Jakk Frost: This Cold World

    Every city has one. That local star that seems to know all the radio DJs, can upstage most records in rotation with a breezy freestyle, and seems to capture the zeitgeist of the area code. In Philadelphia, Jakk Frost does it lovely. The West Philly-raised thirty-something left behind a deal at Sony Records several […]

    Every city has one. That local star that seems to know all the radio DJs, can upstage most records in rotation with a breezy freestyle, and seems to capture the zeitgeist of the area code. In Philadelphia, Jakk Frost does it lovely. The West Philly-raised thirty-something left behind a deal at Sony Records several years ago to rebuild his career, and chase his dream in a lane without as much traffic.        Now aligned with The Aphilliates’ Don Cannon, Frost is buzzing in the City of Brotherly Love. Cannon says, “Jakk frost is the new rap boss of Philly, and he’s one of the most respectable MCs, and on top of his game.”  Frost’s “Philly Love” leftover from the Sony days still gets burn, as do his original recordings, soon coming on the street album It’s a Cold World Volume 1. A successful real-estate proprietor in his city, it’s not about money to Jakk. Instead, the Horror-story namesake is out to bring back his city’s sound, and help pry open the door for several other artists, who always know how cold the world can be. AllHipHop.com: You were on the shelf at Sony Records for a period several years ago. What exactly happened, and what have you done since you left?Jakk Frost: I signed to Sony in 2002. It was a learning experience. I got signed by the CEO at the time, Donny Ienner; he pushed my bill personally. After that, it was a lot of hype in the building, but that’s all it was – hype. I had a record called “Philly Love” that was kinda big in Philly. I had to put it out myself, because the label people weren’t hearing it. Colby Colb [Program Director, 100.3 The Beat FM] put it in rotation here in Philly. That did good. I told Sony, “Let’s get Beanie Sigel, Eve, and Black Thought from The Roots on this for a remix and video.” It was an anthem. Sony just couldn’t hear it. I was getting spins in Hawaii, North Carolina, and they’re saying it’s only a Philly record. After that, I dropped a club banger with Freeway called “Crash the Party.”  Another Sony f**k-up. I talked to Dame Dash himself. They said, “It’s cool, you can go ahead and use the record.” [Sony] didn’t want to wait for a clearance from Roc-A-Fella. Maybe they weren’t hearing me right; Freeway is like my little brother. It was another record that they dropped the ball on. Basically, that was my whole career with Sony in a nutshell. I got burnt out; I told them to drop me. I stopped rapping for a year. This was 2004. I needed time for myself and my kids. I sat back and put everything in perspective and decided it was time for me to come back. AllHipHop.com: You called Freeway your little brother. Freeway’s no spring chicken. When one listens to your work, it’s apparent that you’re raised on lyrical Hip-Hop. Still hoping for a big break, do you think age plays a factor in commercial rap?Jakk Frost: I can honestly say that I don’t really think age makes a difference these days. What I’ve noticed about the game is that n***as don’t really reach they peak till they get to that seasoned age. When you look at Jay-Z, to me Jay-Z is the best rapper alive, period. Me and Nas are around the same age [editor’s note: Nas is 34 years old], and Nas is considered one of the best. The kids is who buy the music – especially the younger White kids. But as long as you’ve got a hot record and a good image, they really don’t care. You see Jim Jones tries to bring up Jay’s age, but Jay still spits murder like he’s 18 though. Same thing with Nas. Even the hot producers – Pharrell and Missy, they ain’t no young n***as. [Laughs]The young entertainers, they either make some dumb, catchy s**t or they latch onto whatever’s going on now. If you notice, the people with substance is the older people, ‘cause we come from another generation of Hip-Hop. That’s the era that I come from.AllHipHop.com: Philadelphia has two urban stations that compete heavily – The Beat and Power 99. As an MC in your situation, you depend on radio; that’s where I first heard you. Do you feel pressure not to show allegiance to one station in order to survive?Jakk Frost: Definitely! Cosmic Kev is the number one mix show DJ here, and he don’t want s**t if you gave it to JDS first. JDS is his arch nemesis or whatever the f**k you want to call it. [Laughs] He has to be the dude with the record first. As far as the stations go, I rhymed “I want to bring the East Coast back / East Coast radio ain’t playin’ East Coast rap.” When I say East Coast radio, I don’t mean DJs, I mean radio. The programmers don’t give a f**k about local artists or nothing. To me, radio and DJs are different. The radio stations don’t care; the DJs take offense to s**t.Here, you’ve got to be careful not to offend nobody. With JDS, he’s my man – the number one DJ at The Beat. We’re friends, outside of music. If JDS gets a record second from me, and Kev got it first – this is from me – he won’t care. Me and Kev is cool too, but he’s not as accessible. AllHipHop.com: Having made “Philly Love,” do you believe that there is a curse as far as Philadelphia rap?Jakk Frost: Philly curse. [Hearty Laugh] Nah. I think Philly, all the way around the board, from music to sports to acting, we’ve got the talent, but the business is never right. I think Beans could have been a big factor as far as changing the city, but I don’t think Beans ever had a fair chance. Beans is a hell of a f**king rapper. Business-wise, I don’t think Jay ever put him in position to be a force. You see how 50 [Cent] did [Lloyd] Banks and them? He put them up there. I don’t Jay ever gave State Property to chance to be what they could have been. The same thing with The Roots. It’s not the talent, it’s just the business behind the talent.The only one of us here that really has or had a chance is Cassidy, ‘cause Swizz [Beatz] really gives a damn about him, from what I can see. Swizz stayed behind him. If you look at Hip-Hop, and look at the time when Cassidy got locked up, the East Coast was about to stomp back on these n***as. “I’m a Hustla” was the hardest motherf**kin’ East Coast record in the middle of all that South s**t bubblin’. Then he had the “B-Boy Stance” record behind it. If that n***a didn’t get booked right before that, he would have made it easier for Philly and the East Coast to come back. Even New York was n***as was hatin’; that’s how big it is. I wouldn’t give a f**k if Cassidy never sold a drug in his life, that was a hot-ass record.AllHipHop.com: How did you link with Don Cannon recently?Jakk Frost: All of [The Aphilliates], they’re from Philly. They know my pain. They recognize real s**t when they see it. I called Cannon like, “Yo god, I need a mixtape; I just finished my s**t up. I don’t really want just anybody to do it.” It was Saturday. He said, “I’ma do it Monday for you.” I was on the plane the next day. It was all love. The n***a sat there and took his time with it – mixing, scratching, blending, having fun. I listened to other n***as’ tapes when I was there, he ain’t do that. AllHipHop.com: So are you his artist, or what?Jakk Frost: Me and Cannon, we both agreed that we wasn’t gonna speak too much on what we’re doing, we’re just gonna do it. I can say this: Cannon is about to bring Philly back with his own little crazy-ass way. He’s gonna make it so that the ones who deserve to eat here, is gonna be able to eat. I’m a part of that. That’s all I’m gonna say. Cannon produced some incredible records for me, and it’s comin’ out on the independent. Don Cannon got that hardcore, kick-drum, samplin’ voices Hip-Hop; n***as is scared to sample these days. I love the Crunk s**t too, but this is that Hip-Hop. He brought out that Philly s**t. I’m always gonna be me. I don’t know how to fake it. AllHipHop.com: Given the ambiguity of what you said, where’s Jakk Frost in a year?Jakk Frost: I’m going hard right now with the mixtapes that me and Cannon got. I’m making sure there’s 50,000 to 75,000 copies of this s**t in the street, whether that’s sold or given away. I’ve got a leadoff single called “Thirsty” that’s going off to the BDS so I can get spins tracked on that. The team that I got right now can be a hell of a f**kin’ force. Cold World, that’s the name of my company.AllHipHop.com: Where’s the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia?Jakk Frost: The best cheesesteak is Larry’s on 54th Street, between City Avenue and Woodbine. Anybody who wants to argue with me on that, come holler at me; I’m treatin’. [Laughs] It’s on! I’m not about Geno’s, Pat’s, Jim’s, none of that s**t. Larry’s! It’s right across the streets from St. Joseph’s University. They got this s**t there called “the belly-filler.” It ain’t no big-ass steak, it’s colossal. Click here for more on Jakk Frost.