Mezeio Jackson was born in Dallas, Texas, at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The same hospital where John F. Kennedy took his last breath. At the age of four, Mezeio, his single mother, and his younger brother moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where the artist known as Kage began to take form.
"I lived in the hardest part of Jackson." Kage recalls, "An area called Wood Street / Bailey Avenue. And I went to the hardest junior high school you could go to, Rowan Junior High. In Jackson it's real. A lot of people skip through Jackson when they come to Mississippi to get to Memphis, Chicago, wherever they going, but a lot of people don't stop in Jackson to see that there's a lot of real niggas there. It's a real city and coming up man."
Jackson is a medium sized capital city with a population of about 200,000. It's home to many of Mississippi's top state officials, but it's got it's gritty side. The side you won't find in any travel brochures that balances out the cities claim to be the "Best of the New South." As a city it is growing and things seem to be moving in the right direction, but to hear Kage rap - "daddy wasn't there so I had to be the man, for my momma flip a chicken, put some money in her hand / hate the life I live, but it pay the bills / made a name for myself - fuck with this you get killed" - you get the idea that all is not well in Jacktown.
"My father left when I was two, but my mom was a straight up soldier." Kage explains the life that made him the independent man that he is. "She had to raise two boys in the hood, and used to work the 7am - 11pm shift at this hospital. So me and my brother started staying at home alone when I was four years old and he was three. She used cook our food before she left, leave it in the stove, and put us in the bedroom. She would tell us she don't care if God came to the door, don't go to the door. And she raised us on the telephone."
At age four, most of us are just getting our bearings in this world. Kage was already running his house.
He continues, "I knew that at 12 'o clock to go in the kitchen and look in the stove and get our lunch and then go back in the room. And then when she called us at dinnertime then I'd go get the food and feed me and my little brother. And I did that stuff until the age of thirteen. Stuff she could have went to jail for and everything, but she couldn't afford no baby sitter. So I been grown since I was four. Staying at the house alone from 7 o'clock in the morning till eleven at night. And that's some true shit. That's how I came up."
He might not have realized it then, but his independent spark had been ignited, and Kage learned to fend for himself. A practice he keeps to this day with his Rocwilda Entertainment. While Kage has seen a lot of independent success in the rap game, and his dreams of being the CEO of his own company started while he was still in high school, the music game wasn't his first job.
"I got in the damn drug game at the age of ten and it was just to the point where it was crucial to the family cuz wasn't no money being made." He explains, "Food stamps wasn't doing shit. So my uncle had me rolling weed. That was my job to roll it. That was back in the day where you could buy a dime bag and roll ten joints. That's what I did. But you know I stayed in school. I went to school everyday, but all I did at school was rap. I didn't really think I could rap until NWA and Ice T came out. I was like 'man I can relate to that.' And that's when I got in the rap game. I was rapping, doing talent shows, running around the neighborhood. We had one cat in the neighborhood that had a beat machine. And he was charging $20 for a beat. And we was running around there cutting yards man trying to get us a kick, a snare, and a hi-hat. I really wanted to do it professionally. When I got in the 11th grade, I already knew that I didn't want to be just an artist. I wanted to be a CEO, president of my own company. Cuz I was always watching Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. That's all I was watching on TV. And I always saw the CEO's, the owners of certain things. I didn't never see the people that worked for them. So I was like naw, I want to do what he do."
Kage sold 14,000 copies of his first release Just Another Day, Just Another Dollar, out the trunk back in 1991. And in 1994 he did quite well in the streets of Jackson with his second album Get Your Money Right. But it was in Houston, Texas, when Kage came to perform at a packed Juneteenth celebration, where he really knew that he had it and had to take it to the next level. He began hustling for a record deal and scored one with Dallas Austin in Atlanta. This short-lived relationship ended up being just one of the many learning experiences Kage has received while navigating through the music industry.
Then one night he met Big Mike - formerly of The Convicts, and for a while, The Geto Boys - at the Volcano Club in Jackson, and the two hit it off. Kage spit some rhymes to the veteran Big Mike and gave him a copy of Enemies Get Your Money Right. The CD made it into the hands of J. Prince at Rap A Lot who signed Kage soon after.
"I signed with Rap A Lot for five years." Kage recalls, "I did a couple songs with 5th Ward Boyz and some other things. Me and Lil J at Rap A Lot, we real cool. It was a learning experience. I wasn't as tight as I am now. James taught me a lot of shit, and ever since then I started Rocwilda Entertainment and have been doing my own thing."
Kage dropped his third album, Platinum Underground in 2000 after being released from Rap A Lot. He set the streets on fire in 2002 with his forth release, BIG BIG. The title track and first single off the album, "Big Big" an anthemic ode to everything and everyday, went to #15 on Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Singles Sales. Everything you do got to be BIG BIG, and Kage breaks it down. "'Big Big' just means if you graduate from high school you doing it Big Big. If you graduate from college you doing it Big Big. Do everything big. As big as life. Big Big is a real song. Everybody like big shit. Every radio station want to be the big station. Everybody want big cars everybody want big houses, ain't nothing wrong with big women, ain't nothing wrong with big money. Everything's Big Big. If you want land you want it Big Big. Everybody wants these SUV's, these Hummers, and now these cats are riding around in Bentleys and everything. That's huge!" The Album achieved #98 on Billboards R&B/Hip Hop Album sales charts, and was the forerunner of the many â€œBig Big â€œ songs which followed in the years to come.
"I'm in this big body Benz with this Big Big bitch. Laugh if you want but this big bitch rich. / Goin' back to where? To her Big Big house. / She gon give me head on her Big Big couch. / Do what I do cuz I got Big Big nuts / Pull up in your yard with them Big Big trucks."
His fifth release, â€œBlock Workâ€ (February 2006 release date) is expected to attain the highest level in the charts and showcases why Kage has been makinâ€™ noise from the streets and beyond. With the radio play the first single â€œOn Careâ€ is getting on stations like WJMI is any indicator, this album is going to be bigger than Big Big! "The people in Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and Lousianna, love it." Kage explains, "They just like 'he from the South. He one of ours.' And it's great."
Kage knows the importance of making it in your region (South) before you take it on the road, and with each release he has built his Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and Atlanta fan base bigger and bigger every time. Kage also knows the importance of real record sales when it comes to genuinely building a company. "A lot of my boys that down here, they talk about Sound Scan and you gotta have so many numbers. To me that's a bunch of bullshit. Rocwilda is real." He continues, "Everything we doing is real. We got a little money but we're not doing all that. They gotta be aware of all these sound scans, all these skip scans. You can buy that shit. Hell I can go out and buy 100,000 of my own damn record. That don't mean you selling no records. But the record sales that â€œBig Bigâ€ has right now. We sold them. It ain't no 200,000. Whatever it is, we sold it. If it's 2,000, we sold 2,000 legit records, and that's what people need to be looking at, instead of looking at ooh, this man sold 120,000 records. Did he really? Anything can be bought in the industry. We got actual people going in the stores asking â€œyou got that On Care?"
And soon you will too. Expect Big Big thangs from Kage and Rocwilda Entertainment in the months to come.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Eddie James
2. Scheming on Mine
3. On Care (feat: Kenny Kane and PT)
4. Down South Balla
5. Stop Cap'n
6. I'm a Show Ya
7. Poppin Off (feat: Cap Star & Dub)
8. Dem Lil Boyz
9. My Trap
10. We Don't Dance (feat: Cap Star & Dub)
11. I F_ _ K With G's (feat: Dub)
12. Get Cho Paper Right (feat: Dub, PT, Kenny Kane)
14. My Thug'en
15. Can't Hustle It Wrong
16. Duct Up
17. Knock Dat Ni$$a Out (feat: Cap Sta & Dub)