Jahshua began his own career as an affiliate of Dramasetters Productions, a stable that crafted beats for iconic Harlem rap group The Diplomats. After the group dissembled, he continued as a solo emcee under the name JYoung the General. Influenced by legends like 2Pac, Nas and AZ, he paired a multi-syllabic flow with lyrics that honored rap’s traditional braggadocio while maintaining a keen awareness and opinion of Detroit and the world around him. His 2006 debut, The Megaman Mixtape, earned online acclaim and a development deal with Universal Records that he declined to finish his tenure in college. “Turning down that deal was a tough decision, especially with the momentum I had built up,”Smith remembers.
“But I knew that things would work out the way they needed to.” After graduating from Michigan State University and leaving his post as co-host of the campus hip-hop radio show Cultural Vibe, he continued to pay dues. Singles such as the female-friendly “She Likes Me” and the uplifting “Black Nationalists” nabbed college and Internet radio spins, and earned placements on top web sites such as HipHopDX. He opened for the likes of Wiz Khalifa, eLZhi (of Slum Village) and others, and co-hosted two monthly hip-hop nights in Lansing, Mich. Smith also co-founded BLAT! Pack, a Michigan collective of music professionals that have won various city, state and national competitions since its inception. In March 2010, he teamed with DangerousNEGRO Apparel and Nick Speed—Detroit in-house producer for 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records—to create Black History Year: Installment One.
Inspired by his passion for African American studies and his day job as a residential counselor for at-risk youth, he aimed to enlighten listeners on complex issues in a digestible, entertaining way. The project was featured on prominent blogs such as 2DopeBoyz, and helped Smith fatten his show resume with performances around the region. The next month, he dropped Jahshua 1:6, an EP that satisfied fans with favorites like the aforementioned “She Likes Me” and “Black Nationalists.” In the sequel to Black History Year, Smith raised the stakes by enlisting Michigan hip-hop staples like OneBeLo, Mae Day, and Buff1 for guest appearances, and T. Calmese to help cover topics like the Black Panther Party and gentrification.
Nick Speed is again executive producing, and KevinNottingham.com is sponsoring the Black History Year: Installment Two. Now, he plans to continue showcasing the versatile dichotomy that earned him his rep. “Much like history, the [Black History Year] music should be not be forgotten,” he says. “But I’m focused on what the future brings because this is only the blast off stage.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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