JIHAD (June 2008) | Interview By:
Dubcnn recently sat down with an artist we have been following since his
mixtape debut alonside DJ Warrior & DJ Nutty. Jihad has stayed busy since then
releasing a second mixtape, working with artists including Cashis and Jayo
Felony and is currently out in the Middle East. We caught up with Jihad in
Dubai for an exclusive interview where we talk about coming up, his mixtapes,
his recent work with T.I and Xzibit producer Big 4D. We also get the lowdown
on Jihad's other ventures as well much more.
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave
feedback on our forums or email them to
Interview was done in May 2008
Jihad Interview Audio:
Nigga Datz Hood (Featuring Eastwood, Cross & Cook)
Live Your Life (Produced by Khalil Ansari)
Me First (Feat. Cashis) (Produced By Pakman)
Dippin' (Feat. Jayo Felony) (STREAM)
40 Off A Brick (Feat. Duke Riddles) (STREAM)
DJ Warrior & DJ Nutty Present:
Death Before Dishonor (Mixtape)
Dubcnn: Alright, so Dubcnn is welcoming Jihad in the building! Whatís going on
with you man? How are you doing?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Chilliní, everything is good, you know. Gettiní it poppin.
Dubcnn: Now you are overseas right now right?
Yup, right now Iím in the desert. Iím in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates. So
weíre just trying to get it pushing out here and get things going for us
Dubcnn: Ok, now along those same lines, being in Dubai what is it like over
Um, itís crazy man. You know, youíve got like, you see a division in terms of
classes. Thereís obviously a bigger upper class and then you see like a
working class and lower class. Thereís not really a middle class in terms of
people but you see what you see on TV. Like all the hotels and like whatever
else is going on in terms of materialism and all that. Then you see the
everyday struggle and the people that are actually making that stuff happen
and go through so itís crazy.
The scene is like brand new and the market is open. Thatís why Iím out here
right now trying to get it going for myself and our whole camp, Rebellion.
Dubcnn: Now, do the people of Dubai, I know you said itís kinda new and
itís burgeoning but do they embrace hip hop?
Yeah, definitely. The scene here, itís crazy because thereís a want of a scene
right now. The majority of the people, just people in general are youth so hip
hop and music in general is really big out here. Especially hip hop compared
to other genres. Everybodyís really into rap. Everybodyís really into 2Pac
onto 50. And, you know anything thatís coming out they embrace it. Itís not
really a scene out here so itís really new.
Iím trying to be one of the founding people out here to make it really go and
take it to the next level.
Dubcnn: Ok. Now tell me about your name. I was reading where you said Jihad
and the word Ďstruggleí are one and the same. Can you talk about that a little
Yeah, definitely. Jihad is actually an Arabic word. Itís from Islam, Iím
Muslim so it comes from Islam but the actually meaning is struggle. A struggle
within oneself. Like a beautiful struggle which is like a struggle within
yourself to stay on the right path. To be righteous, like good versus evil
type thing. I think what it has been interpreted as is one of the secondary
meanings which is like a defensive holy war. And I think people kinda latch
onto the holy war aspect of it and try to push it out and turn it into
something that itís not.
Thatís why I picked the name. It represents me, it represents that struggle
that everyone goes through. Also in terms of musically. If you do come at me
we are ready to bring it in that sense too.
Dubcnn: Ok. Now Hip hop is still mostly African American and a lot of the
songs talk about police brutality, neglected neighborhoods, stereotyping and
systematic oppression. With so many people stereotyping people of Middle
Eastern heritage do you find yourself having to combat those stereotypes in
your music? Or with perceptions of you as an emcee?
Yeah, definitely I think itís obvious. Especially the last couple of years
after 9/11 and things like that. You look at whoís being zeroed in on. I mean,
for years now itís been African Americans that have been attacked and
minorities in general. Now, if you really take a good look you see itís
Muslims, people of Middle Eastern decent and even just Muslims in general. So,
obviously we are all going through the same thing. Itís the same struggle,
same oppression and the same plan. So, the relation in terms of where Iím
coming from and the music, even looking at the hood. If you look at the hood
aspect of it worldwide you can see what itís like in a 3rd world country and
how hood it really gets. All of that goes hand in hand. And you can see that
we all may be in different parts of the world but the struggle is all the same
Dubcnn: Now, I donít want to keep it too heavy for the whole time weíre
conversating here. So, I noticed that you worked with Big 4-D? Is it Big 4-D?
Yup, Big 4D
Dubcnn: Ok, who produced some tracks for T.I. on his last album. Your
latest mixtape it featured Jayo Felony. Youíre getting played overseas. So
what does 2008 hold for Jihad?
Right now you can see me working extensively with Big 4D from the Secret
Specialists. You know, he did Act I, II and III of of T.I. Vs. TIP. We have a
lot of things planned. Usually Iíve been keeping everything on the hush until
itís locked in but you know I had to save something for Dubcnn to let
So, right now, Iím in the process of putting out a mixtape with DJ Thoro and
DJ Big Mike. Working on a mixtape with DJ Superstar J. Iím trying to put
something together with DJ September 7th. Thereís a lot of different things
going on. I spoke to Nick Beam. Iím just trying to put something together with
everybody and just push the movement and make things happen. Like, Iím out
here trying to get a video shot for one of the tracks off of my mixtape, ď93
FlyĒ. Thatís out now. You can get that at
you can get it off my
Itís not like your run of the mill thing Iím trying to do. It may seem like
Iím silent because I want to perfect what Iím doing before I start putting out
music and make sure it comes out in a proper form and not just drop tracks. I
have over 200 tracks already done so itís nothing in terms of the music but I
want to make sure it comes out properly and it gets pushed. Thereís a lot more
than that, Iím also working on something with Evil Empire and you can see me
doing something with DJ Arcane. (DJ) Warrior is always there as well. I mean I
have all kinds of things going on right now that we are trying to lock in.
Like, youíll see me on 4 or 5 projects that Iíll be heavily recording in the
next couple of months. I have a hybrid album, which is like a rock/rap album
Iím doing with my boys Burning Tree Project.
We have the Larceny Family West situation going on right now which is Ö.
(Brief silence on the phone)
Dubcnn: Hello? I thought I lost you for a second. Go ahead. You were saying
Yeah, Larceny Family is actually Cassidyís group from Full Surface (Records)
and my manager Cook from Cook Up Entertainment is actually putting together
Larceny Family West right now. So we have that situation going on and then
Iíve been in talks with Skee and from my end getting things popping and
getting an actual album done on myself. Iím going to have him promote and
Dubcnn: You mentioned DJ Skee and working with him in terms of marketing
and promotion, whatís that relationship been like so far? And how did that
One of the people out of my camp made it happen. He actually used to work with
Skee and weíve been talking about it for a minute. So we finally sat down with
him. Basically everything on his end is good weíre just getting everything
together on our end. Weíre trying to get together a proper budget and then
itís a go. Itís been beautiful. The situation is there itís just on our end we
gotta make sure we take care of our part and make things happen.
Dubcnn: Ok. Now Rebellion, thatís your label right?
Yeah. Me, my partner Joe and thereís a camp load of us.
Dubcnn: I see where in the past you worked with Ruff Ryders. Are you trying
to land a major deal or is the route that youíre going now, it seems you have
a vision. Are you trying to stay on the independent side or are you looking
for a major to back you?
(pause on phone) Ö.As far as major or independent, it doesnít matter. As long
as there is something behind it and I can put out projects with the proper
promotion. Whether itís independently and we can get that kind of push,
because we have all of the contacts and everything in motion then it will be
independent. But if a major comes by and gives us a proper deal then itíll be
a major. Getting the paperwork right and getting the right machine behind what
Iím trying to do and the vision we have for Rebellion, which is to take what
we have right now and create a movement and really make it worldwide. So the
people can see whatís going on and we can do something beneficial for the
community, come back and really help out people.
Dubcnn: Tell me what a typical week is for Jihad in terms of music.
Man, when Iím back in Cali, in Cerritos I wake up and get straight to writing.
Get ready to go to the studio and get the recording aspect done, thatís as an
artist. But before even all that takes place I have to wear like four or five
different hats. Either contacting media outlets, trying to set up some
marketing and promotion, work the advertising end, network, follow up on
contacts. You know, just keep trying to push and keep things going. Youíll see
me doing like four or five different things. Iím trying to link up with
producers to get the proper music right and sitting in sessions with them when
theyíre making beats and taking meetings left and right. Itís an everyday
thing. Itís not just one aspect. At the level Iím at right now I have to wear
multiple hats to get certain things done and make sure everything is done
Dubcnn: Now, just out of curiosity do you ever sit back when youíre wearing
these multiple hats and executing the plan properly, do you ever look back and
say, wow? Maybe from where you began to have to do all of those things out of
necessity how much more effective you are now as opposed to when you first
starting doing those things.
Definitely. I think a lot of it comes down to what Iíve done. Like, by having
more of an extensive resume now made things a lot easier and I have more of a
relationship with a lot of people to open the door up on a lot of bigger
situations. That came from grinding, putting out music and putting in the work
to get to the point where Iím at. I mean, we still gotta keep going and
building and growing. But in general if you take it from the beginning to
where Iím at right now itís like leaps and bounds. And thatís just a blessing
from God so itís good to see all your hard work pay off.
Obviously I gotta keep that grind and stay in that grind mode but itís
definitely good to see all that pay off. To see a lot more doors open up and
things be a lot more effective and refined as time goes by.
Dubcnn: Nice. So, you recently made your acting debut right?
Dubcnn: So, what was that process like?
That was a trip. It actually came out of nowhere. My homeboy Kadir from France
came down last summer and he was working on a project. Things kinda got tossed
up in the air and he needed some help. He came to me and said, ďYo, I need you
to be in this movie for me.Ē I was like, ďCool, lets do it.Ē The name of the
actual independent film is HYPE.
Itís kinda like a Crash-type of film where itís a bunch of multiple stories
but it revolves around music. Itís in different cities and itís crazy. The way
itís being shot is crazy and its, youíll see it. You know, itís going to
premiere at Cannes I think next year. When I come back, Iíll be back in Cali
around July, so weíll be finishing out the shooting out there. Weíll see how
Dubcnn: Now, since you are a world traveller and the Cannes Film Festival
is in France if Iím not mistaken. Are you going to go out for the debuting of
The directors are originally from France, so thatís like their backyard.
Dubcnn: Nice, nice. Well, any last words for Dubcnn?
Yeah, definitely, I appreciate the support from everybody. Weíre gonna keep it
moviní, stick with us. Itís a pleasure and honestly a blessing for everybody
that enjoys the music. I appreciate all the support.
As far as Rebellion, you can look for music and look for new projects to come
out. You can expect a new album from one of our artists, Drifter whoís
actually my cousin. Troubled Soul which is his album will be coming soon. Want
to give a shout out to Commune Clothing, which is actually run by my homeboys
Daniel and Eddie. And youíll see a lot of stuff being done in terms of
Rebellion and our clothing line through them.
Nick, International Nick, who does all of our video stuff. D. Vinny, who takes
care of our music video stuff. Joe Park, everybody man, thereís a whole
movement of us. What up Tycoon? Be on the look out for a lot of big things
coming from us.
Dubcnn: Sounds good. You said Calm U Clothing?
No, itís actually Commune Clothing, C-O-M-M-U-N-E. You can check it out at
Dubcnn: Sounds good man. I appreciate the time and be safe overseas and get
home safely. Continue doing your thing man and weíll continue to check up on
Fa Sho. Buck, buck!
Jihad Interview Audio: