Chris Jackson
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Chris Jackson

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

New York City, NY | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo R&B




"Chris Jackson on Working with Pusha T, Songwriting, and 'No Chaser'"

Chris Jackson is a Christian R&B/pop singer who chatted with Rapzilla about his success as a songwriter and now an artist getting ready to make a big splash. He has penned music for Toni Braxton, Cheryl Cole, and others, as well as just completing a tour as a singer for Pusha T.

In the next few weeks, he will be gearing up to release his project No Chaser, and has already dropped the single, “Never Again.”

Rapzilla: Before landing some high profile writing spots, what were you doing in your music career and what was the plan?

Chris Jackson: Before my focus became songwriting, I was working on an album. I always had dreams of becoming an artist, and always had a love for singing, so before that happened, Dre (A-minor.. also producer of "No Chaser”) and I were working on an R&B album at that. Dre had a meeting with some guys (who ended up later managing me for some time) for his production, and he started playing some of the songs that he and I worked on. That lead to them inquiring about me, and kinda persuading me into doing songwriting, and kinda building with that as a way of getting my foot in the door. They didn’t really SEE me as an artist at the time, and they were kinda right man…I wasn’t really ready then, or capable to be honest…there was a whole lot I needed to learn and develop. But, MY plan was always to become an artist no matter how I got my start.

How did you place that song with Toni Braxton, and how did that change your life?

Jackson: After signing on with them, I started being thrown into sessions left to right. It was extremely overwhelming at first, because I had never done anything like that, and so fast. After about a year of working with them and a ton of sessions, I ended up working with Chuck Harmony one day. He played me that track and I remember the whole room shifting. I wrote and recorded it that night, and left feeling pretty great because I was extremely proud of that song, and at the time, I felt I hadn’t written a song as amazing or powerful as that one. Literally an hour after that session, and as I was about to put my head to my pillow, an email came to my phone stating that Toni Braxton was going to be cutting the record. I was literally almost never home after that because I was either in L.A., Atlanta, Miami, or London (if I wasn’t in NY) in writing sessions. I got to work with some amazing producers, writers, and artists and had some amazing (and NOT so amazing) experiences. Man, there’s a lot of songs that I wrote that were actually pretty dope that will probably never see the light of day, but the beauty of it was knowing I had it in me!

As an artist, do you feel a certain way writing for other people? How does that process work?

Jackson: I feel great writing for other people because it’s a way of helping to get their story out, or even hearing them express themselves over a creation of mine. It’s cool to not only build your own but help someone else along their creative journey as well. It’s a way of sometimes even stepping outside of yourself or your comfort zone, and seeing the world through another set of eyes.

What have you learned from working with superstar artists both in the studio and on tour?

Jackson: One of the main things I have learned, is to be fun, have fun and make everyone feel comfortable. It just makes the whole vibe that much better. I’ve also learned that not everyone’s process is the same and that you should always be open to trying new things/approaches. Also, to be sensitive to their needs as well.

You recently toured with Pusha T. What was that experience like, and did you have any creative input for his live sets?

Jackson: Touring with Push was one of the dopest experiences I’ve ever had in my whole life. I did more traveling and saw so much of the world that I never thought that I would ever see during that time, and I learned a lot about touring and what goes into it. Being a part of that show was such an amazing learning experience for me in that I got the opportunity to see how the crowd interacts with the artist and vice versa, and how much (especially live) music and shows really play a pivotal part in an artist’s life, especially connecting with the fans. I didn’t have any creative input for the set, but he taught me so much (that he might not even realize he did) and I’m forever grateful to him, DayDay, DW, and Push's whole team.

Tell us about your upcoming project No Chaser.

Jackson: No Chaser is a project that just pretty much takes you on a journey of a young Christian man, trying to really make sense of a lot of things going on in his life. There are ups, and there are downs…It starts off with a song (Story of a Champion) where I’m talking from my uncle’s POV, during his last couple months on this earth. Three years ago he died from cancer, and nothing could have prepared me for that. It actually did a number on my faith. The whole album isn’t based on that one experience, but it was definitely one that triggered a lot of other things, as well as a couple of other things I dealt with that, had the potential to spiral all out of control and make me lose my mind. But somehow through it all, God kept, and is still keeping me. It’s pretty much an honest take on life, as a Christian, talking about real life things. No sugar-coating was involved in the making of this project.

You debuted the single "Never Again." What's the response been like, and why was it the lead single?

Jackson: I chose to lead off with “Never Again” because I felt like I had something to say, and that was it. I’m more confident. I’m stronger. I’m better. I’m not invincible, but I’m striving to be unbreakable. I’m more confident in the gift that God gave me, and nothing or no one is going to stop me. I felt like there are tons of people on this planet that can relate and can say, things that used to effect them negatively, or slow them down, or discourage them, can’t anymore. Or at least that it’s going to be harder to do so. I just want to encourage people and let them know that as long as you believe in God, and believe in yourself, who can stop you? nobody. The response has been pretty great so far, and I’m glad about that!

What is the message of this record, and how do you want people to absorb it in?

Jackson: I want people to know, that it’s ok to hurt, and it’s ok to have fun. It’s ok to say “hey man…I’m struggling with such and such…” Sometimes, people are afraid because of whatever judgment may come their way. Sometimes, some people don’t wanna hear the typical “just pray about it” rhetoric. Sometimes, life affects us in a way that causes us to react irrationally. It’s ok. The beauty of it is, you can never go too far that God won’t reel you back in. No matter what ANYONE says. I want people to be encouraged and inspired. I want to motivate people to live their best life!

Will you be working with or reaching out to any Christian artists for this project?

Jackson: I have a few amazing features on this project, all who are believers. Most may not be “Christian artists” but we all have one common ground, and that’s the God we serve! I do want to connect with some Christian artists in the future for upcoming projects, as well as anyone else who is a believer!

What's next, anything else to add?

Jackson:I’ve already started working on an EP that I plan on dropping next year, but until then I have some other things in store with No Chaser including more visuals, shows, and hopefully a tour in the future! Be sure to connect with me on social media on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram (@itschrisjackson). - Rapzilla

"Chris Jackson Releases “No Chaser”"

New York’s own Chris Jackson has just released his first full length album titled, No Chaser.

You may remember, In 2013, Chris released his mixtape, “No Pressure”, to rave reviews from various gospel and mainstream publications. Fast Forward to 2016, he’s ready to release his debut full length album, which brings the tale of a Christian man, growing up in today’s world, juggling both faith and real life issues.

Jackson is no stranger to the game having had the pleasure of writing for and working with some of today’s biggest artists, including Tank, Ron Isley, Jasmine V (Featuring Kendrick Lamar) and B Smyth (Featuring 2 Chainz). Recently he’s been seen touring the world as a featured vocalist with hip-hop recording artist and President of G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T. - SFPL

"A Personal Review on No Chaser"

My departure from traditional church was rooted in the plethora of condemning commentary on God’s behalf by sometimes greedy, most times self-serving preachers that almost always contradicted their “messages” with actual, intentional mess. This isn’t a dis to church, at all. Just my honest opinion because the God I read about was a merciful being who only wanted to things:
To be loved by His creation that He loved
For His creation to show that same love to ALL people
I think we, his creation, have done an awful job at that. And while that is not entirely the church’s fault, there’s a light that I personally believe was sent to assist us in… “doing better” (for lack of better terms). His name’s Chris Jackson and if you will just give him a listen, you’ll see what I mean.
Chris has an unmatched ability to speak from God’s angle. In 2014, he released “Lay It On Me” from his No Pressure mixtape. The lyrical content is comprised of God essentially saying, “Hey, you! Yes, you. I got you! How are you even really stressing right now? You know I’m here or nah?”
“Yes I’m the one that you should call/You’re stressing yourself with them problems/Stop all the ‘why me?’/Try me/I can solve them/(You aint gotta) Carry that load/That’s what I’m for…”
Now, in “Right Here” (from his new No Chaser EP) he does it again. He sings:
“Imma let you go ‘head and do you/I’ll never take my eyes from up off you/My love is always here for you/…Cuz even though you say that you’re leaving/Believe me, when you’re ready to come back home to me/I’m telling you right now/I’m gon be right here…
…I won’t just sit back, I’ll go harder/Til you find your way.”
I think, if I could hear God, THIS is what he would sound like. He’d be forgiving, sweet, caring even…because he loves. So, why don’t we hear more of this? Why is it that most of Christian music speaks of struggles ending, and blessings coming down, and grace & mercy, and yada yada, but ONLY from the limitations of the human perspective? That was a rhetorical question, but I think it has much to do with the fact most artists write for artistry. Chris, however, seemingly takes his own conversations with God and generously puts them in a musical journal for publishing. I think that’s the love God wants to see us share. I also think that’s the love he wants us to KNOW he has for us, and I think He chose Chris Jackson to relay it to us because He knew the singer/songwriter would share it in the least traditional way and without fear.
What I’m saying is, the fact that another person on this planet knows a God like the one I do was an integral part of my belief’s restoration. For a minute, I thought I had misunderstood the Bible (Shakespearean language is my least fave because it is difficult for me to understand). So I was like, “cool, I’m out then”. Then comes Chris who is just like, “Actually, church folk, God told me to tell you that He loves all of us and He really sees it for each and every single one of us. And if you’re waiting for me to mention any stipulations, I’m going to disappoint you because they don’t exist. So you really are loved. :)”
This isn’t church music (the instrumental backdrops are too good and too dance-invoking to call it that). This isn’t even inspirational music (it does way more than inspire to limit it to that). This is healing music. This is damage-undoing music. And I think you need to hear it.
Now that testimony service is over (lol), let me tell you about my personal fave from his new No Chaser EP. Track 1, “Story of a Champion” is the real life story of Chris Jackson. He told me, “That was a VERY hard song for me to do. Most of these were hard, but that one was difficult! I really just did it as a release for me…” His most challenging piece being the project’s opening item speaks, but only if you’re listening. It samples one of my personal top 3 Jay-Z faves “Lost One,” and shows a vulnerable Jackson in the every line.
“However, welcome to my story/Still writing pages as I’m going/Don’t know the plans He got for me/But in the end He gon’ get the glory…/Don’t cue no violins for me/Cuz this is just another page in the/Story of a champion”
Michael Jackson got some homage on “Yeah Yeah” and the beautiful “Falling Down” enchants the soul and the spirit. There’s tons to be said about No Chaser, but it should be experienced more than it should be described. Check out the full EP below (DNT enabled users can listen here). - Shantel Loh

"Chris Jackson"

Chris Jackson
December 26, 2016 By Dave Hawkins in Interviews | Comments closed

Chris Jackson is known for writing songs for Cheryl Cole, Tank, Toni Braxton, and B. Smyth. During our chat, Chris reveals his own recording talents on his just released album, No Chaser.

Dave Hawkins: It’s great to have you here for a talk Chris.

Chris Jackson: Great to be here man. Thank you for having me.

Dave: When we were setting up this interview, you told that you were in Los Angeles and wanted to wait until you were back in New York City for our talk. Are you crazy? Winter’s coming and you want to come back to New York rather than stay in the warmth of LA? (laughs)

Chris: Listen man, if I didn’t have to go back to New York I would stay here. (laugh) Trust me, I’m not ready to go back to the cold. I’m not!

Dave: I want to stretch your memory Chris and take you back to your childhood. What’s the first song or artist that made an impact on you?

Chris: Ohh, wow. Ok, so I grew up in church, so there’s a lot of songs that I heard in church. But outside of that the first artist that I was really exposed to was Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, around the same time. You know, with the MTV generation, you saw music videos. They played both of them a lot! I think Rhythm Nation was really hopping. You know, Michael’s Dangerous and Bad were out around that time. I remember my cousins and my uncles used to play those albums a lot. They had a lot of other CD’s and records. I was surrounded by that. I can’t really put a name on the first song, but I can remember those two artists first standing out to me. And I think also because my last name is Jackson, so I always had that thing, are we related? (laughs)

Dave: (laughs) It happens to me. People wonder if I’m related to Ronnie Hawkins.

Chris: Well, are you?

Dave: No. I just tease them and tell them he’s my uncle. (laughs) I don’t think anyone believes me.

Chris: They just have to have faith!

Dave: (laughs) We’ve talked about artists that you’ve enjoyed, but you’ve spent a long time songwriting for others artists.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: What changed to make you want to record your own music?

Chris: Well, nothing. I always wanted to record my own music. Before I started writing professionally for other artists, I was recording my own music. I had a slew of songs that I was doing for myself. I got the opportunity to write for other artists was because it just got into certain other peoples hands.

Back then I was working with the same guy who does my music now. Andre Johnston from A Minor Musik. He had a meeting with someone and played the songs that we were working on. They asked who I was. They were OK with the songs and thought my writing was great, but weren’t sure if I was ready as an artist. So they took that and developed it. Through that I started to write for other people. But I always had it in my heart, that I wanted to be my own artist. After awhile, it started burning and tugging in me. I felt a calling on my life one night and that changed everything. It was time.

Dave: Some of the artists that you’ve worked with are really significant. You did Tank’s “Stronger”, Ron Isley “This Song is For You”, Jasmine V “That’s Me Right There”, B Smyth with “Leggo”, and you did Cheryl Cole “Promise This”. That’s incredible!

Chris: Well thanks man. You’re doing your research! (laughs) Those were great opportunities. Some of them I wrote by myself, some I co-wrote with other people, but, all in all, they were great experiences. I’m grateful for each one of those records.

Dave: When you’re writing for someone else, is it difficult to adapt your writing style to suit each of those artists?

Chris: You know what? Not really. I appreciate the challenge. Sometimes it can be. I’m such a lover of music and I’ve been listening to music all my life. A lot of these artists that I’d been shooting for, I’d already been a huge fan of.

Like my music collection is huge. Prior to the streaming phase, I would be at the music store every week. I still go to the store and buy hard copies to this day. Back then I was buying everyone’s albums. You’d be surprised at my collection. Not only do I have every Janet and Michael album, but I also have every Britany Spears album. I have A Tribe Called Quest albums. I have all Kendrick’s albums. I have, you know, P!nk, her albums. I’m just a lover of music. So it helped me to write for these artists. It was still challenging, ‘cause I’m stronger in certain genres than others, but I didn’t make that stop me. I would go and try and figure out how to make it work and just do it.

Dave: Wow! You are old school, buying the hard copies. (laughs)

Chris: (laughs) To this day!

Dave: Are you going to switch things around now and buy everything on vinyl?

Chris: Whooo. I’ve been thinking about that for so long. I really, really want to. There’s a lot of great albums out there, like some of my favourites. For the collecting purpose, I would love to have the vinyl. Maybe play it. Who knows? It’s a great sound that you get on vinyl. It’s something that you don’t get anywhere else. So hey, why not?

Dave: It’s obvious that you’re a talented guy. You’ll write a great song for an artist and they’ll have success with it. But what about you as a songwriter? Do you think you get the recognition or exposure that you deserve?

Chris: Thanks for that, but, you know, its subjective. You know they’re are people who live for the credits. When I was younger, the first thing I did, before I even popped the CD in, I would open the case and I would look through the credits. I would read everything before I played the music. I want to know who produced and who wrote what. There’s a lot of people who do that because they want to know who was involved. Even if I didn’t get the recognition or the shout-out from the artist, the people who bought the CD would hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and say; “You’re the guy that wrote such and such? Man, that was amazing”. That really touched me. I can’t say that I wasn’t writing this music for the recognition, because who doesn’t want to be recognized, right? But things like that really matter to me.

Dave: I think we’ve been spending way too much time talking about other artists. We’re here to talk about the music you’ve recorded. I’ve really been enjoying the diversity of your style. Sometimes you draw from a decades old music style, then on the next track you bring it up to date. Do you like switching things around?

Chris: I do. I really do. Because I’m so influenced by the music I grew up with and the current music that comes out as well. I take from the past and what’s going on now and hopefully put a bit of the future in there as well. That would be me giving myself to you.
I’m not trying to chase a certain sound. All of this is really how I feel. You know, I get in the studio with Andre and he really knows my style very well. He knows me, he gets it, and taps into that. That’s where that chemistry comes in. I come in with an idea and a feeling. That’s where it starts.

Dave: I really noticed these style changes on your first release, No Pressure. You’ve got the song “Blessed” being all bright and positive. On the following song, “His Pain”, you flip the music into this jazzy/blues vibe as it deals with a man’s pain and questioning.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah, I’m glad to caught that. (laughs) Well “His Pain”, that’s actually a cover of a Kendrick Lamar and BJ The Chicago Kid song. The only thing original was the track. You know, he was telling his story. Me, listening to that song, it inspired me to write my own story of my own pain. I felt it when I listened to the original. I was able to capture that myself because I was telling my own story. It’s like, even though I’m blessed, I wouldn’t be blessed if I didn’t go through this pain. I don’t know why He keeps blessing me. There’s a flip side. A good and bad. A lot of times we sugarcoat things. We can’t do that if we want to inspire and touch everybody and tell them about the goodness of God and Jesus. We have to tell about how great things are and how terrible things can be, but at the end of the day He’s still blessing us.

Dave: I totally get where you coming from. Your new album, No Chaser, it’s looking at faith down in the valley and up on the mountaintop. Do you feel a lot of artists don’t want to show both sides?

Chris: If you want me to be honest, yes. I feel like maybe that’s come from all the years of sweeping things under the rug in the church culture. Healing doesn’t happen unless you really talk about it by having these conversations. I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone except myself. These are my stories or stories that I’ve heard. Ones that I can relate to. Finding the beauty in those struggles, finding the beauty in the pain, so that there is an up when you hit down. When you get down you can get back up there again. So, we need to be more honest in our creativity and our creations.

Dave: Just a couple of months ago Chris, you released your first full-length, No Chaser. It wasn’t until I listened to it a couple of times that I realized that it was an ongoing story. What’s the theme about?

Chris: Well, it’s really about a young man who had grown up in the Christian world, and his eyes are opening up to different things. He’s also lived life by living life. You know, as you get older you experience certain things and you have questions. The first song, “Story of a Champion”, was inspired by my uncles death. He passed away in 2012. It was written in the perspective of the moment he found out that he had cancer, to the last breath he took. He was one of the strongest men I knew, as far as his faith goes. He kept saying; “I’m not worried. I’m not going nowhere. God’s got this”. I agreed; “You’re right man”. His faith was so strong. People were saying that he should be preparing. I’m like; “What? He’s going to pull out of this!”. I kept believing that up to the last minute. I kept telling him; “This is temporary. You’re not going nowhere”. He said; “I know. I’m tired, but I’m still here”. When he passed, I was like; “OK God. What happened?” There was all this faith, all this prayer. I know that death happens, but we’re always wondering about why it happens.

That wasn’t the only thing. Like, why do I love the things that You claim not to love? We all know that God loves us all, no matter what. Everybody sins, nobody on this earth is perfect. Everyone has their certain thing that they love that they shouldn’t. Whether they know it or not. It’s me trying to find myself. At the same time, I’m trying to find out who Jesus really is, to me and for me, and give it to the world.

Dave: A lot of Christians have a tough time questioning God about anything.

Chris: Oh yes, and I still do to this day. To this day! If I have a question about something or if somebody questions me – if I feel like it threatens the very core of what I believe, I’ll get kind of defensive. Even though I have those questions too. It’s hard for anybody to be challenged about something they’ve been taught and believed all their life. That’s where your faith comes in and to pull on the experiences that you know. I would hope that everyone gets that encounter and just know that Jesus is real.

Dave: You know Chris, I think that if you never released another track, I would be OK with it.

Chris: (laughs)

Dave: Because the title track from No Chaser is an absolutely perfect song.

Chris: To God be the glory. Wow! Thank you.

Dave: What about telling us more about the tune?

Chris: Well, the title of this album, No Chaser, was actually within me while I was working on No Pressure. After I finished No Pressure I already had the name No Chaser. Why? I don’t know. I found people gravitated towards “His Pain” the most on No Pressure. Everybody loved that song, but that was the song I was so scared about putting on there. I was like; “Man this is too honest”. It’s not the type of song that you hear on gospel or Christian music. I wasn’t sure that I wanted people to hear me say these certain things. But people could really relate to that. People are really yearning for things like this.

When I started work on No Chaser, some of the songs took weeks to write, while others took only minutes. Every song that I did, it was like a sigh of release when I was done.

Dave: You mean this was all bottled up inside of you?

Chris: And I didn’t even know it. “No Chaser”, to get back to your question, was one of the later songs that I did. I never thought of what a song called “No Chaser” would be, or maybe I just didn’t get what to do with it until I went through some stuff. Two of my friends died unexpectedly. Like very close friends and on top of that I was going through a very, very rough period. I remember being in the studio one day with Andre. We were going through some sounds that he had found and it sparked something in the both of us. I automatically started writing, working through my frustration, and that’s how that song was born. It all felt therapeutic and that’s how it came about.

Dave: The video that goes with “No Chaser”, is beautiful too, in a dark way. It’s almost film noir.

Chris: Oh yeah, thanks man. Both myself and Andrew Johnson, who’s Andre’s brother, a very talented family, we came up with the idea of that video, which was based on true events. These are things that people go through. We wanted to capture it and put it out there. I was scared when we finished shooting it. It was like it was too real. I’m glad that people are watching, sharing and appreciating it.

Dave: On the No Chaser release, you drew in quite a number of featured artists. What did they add to the feel of the album?

Chris: They helped to bring it to life. It absolutely couldn’t have happened without them. Each of the songs they are featured on would have been incomplete without them. I knew each of the voices that was needed to tell the story that needed to be told. Like on “Story of a Champion”, I knew the sound that I needed from Kennedy and Melissa, one that nobody else could have given to me. Those colours helped to paint this beautiful picture. “The 1ne That Got Away” with Denise Renee. She’s an amazing person, amazing writer, and an amazing person all around. She’s a storyteller and I needed that. Karina on “Falling Down”, the colour in her voice, that needed to happen right there. All I kept hearing was Javonte’ on “Yeah Yeah”. His texture and his tone, the emotion in his voice that he brings to that song, having the dark undertones. All of these songs would have been incomplete without having these guys…I hope I’m not missing anybody. (laughs)

Dave: (laughs) No, because you’ll be sure to include them all in the credits.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. I’m getting old, my mind is leaving. But even down to the musicians on No Chaser, they were necessary. The strings, the live guitars, all the horns, DJ Rick Geez on “Never Again”. They were amazing. I needed all those elements.

Dave: It sounds like you’re actually visualizing all of this as you’re in the writing process. This isn’t; “Well, this person is available. Maybe I’ll pull them in for this song”.

Chris: (laughs) Well, I still have to work on their availability and hope and pray that they’ll want to do it. Thank God that everybody I asked was down to do it. It was just destiny man. It needed to happen. I say this all the time, there’s 27 people living inside my head as I’m writing. (laughs) It sounds crazy, but it’s painting the visuals. I better stop talking before I sound even more crazy than I do right now! (laughs) But, but I’m being honest!

Dave: (laughs)… Give me your thoughts on the release of No Chaser. What kind of effect do you think it will have on people?

Chris: I pray that it will open eyes. I pray that it will awakens people, but I don’t want it to awaken them to me. My prayer is that I want them to know who it is that I’m talking about. Who it is that made me get to where I am as a man. Who is making me the man that I will be in the future. It’s not just me, it’s somebody much bigger than I. That’s the end goal that I have here.

Dave: Chris, this has been a really great having a chance to talk with you. Thanks so much.

Chris: I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It has been an absolute pleasure.

Dave: And don’t forget about winter man. Stay in LA!

Chris: Man, I plan on it and I pray for all of you who are suffering from a terrible winter. If you feel anything like me and you hate the cold, stay inside and be warm.

All of the music of Chris Jackson is available as a no-charge download on Noisetrade.

About the interviewer: Dave Hawkins is host of The Antidote, a syndicated weekly radio broadcast featuring interviews with innovative artists who share a Christian worldview. - Indie Vision Music

"Live Review: Pusha T – Metro Theatre, Sydney (05.01.16)"

Just a few weeks ago the strong contingent of hip-hop releases that kept coming throughout 2015 ended with the likes of Pusha T, who gave us Darkest Before Dawn, a ten-track prelude to his now highly anticipated third album King Push, which should be coming later this year. As strong as his first solo album, My Name is My Name was, DBD furthered Pusha T’s status as a lyrical heavyweight, and one which, unlike most, has been getting more and more intense over the years – nay, decades – he has been in the rap game.

This is a man who, similarly to emcees like Mystikal and N.O.R.E, seems to bring out the best in any producer he works with, teasing out their greatest beats, which the producers are happy to hand over because Pusha makes them sound so. damn. good. First it was Pharrell/Neptunes, then it was Kanye West, and now Timbaland seems to be absorbing Pusha’s energy, putting out some his best work in years (see: “Got ‘Em Covered”, “Untouchable”) for the highly skilled lyrical assassin to play around with.

This is why it’s always exciting to head to a Pusha T gig. You can rely on dope rhymes, dope beats, and the kind of insurmountable intensity that can only come with the perfect mix of both. My first time seeing Push live was with his partner-in-rhyme (No) Malice when they first toured here, playing the Metro Theatre, as Clipse. It remains one of the best hip-hop concerts I have seen to date, purely based on how much energy both rappers gave us in their delivery and how well that energy was mirrored in the crowd; something I rarely see from a hip hop act without a band behind them.

While Pusha’s intensity is augmented by the presence of his brother, this was by no means a deflated performance, first prefaced by a handful of contemporary, expected turn-up anthems from New York’s DJ Equal as the sole support act, and then helped along by a relentless onslaught of said dope rhymes, and said dope beats, all pushed out by a wide-eyed Pusha who really did look like someone who would knock your block off if if you dared step in his space.

DJ Rick Geez was on deck, blending the set list into each other and making the medley style really work, seamlessly floating from one beat to the other, starting with the monstrous “I Don’t Like (Remix)” and never letting that spark die down, following Pusha by jumping into “Blocka” and “Millions”, both of which were given almost full performances before another verse-only track popped up, the anthemic “Mercy”.

Pusha puts the punch in punchlines too, with a razor-sharp precision at the end of each bar, bringing the focus – refreshingly – to the verses rather than the hooks or the beats, strutting the stage like a true high-order emcee blending coke-rap with introspection, to which the crowd couldn’t have been more enthused.

Vocalist Chris Jackson popped on the stage every now and then on the assist, beefing up the more vocal-driven tracks like “Sweet Serenade” and “Runaway”, but the highlights remained the more traditional hip-hop leaning tracks, like “New God Flow”, “Nosetalgia”, and “Numbers on the Boards”, the latter serving as the close of the main set.

With his initial G.O.O.D Music era material given a comprehensive showcase, the encore was a chance for him to bring us into the new year with back-to-back brilliance from Darkest Before Dawn, starting with “Untouchable” and ending with “M.F.T.R” (one of our top tracks of 2015).

After that, it was time for Pusha to end the set the same way it started, pulling in the distorted bounce of “Move That Dope” to turn the crowd into a chaotic mosh-pit, only to calm it back down, and giving the “day one fans” a special treat, with Clipse classic “Grindin”, albeit a track that just isn’t the same without his brother.

Set List

I Don’t Like (Remix)
So Appalled
Exodus 23:1
New God Flow
Sweet Serenade
Numbers on the Boards

Crutches, Crosses, Caskets
Move That Dope
Grindin’ - The AU Review

"15 Gospel Artists to Watch in 2014"

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson
Current CD: “No Pressure" mixtape
Having penned songs for superstars like Toni Braxton, The Isley Brothers and Letoya Luckett, Jackson still calls Gospel home. His free mixtape makes Urban Gospel music viable and even more so, keeps it relevant! -



Chris Jackson is an accomplished songwriter and recording artist born and raised in New York. Jackson grew up in a strict Jamaican household where the importance of hard work and the pursuit of an education were instilled in him at a young age. While he worked hard in school, his thoughts often turned to writing songs that would touch the world. Years later, he did just that, placing a song with 6-time Grammy Award Winning artist Toni Braxton, writing the title track for her 2010 release entitled Pulse. The following year he experienced his first taste of international success with his placement “Promise This” on UK Pop sensation Cheryl Cole’s sophomore project Messy Little Raindrops. The CD & Single topped the charts at the #1 spot and were both certified platinum in the UK as well as many other countries, confirming Jackson’s international acclaim.

Chris Jackson has had the pleasure of writing for and working with some of today’s biggest artists, including Tank (title track, Stronger), Ron Isley (title track, This Song is For You), Jasmine V (That's Me Right There f/ Kendrick Lamar), and B Smyth (Leggo f/ 2 Chainz). In 2013, he released the mixtape, "No Pressure", to rave reviews from various gospel and mainstream publications. Fast Forward to 2016, the release of No Chaser, a full length free album, brings the tale of a Christian man, growing up in today's world, juggling both faith and real life issues. Recently he's been seen touring the world as a featured vocalist with hip-hop recording artist and President of G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T.

Band Members