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Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop R&B


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Interest From The Moleman Makes Young Rapper's Future Promising

CHICAGO - (January 3, 2008) - Chicago gives birth to Deal, a 21-year old MC that has already scratched the surface of Hip Hop notoriety with solid tracks on his self-titled album. The album, which features such tracks as "In The Zone" and "Postcard", has been well received nationally among critics, and fans alike. The future of this MC got a little brighter when Chicago's hit production team, The Molemen, reached out to him.

The success of Deal's singles and album led the legendary Molemen to contact Deal with a deal of their own. Promising a collaboration of production hits, the Molemen are interested in teaming up with Deal to dish out what could be "new classics". Producing music for such artists as Vakill and Rhyme Scheme, the Molemen have become Chicago legends.

Being a product of Chicago's southeast side, it was Deal's mission to give voice to the voiceless. With knowledge and maturity beyond his years, his commanding voice echoes through each track. Reminiscent of the good ol' days in hip hop, Deal commands the microphone like that of a street philosopher. And rightfully so, Deal has been handling the microphone since the age of 9 doing local shows and performing for family and friends. That audience has grown with Deal being a weekly feture in the open mic, spoken word circuit, being a semi-finalist for the WGCI Chicago Idol competition, and being featured on the mixtape, "Miami Heat" with platinum recording artist Rick Ross. Deal is also featured on Triple F Unlimited Underground Mixtape series out of New York, and Deal can be heard on Chicago's prominent radio stations, Power 92 and WGCI, as well as, numerous podcasts, internet radio stations, and college radio stations,

Going to Alabama A&M University has allowed Deal to be exposed to the Dirty South audience, yet he continues to work with several Chicago-area artists. Working with SC, who has produced tracks on Dr. Dre's prodigy, The Game's debut CD, "The Documentary", and Diddy's "Press Play" has allowed Deal to hone his skills on the mic while maintaining his Chicago roots.

Chicago Sun-Times hip hop reporter David Jakubiak writes that, " Deal, your skills as a writer and as an MC are evident, you also have a gift that few young MCs have these days, the voice. Your voice is not gruff like Ja Rule or DMX, not bland like 50 Cent's, but more clear and direct in the great tradition of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D, Guru, and other masters of the art". That potential will be realized soon, as Deal is gaining underground and citywide notoriety. - INCHICITY.COM:ONLINE MAGAZINE

"Here's the deal Jay Dickens uses music to speak for community"

Music can be more than a catchy melody-it can be empowering.
Jay Dickens, the guding force behind hip hop entity Deal, wants his music to speak for those who cannot.
He feels that music in his community, southeastern Chicago, is hammered by economic challenges.
"There are not a lot of labels, not alot of people around that you can go to and do music", Dickens said.
"As a result, there are alot of people around my community who want to do music but they think there isnt't any point in doing so. So I feel like their voice isn't going to be heard".
Dickens' focus on social awareness comes as part of a restructuring of his sound. He began crafting his own music when he was very young and has started to feel separated from his early roots.
{My music} is more mature. ...Early on I might have been talking about just partying and hanging out with the fellows", he said. "I was just being young, but as you grow up you begin to see things as they are. You want to speak on it more".
That shift should be heard on a mixtape Deal is working on as a follow up to the 2005 album "Early Morning Service."
Dickens has felt energized recording lately, sensing an external force is guiding him.
"I don't even know what I'm going to do with the [songs and beats] sometimes; it all just comes to me," he said. "Not knowing what is going to happen and the challenges of having to create something and make it mean something is most rewarding."
- by Michael Schmitt for RedEye


Dilla Mixtape (2009)
Early Morning Service Mixtape (2010)
"Keep In Touch" single (Radio airplay on WGCI and Power 92)



Jabari Dickens has come a long way from his precarious arrival into the world 24 years ago. For health reasons, he was not expected to accomplish all that he has thus far. Few people believed that he would reach the heights that he has—both in popularity and physicality.

Dickens was born in Chicago on August 31, 1986. A congenital health condition kept him under the watchful eyes of family and healthcare professionals during his formative years. The careful attention that his health once demanded has transformed into the reverence and respect he demands wherever he goes, introducing his empowering and distinctive brand of rap and hip-hop music.

Known to the music world simply as “Jabari”, the young artist has always believed that he has lyrical talent that transcends anything that has been heard before. However, do not mistake Jabari’s confidence in his skill as boastful or cocky, as he is eternally thankful to his hip-hop predecessors who have paved the way for himself and other hip-hop and rap artists. He is humbled in knowing that he has not come this far alone, but rather has been blessed with experiences and opportunities to continue to grow and learn not only as a hip-hop artist, but also as a person.

It was at the age of three that Jabari developed a deep fascination with rap music. He used a toy microphone he acquired from McDonald’s to mimic the mannerisms and lyrics of the hip-hop artists he listened to and watched intently. Receiving that toy microphone was a turning point in Jabari’s musical career. That moment marked his nascent emergence as a hip-hop artist. The microphone was Jabari’s appendage, traveling with him wherever he went. If it was ever lost for a moment, the world stopped until the microphone was found.

As a young child, Jabari became exceptionally familiar with the names, faces and lyrics of most of the famous hip-hop artists of the time. He even closely studied more obscure artists, some of who were considered underground. Early on he realized that he could learn about various aspects of the music industry from any artist in the business—underground or mainstream.

A precocious five year old, Jabari was so impressed by the music, that he would write track lists for rappers’ albums and then perform those tracks—accompanied by music—aloud, any place, any time. It was also during this time that Jabari became a fan of film and theatre. He would make it a point to see most movies the weekend they debuted in Chicago. In his youth, he became a fan of African American filmmakers Spike Lee, John Singleton, Bill Dukes, George Tillman and Robert Townsend. The works of these trailblazers piqued Jabari’s interest in both acting and working behind the camera.

This rising prodigy earned prominent roles in all of the youth theatre productions at his church and was even granted roles in plays at his high school. As time passed, Jabari continued to immerse himself deeper into the entertainment field. Creating music with his cousin on a Sony radio with a microphone attachment became a predictable pastime. The cousins would loop the instrumental parts of the songs onto blank tapes and create a beat, then rap over the beat, and thus, a song was born. Once Jabari got this first taste of music making, he was hooked.

By middle school Jabari became devoutly committed to rhyming. He would share his raps in a circle with kids his own age and older, known in hip-hop as a cipher. His profound lyrics were characteristic of a spirit much older than his adolescent age. Older people would listen to Jabari’s words and commend him on his insight and natural ability. He was once called “an old spirit” by an older observer who was struck by the wisdom his lyrics revealed.

As Jabari began to record in studios, he was faced with a major obstacle: he did not know how to count bars, or the line breaks during the verses of hip-hop songs. He worked relentlessly to master the challenge of counting bars. Once he became successful at it, writing original songs became another skill added to his artistic index. The more studio recording Jabari completed during high school, the more polished and evolved his lyrical prowess became.

During high school Jabari began to build his performance repertoire, performing at various talent showcases such as the annual poetry competition hosted by the Chicago Historical Society, “Louder Than a Bomb” in which he was a finalist, various talent shows and theatre productions at his alma mater, Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago. As a student at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Huntsville, Ala., he performed as homecoming talent and won an open talent competition. He was a finalist in Chicago-based radio station, WGCI’s “Chicago Idol”. Jabari has performed at Phil’s Blues Bar in Chicago, a Music Artist Consulting Showcase, numerous “open mics” and other open talent forums including, the Wild Hare, Exodus and Monday Nights at the Victor H