Jigg: "I'm Not a Rapper, I'm an Artist"
Once you get a taste of that A-1 quality rap, then there's no going back. No mid-level trash. Nothing but high-grade tracks.
It's be a little over a year since Miami rapper Jigg released the second installment of his on going HighGrade series with DJ Folk, a project followed by the DJ Drama and DJ Canon hosted Spittaducation.
In that year, Jigg be able to continue to build a brand by being successful at marketing his music through the top blogs such as 2DopeBoyz and Rap Radar and landing singles on the radio, a feat many local artists find difficult.
As Jigg preps the release of HighGrade 3, Crossfade caught up with Jigg to talk about what the last year has been like for him, his relationship with DJ Folk and his thoughts on our "Miami's Top Ten Rappers on the Come-Up" list.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Hip-Hop DJs of All Time
Crossfade: What's the last year been like for you since the release of HighGrade 2 while gearing up for HighGrade 3?
Jigg: The year's been real great for the brand. I've been exposed to a new fanbase since the release of HighGrade 2 which had the single "So Hot," which was my first single that got the most airplay on 99 Jamz and other stations across the country and got a lot of love from DJs in the club in state and out of state. So that really put a lot of eyes on me and my brand and let more people know what I'm doing.
What would you say is the biggest different between HighGrade 2 and 3?
This one is way more personal. I talk about a lot of subjects and topics that I've never touched on in my previous bodies of work. This is a great body of work. This is a great body of work, but I would say that when somebody takes a listen to HighGrade 3, they're really going to get to know me on a personal level. So I think that with this one they're really going to see my approach as an artist and they're really going to understand me and not just be entertained, but they're really going to get to know me.
Describe your relationship with DJ Folk because you guys have worked close together on your past projects.
That's the homie. I've been messing with him for a while now. I met him through a mutual friend of mine. He reached out, and he sent me some tracks. He was just impressed by my work ethic, my music, and things like that. He always had an ear. He played a big part in discovering Big K.R.I.T. before the world paid attention. He just felt I had what it takes to get to the masses. I guess he has a thing for being a part of new projects before they get to the masses.
How did you feel about the "Miami's Top Ten Rappers on the Come-Up" list?
I didn't agree with the list. I just feel like the list should've been called "Lee Castro's Top Ten" instead of "Miami's Top Ten" because Miami is way more diverse than that. And it didn't acknowledge, even though I see where it came from, it was made in good intent, but it was a lot of people that was left out such as street rappers that come from certain demographic.
Nothing against everybody else on that list, they probably have worked hard, have a solid fanbase. But I just feel like, in my personal opinion, it wasn't balanced, and you doing the list, you not too knowledgeable about the other demographics of rap music, being that I was the only one of the top ten named the "wild card." So I don't think you're too familiar with a certain demographic of Miami artists. I just feel like since it was named "Miami's Top Ten," it needed to be well-rounded, and that list, in my personal opinion, was not well-rounded at all and it didn't have an array of different types of artists from Miami doing they thing significantly.
But if I didn't include somebody why do you automatically assume that I may not be familiar with them?
Because the name of the list is called "Miami's Top Ten." So when you name something "Miami's Top Ten," it has to be a balance, and it was no balance. That's just my opinion. Obviously, if you made the list, you're not going to agree with my opinion because you felt comfortable with that list, so you not going to see where I'm coming from. That list basically needs to be called "Lee Castro's Top Ten." It's a disservice to Miami artists calling that "Miami's Top Ten," in my opinion.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Rappers on the Come-Up
When it comes to street acts, it seems they're going for a lot more radio play and a lot of other artists seem to use the Internet as their primary outlet. But you've seemed to find a middle ground. How did you accomplish that?
Just being knowledgeable of my brand and what I'm able to bring to the table. I feel I'm about to walk that fine line. I'm not a rapper, I'm an artist, but I'm a lyricist at heart. So I can spit with the best of them. But at the same time, I'm not one of those lyrical rappers who just in that box. I can make good records, great records, and hit songs, in my opinion. That's the advantage I have with my brand. So, me knowing this, I was able to reach out and get on my grind and just put it out to the masses.
What do you think about the disconnect between the two because those who gear their music more towards the Internet aren't going so hard for the radio and vice versa?
I don't know. I guess it's two different demographics of people. When you get the bloggers, the bloggers may like a certain type of genre of music. To get on radio, you have to know how to make great records. The radio is formatted off the hit songs.
You got to really format a great song. I guess you just have to study the game. And my brand is fortunate enough that I could walk that fine line. I guess it's all about who's on what website. What type of taste they got. What type of genre of music are they looking out to. What type of demographic they have their ears to the street on. That's the question you really have to ask the bloggers and sites and TVs and radio stations.
What intrigues me about you is that you're pretty much a one-man crew. You don't have a manager, direct your own videos. Do you feel the need for it to be like that?
Not at all. I guess I'm just a self-contained person because of how I started. I'm a hard worker. I don't like to sit around and wait, and I got accustomed to moving fast. I don't like taking no for an answer. When I envision things, I like to go fast with it. And so I'm a 100 miles an hour at times, and I'm not the type of artist that's going to sit around and whine because I don't have this or have that. And, you know, I turn nothing into something. God blessed me with the vision to just keep going and turn nothing to something.
How do you find time for everything?
I live, eat, sleep, shit making it to the top. I'm focused. That's my Plan A. I ain't focused on a Plan B. This is what I love to do. If I ain't 100-percent love making music and being an artist, then I would've been quit a long time ago. It's therapeutic for me. Something from my soul that I love to do. I don't see myself doing anything else.
So when you find something in this life that you love to do, you'll go to the end of the world doing it, and I have no problem going through whatever I have to go through to make it to the top, because I just love music, and I'm blessed with a talent that the masses will appreciate once the world starts paying attention.
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter @LeeMCastro
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.