! Music helped contain and focus all that dark energy and allowed me to release it in a fashion that didn’t result in dead bodies and burning buildings and all the fucked up shit that went through my teenage brain. We’ve all been there, shit some of you reading this right now are saying “damn this dude gets it” cuz we all know the crazy shit that went through our head as a teenager. Str8jaket was my other half, my dark side that helps me keep a good balance in my life still to this day. I need him as much as he needs me!

CTC: How many years total have you been rapping and what exactly brought forth the Hip-Hop side of you lyrically?

Str8jaket: I have been rapping a total of 17 years. Since 1999! I was always into hip-hop throughout the 90’s but two major artists that sparked my interest were Esham and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. My brother Tommy was big into Esham and ICP when I was like ten and that’s where I picked up on it cuz it was so shocking to my young ears. I mean the shit these guys said, it was fucking amazing and just so crazy to a ten year old! My cousin Eric got me into Bone and I don’t give a fuck, Bone was on some wicked shit back in the day for real! From the “Faces of Death” album through “East 1999 Eternal”, that shit was dark. I just fell in love with rap and rapping from that point on, but what really did me in was fuckin House of Krazees. I would bang that shit so hard and it just consumed me! I was always big into horror movies and dark shit and HOK just brought it all to the table and that’s when I knew I HAD to make music!

CTC: What did you like most about early Michigan Music/Hip-Hop 1990’s era? Which artists from your city and Michigan in general are kicking ass the most musically? Which Flint Michigan band/rapper would you like to work with in the near future, that you haven’t had the chance to work with, but would like to?

Str8jaket: I feel like the 90’s era of hip-hop was just raw. It seems like it meant more and more passion was put into it for the most part. A lot of the music you hear today, especially the mainstream shit like Drake is some watered down pussy version of what we used to call hip-hop. That’s why I have so much love for the underground and more local music because I feel that’s where that passion still lies. The hunger still exists and people put more emotion into their music rather than just trying to throw a catchy hook to a beat and make a song about absolutely nothing just to make a quick buck.

From Flint, I have my artists signed to Darkhouse Records (My Label) Kapitol and JB tha Truth that are super dope and both getting albums ready to release this year. Also my homies Young Lyte and Joey Cough who kill shit!! In Michigan all together though you know them Native World warriors be putting in work!! I think we have a strong team of hard working and dedicated people and shit just keeps getting better! But outside of the obvious big names we all know from Michigan I have been bumping this dude NF from Gladwin (Northern Michigan) who is pretty dope and the homie Bootleg from the Dayton Family has been putting some fire out lately, so hopefully that continues and we get another TDF album soon.  To be honest if I could work with anyone in Michigan right now it would be Royce da 5’9. His latest album “Layers” is in my opinion his best work and it blew me away! It would be an honor for him to bless a Str8jaket track! Also The Dayton Family just because they are legends from my city and I have yet to do a track with any of them.

CTC: What exactly made Acid Rap/Horrorcore so fascinating? How did you end up traveling down that path to the darkest style of Hip-Hop?

Str8jaket: It’s unlike anything else. It’s raw emotion that goes into this shit. You won’t hear lyrics that get so deep and dark on the radio. People like Violent J or Madrox can straight paint a vivid picture with their lyrics, something I also try to do, but it’s storytelling at its finest. I have never gotten the same hair raising feeling off of any mainstream rap that I do from an acid rap/horrorcore artist. I got into this style of music at a young age because my older brother and cousins all listened to it. They were big into Esham and ICP. It was all kinda history from there, I went on to listen to them and more and eventually over the past few years started working with most of the people I grew up listening to. If you would’ve told me at 15 when I started making music I would be where I’m at and working with who I do, I probably would’ve throat punched you or gave you a swift kick in the nuts for being such a fucking dumb ass, because it would have sounded that crazy to me I would’ve thought you were fucking with me.

CTC: You must be a horror movie hound. What do you like most about the horror movie genre? And which horror film are you attached to the most emotionally?

Str8jaket: I love the suspense and the gore, especially in the older slasher flicks. They don’t make horror movies like they used to though. I still watch the old shit like Halloween, Friday the 13th etc… but my all-time favorite is Evil Dead 2. I like the entire trilogy from Evil Dead on to Army of Darkness but Evil Dead 2 is hands the movie I have watched the most in my life. I remember tripping on acid watching this movie at my boy Travis’s house when we were younger and laughing our asses off at the part where the deer head and everything in the room starts laughing at Ash, I mean that was just some classic shit to us growing up, it brings back so many good memories. Still to this day though I think The Exorcist is the scariest fuckin movie ever made. It’s all in her face I swear that is the creepiest shit ever but I love the feeling of terror I get when I watch it.

CTC: When you found out the Flint water was tainted; How did you approach the situation? Can you describe the anger that ran through you? Can you describe in-depth how the water situation took hold of your life personally?

Str8jaket: I moved to the outskirts of Flint like 2 years ago and am lucky enough to not fall into that death trap. I still get my water from Detroit but I have plenty of family still in the city that it effects. I love my city but am well aware it is crumbling, thus I moved my wife and daughter the fuck out! Still I go out to eat and I go to my brothers and parents houses where everyone lives off bottled water now, but who knows how long we all drank that poison water before it became so known it was tainted, ya know?! I just don’t understand how these council people can sit there and say everything is safe and they are doing all they can to fix it and don’t blame Snyder. “It’s not his fault! Blah blah blah”. I understand that Snyder might not have personally put lead and shit in the water but turning his head from the situation and acting like the issue isn’t as big as it is really, is just as bad. They just wanna hand you a filter or some bottled water and be like see now it’s all better and still want to charge outrageous deposits to even get water in your name in Flint. Yeah I’ll give you a $400 deposit for water not safe to drink or bathe in. Sounds legit to me, pffff!

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CTC: As an artist, how are you using your music to raise awareness to the on-going water crisis in Flint?

Str8jaket: Just like any tragic event over the past few years you will see people come out the fucking woodwork doing some kind of relief or pray for/save this city or that country type song and it was no different here. Everyone started doing a water crises or fuck Snyder song, which some were cool because the artist actually took the time to research and be aware of the real situation rather than just make a song with no real facts or anything. Not just “fuck Snyder” to try to get some plays or attention off of a shitty situation that is effecting people for real. Therefore I choose to keep away from putting too much politics and shit in my music. I might take a jab at it here or there like there is a reference to the Water Crisis in my intro song on Closure.

CTC: If the Flint City officials were directly sitting across from you right now what would you say to them?

Str8jaketI would pour them a glass of Flint’s death water and say “bottoms up fuckers” and make them drink it. See how they like the poison! I’d also add a fuck you in there and maybe a flash of the milk dud for good measure.

CTC: Can we get into the friendship between Str8jaket and SmokeHouse Junkiez?

Str8jaketBottom line them are my brothers! We started doing shows together back in 2007 when I was with a group called Click Clack at Club 2101 in Flint. We used to pack that bitch so they eventually made us like house acts and would have Click Clack and SHJ co-headline shows there a couple times a month. After Click Clack split up and that club shut down I continued doing shows with SHJ which led to us going on our first tour together in 2011 with ABK which was the Holiday Blast Tour. During that tour a bond was made and friendship was turned into a brotherhood! Them are forever my dudes for real!

CTC: Can we discuss the backstory between you and Anybody Killa first meeting and what your friendship is like currently? What’s it like being signed to Native World?

Str8jaketMe and Killa first officially met on the Holiday Blast tour in 2011. That tour just made magic happen man! I don’t know what it was. Everyone we toured with became good friends. It wasn’t until after the tour when I started to work with ABK on the music and graphics. I did a few merch designs for him and eventually started doing some production. He invited me down to the Lotus Pod where we worked on some of his tracks for Shapeshifter and then I started going to meetings at Native World and the rest is history. Me and ABK have become good friends, we talk almost every day or text really and are always going over new fresh shit we can bring to the table for ya’ll. It has been a blast working with Native World. We have a great crew and everybody gets along and pushes each other to do better and we just wanna bring people some fresh music and whatever else we can. You never know what we will do next.

CTC: The entire Native World roster is performing at the 17th annual Gathering of the Juggalos! What are you looking forward to the most performing in Thorneville, Ohio? Any off the wall Gathering stories you’d like to share?

Str8jaketI just look forward to bringing people a good show. That’s what it all boils down to, I am here to entertain and gain fans/make new friends. Every time I go to the Gathering I leave knowing more people gaining more connections and so on it’s all around just a great event not only for the fans out there to enjoy but also a great networking spot for musicians. Native World plans on bringing some fresh flavor to GOTJ with ABK’s “Wake N Bake Bash”, so hopefully everyone is as excited and ready to party as we are!

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There are so many great stories from the Gathering I wouldn’t even know where to start but one thing that happened in 04 that I thought was pretty fresh, not crazy or anything but really fresh.  I was standing in line to get a fat slice of pizza and Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko came up just chilling and kicked it with me and my boy Danny for what seemed like a fuckin hour in the longest line ever. At the time Tech was far from being as big as he is now and I really had no clue who Krizz Kaliko was at the time but anyway, after we bullshitted until we got our pizza I asked for a pic which Kaliko took and Tech had them big ass red spikes at the time, like his signature look for that era of Tech N9ne, so we take the pic and go our separate ways. Them dudes were very cool to kick it with and at the time I had no idea I was having a conversation with someone who would go on to be the biggest independent artist in the game! Funny thing and the point of this story was when I got home from the Gathering and developed my pictures I was excited about this particular pic with Tech and his big ass Red spikes, so I go through the pictures and there it is Str8jaket and Tech N9ne but no big ass Red spikes!! The pic was cut off at our forehead, like noooooooo! *Laughs* Damn you Krizz Kaliko!!!!! It was still a fresh pic though and it made a good memory and story to tell. I was always determined to get a pic with him with his red hair then he cut it off and went on to be the Tech we know today. Funny thing is 2 years later in 06 I opened up for Tech in Saginaw, MI at Prozak’s 6th annual Wickedstock, man it’s crazy what 2 years can to in this business because by this point Tech was fucking everywhere!

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CTC: Your album Closure just dropped recently! Can we dive into the details on how you decided on its name and how the book featured on the cover mirrors your own life? Were the song titles chosen as the books titles of chapters? How many pages is the book of Closure?

Str8jaketWhen I began production on Closure it was actually titled “Reformation” and was originally supposed to be released in late 2012. The album just never felt right to me; like I had an idea that was ahead of itself at that point in my life. The first draft of songs made for the Reformation album ended up being released as 3 EP’s titled “Freaks” in 2012, “Crossroad” in 2013 and “Till Death” in 2014. All were mostly (besides one or two exclusives for each EP) songs originally made for Reformation. In late 2014 I started working a lot more with ABK and Psychopathic and I was doing designs for Twiztid and the ninjas at MNE and shit just started changing for me in my life. This made the music I was doing change and that’s when I decided to change the name of the album to “Closure”. The process of this record spanned for four years and so much changed during the process that I wanted to put all that experience out in this record and that was what was going to be the main topic point, ME and the change that has occurred over the time period it took to make Closure.

I was also trying to break away from that old sound I had. I wanted to do something new but have been so hung up on finishing what I started in 2012 so Closure had to happen. I explain a lot of this throughout the album if you listen. In conclusion Closure is my way of putting an end to who I was and moving on to who I am simply because I am not the same person I was 4 years ago and so much has changed, especially on the music tip! I felt I needed Closure almost as my way of convincing myself it was ok to change and grow. Change can be a scary thing but sometimes it’s worth embracing it. The track list carries a story of its own. You can follow the tracks from the intro on to the last song and hopefully pick up the story of my life and events that I have experienced through the process of this album. The intro is like that first introduction page of a book stating this is who I am and this is what I do and it goes on through tracks like “Who Knew” about exactly why it’s titled that.  Who knew I would get to where I am today. “Keep Me Levitating” is that “alright I’ve made it this far don’t let me fall” type shit and the following track “Nobody Like Me” is the I’m here and making a statement like planting that footprint type track. The album continues on to go through a couple of personal fuck bitches type tracks based on events I have been through over the last few years and moves on to tracks like “Phaze”, touching on the topic of the doubt I have experienced from people, some very close to me, and was my way of being like “fuck you this shit is me!”, not just some phase I’m going through. Music is my life. You get some party type tracks in there cuz who the fuck doesn’t like to party? I do!! Then I sum it all up with the title track “Closure” and I feel I did a good job at explaining shit in that track, especially with the first line of the hook “It’s finally over” because it was such a relief and great feeling to make it to that last track and I feel that’s why it is so different from any other track on that album. As for the pages of the book, I will say there were 32 songs recorded for this album, 15 made it on the main disc and some will make it on the Outtakes album. I would consider each track a page of its own but as for Closure as a whole, I feel like Closure is my life and I am 32 years old thus 32 songs, 32 pages thus far and hopefully many more to come!

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CTC: How did you decide on who you wanted to be featured on Closure?

Str8jaketThe beats kind of did that for me. For instance the collab with ABK called “The Last Warriors” when I made that beat I knew it was meant for Killa. Just the vibe had him written all over it and it all fell into place. That was pretty much how it happened on each track with a feature. I just thought of who would sound good on this beat and once I had an idea I would use that to build what that particular song was going to be about.

CTC: Who primarily produced the album and where was the album recorded at?

Str8jaketI did everything on the Closure record from the beats to the artwork, mixing and mastering besides the Intro/Bring the wicked track which was mixed by Kuma. It was all recorded at my home studio “The Darkhouse”.

CTC: Can you list which songs were the most personal to you and details on the true meaning behind these tracks?

Str8jaket: “Homicide” and “Closure” were the most personal tracks to me. Homicide is about some personal shit that happened in my marriage, which is pretty self-explanatory if you listen to the song and/or peep the music video. It’s honestly the deepest shit I have ever put out at least to me anyway, but I know everyone has been hurt by a significant other at some point so hopefully people can relate. Closure just really hits home with me. I feel everything I say in this track paints the picture of how accomplished I felt while making it. Picture something you set out to do and 4 years after that you finally do it, it’s an indescribable feeling and I somehow managed to fit all that emotion in a song.

CTC: Was the track Homicide inspired by a recent break up?

 Str8jaketNo, it was inspired by events that happened a few years back with my wife. But I am still under investigation on a missing persons case over it. I mean I never even seen the guy before, ya know?! But if you ask me he looks like an asshole. What?!  You didn’t hear anything did you? I mean you got my back right? What body in the lake? Next question please…

CTC: Was “Space Out” recorded for the people that use music to escape the 9-5 grind?

Str8jaketIt was made for anyone just trying to escape whatever situation they want to escape. I don’t know about you but when I feel angry or whatever I can put some headphones on, bump some good tunes and it takes me away to that special place and if I stare to long it’ll probably make me break down and cry-e-i oh sweet child o’ mine, ya know what I mean?!  I wanted to make a song that is just that, a song you can relax and just space out to. That’s why I made the beat and rapped in the tone I did, to make that infectious groove to just vibe to. That’s also why I placed it sort of mid-range on the album as a little break for people so hopefully everyone enjoys it as much as I do.

CTC: For those who’ve haven’t heard the album. Which Super Hero/Villain/Video game special power/attack would best describe the sound within Closure and how?

Str8jaketI would say Cyclops. I feel like everything I had bottled up for so long that I wanted to get out of me came out on the Closure record. Like Cyclops Optic Blast! One moment everything was just built up and burning inside of me and I was just too afraid to open my eyes and see the bigger picture. But the moment I realized the direction I wanted to take my eyes were open and like Cyclops the energy burst out, blazing the trail of the path I would take to create the album I needed to make not only for my career and fans of Str8jaket but also for myself. I needed to overcome the fear of losing control once I opened my eyes and set down the path I know I had to in order to further myself and my music.

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CTC: You will be releasing the outtakes from Closure on July 15th! Can you give the fans behind the scene details on the lyrical subject matter that are featured inside the outtakes?

Str8jaketThere are a couple of hype tracks one being named after a WWE star who has inspired me and his career is the basis of the subject matter for that song. There is a track about suicide and a love song and some straight up crazy lyrical make you think godlike type shit. You will just have to get a copy and peep the freshness for yourself to find out.

CTC: The real reason why you decided to release the outtakes?

Str8jaketI have 19 songs left over from the Closure album and the purpose of making Closure was to put that Str8jaket behind me because I feel I am ready to move on to a new era in my music both style wise and lyrically.  So I have to do something with these tracks, why not release them? The outtakes album is pretty much the first draft of Closure and I almost at one point put out the outtakes album as the official Closure album, but things fell through and some shit got fucked up. It all worked out in the end. Thus I ended up with two albums pretty much and they are both so different; it’s gonna be crazy to see the reaction I get from the outtakes album because it is so different from the album I released.

Like I said before the entire album was at one point planned to be Closure, but there is one song called “All In My Head” that almost made the cut for the official album.  I figured I would save it since I already had the idea to release the outtakes halfway through the final mixing of the Closure album that was released.

CTC: Any more music video plans?

Str8jaketI released my first video off of Closure “Homicide” which you can now check out on youtube. I am currently in the works of filming 2 other videos from the Closure album as well. I am working with my close homie Josh Ulrich on the videos and he is the shit at what he does so people should check him out if they need any video or photography work done. www.joshulrich.com ( Josh you owe me a cheeseburger and a fry now biatch for the plug! *Laughs*).

CTC: You will be touring with Psychopathic Records very own Big Hoodoo! Which cities are you looking forward to the most to conquer and create new fans?

Str8jaketI haven’t gotten the dates yet but I hope we are playing Salt Lake City and Denver cuz those spots are always popping. Its hard to say because every spot on tour you will always meet some cool people and make new fans so really I am excited about every stop we make on tour!

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CTC: What do you like most about mosh-pits at show ? How often do you jump into the pit yourself?

Str8jaketWhen you create a mosh pit it just instantly gives you the rush and feeling that the people are feeling your music, so that high and adrenaline rush it creates is what I love. I do not jump in the pit myself anymore due to the fact the last time I tried to dive off stage into a tornado like pit the crowd shifted and I landed on top of someone’s six year old child. It was not a pretty sight.  Just 260 lbs of Jaket crushing this poor kid like Gallagher’s mallet smashing a watermelon! Blood and chunks of the kid were everywhere but the craziest thing was it made the crowd mosh even harder! So I got up and finished the show and later went on to smash the kids mom in the greenroom backstage for having her kid there and getting blood on my stage clothes.

CTC: Any devil’s night stories you’d like to share? Did you participate to get back at corruption?

Str8jaketI must respectfully decline to answer this question due to ongoing investigations. I mean, I didn’t know there were people in there ya know…..Anyways…Next question.

CTC: What does future of Str8Jaket look like and any final shout outs?

Str8jaketThe goal is to stay in motion. I have the outtakes album coming out July 15th and I have something really dope in store for October so keep ya eyes peeled for more info on that. I am just trying to stay busy which isn’t really hard since I am slammed currently. I did some production on the homie Big Hoodoo’s album “Asylum” coming out July 22nd and am Currently mastering ABK’s “The Lost War Chief Sessions” which will be released soon and it’s dope! Also did production for the Hav Knots and the list goes on. To sum it up there is a lot of dope shit coming your way that I am either putting out myself or am a part of so stay tuned and SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND!

Shout Out to Everyone at Faygoluvers, thanks for the sweet interview. Great questions, I enjoyed it! Everyone at Native World and Darkhouse Records, my Creep team Kegan Ault and Josh Ulrich, my wife Courtney and daughter Skyler and all the fam, friends and fans who support me! Hit up THEWARRIORSPOT.COM to purchase the new Str8jaket album Closure, also available on iTunes and Google play and streaming on Spotify.

Interviewer: Chad T. Carsten

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    Faygoluvers Comments

  1. djscrubb

    djscrubb

    Comment posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 09:01 am GMT -5 at 9:01 am

    DOPE!

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