Jeff Lucky
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Jeff Lucky

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop




"Soul Motivator helps Charlotte teens achieve goals."

It was a soul motivating experience recently when hip hop artist and filmmaker Jeff Lucky hosted a group of about 20 teens at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in a seminar of sorts intended to help them identify their goals and pinpoint the obstacles that could stand in the way of achieving them.

Lucky, a Charlotte native, now lives in Los Angeles, where he’s learned a few things about survival as he struggles to make a name for himself in the often unforgiving world of popular music. But the self-described “Soul Motivator,” (which is also the name of his recently released debut album) had already been down a tough path before his music began to emerge on the cultural landscape.

He’s blending his own experiences in overcoming hardship to reach out to kids in his hometown to affect change and inspire hope.

“Refuse to be denied,” says Lucky, born Jeff Moonie Jr. “It doesn’t matter what obstacles get put in front of you.”

Lucky, sporting his trademark oversized shamrock necklace, laid out the game plan for the two-hour work session, which included teens from varied backgrounds representing public and private schools from a broad geographic swath of Charlotte.

Each of the kids was advised to write down a personal goal, and then identify five obstacles he or she envisions hindering the reaching of that goal.

Lucky is only too familiar with roadblocks. His company, SummerSoul Records, was formerly helmed by his sister, Cherica “Summer” Adams. A hitman hired by former Panther Rae Carruth fatally shot Adams in 1999, just as Lucky’s career began to flicker to life. His father, Jeff Sr., stepped in to take control of the business, only to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. The elder Jeff Moonie died in 2005, just two weeks after Lucky released a documentary film, “Donor,” about the final months of his father’s life.

The film went on to win first prize that year at the Ashville Film Festival. Lucky bears a tattoo of his father’s name in calligraphy on his right forearm. Though his personal losses resulted in a “hiatus” in his career, he plumbed his inner strength and he's working on another film project in LA while performing and promoting “Soul Motivator” with unabashed enthusiasm.

“It’s all about survival,” Lucky says.

The teens’ ambitions ranged from attending tumbling camp to becoming a better cheerleader to paying for summer classes in forensic anthropology at Central Piedmont Community College. One teen, 13-year-old Diana Aries Villatoro, simply wants to become the first person in her family to go to college.

Diana is the oldest of five children. She identified a major obstacle immediately: money.

“I know I’m also going to have to make good grades and score well on the SATs,” the soft spoken MLK eighth grader says. “I’m making all As and Bs this year.”

The kids will be given two weeks to write an essay explaining their ambitions and how they plan to make them come true. Lucky and his team will award a first prize of $500 for the winning essay. He will post the name of the winner on his Facebook page.

“We don’t dream, we scheme,” Lucky says, repeating his personal mantra as he works the crowd. “That’s our motto.” - Crossroads Charlotte

"Jeff Lucky: Fox Charlotte interview"

CHARLOTTE, NC – It’s taken over 10 years, but hip-hop singer Jeff Lucky says he’s rediscovered his love for music. “This is my album where I talk about my trials, my obstacles, and basically, how I overcame it,” Lucky says. In 1999, his sister Cherica Adams, pregnant with Panthers Wide Receiver Rae Carruth’s baby was shot four times. Jeff says he didn’t just lose his sister; she was also his best friend, and manager. “Creatively, I slammed right into the wall, I went through a period of time where I couldn't write anything, I couldn't come up with lyrics, I couldn't write a story, I couldn't do anything,” Lucky says. He decided to seek help from friends and family, including his dad. “He basically told me to focus on the things that you like to do and let it come back naturally, so I started boxing, starting playing piano, just reading everything I could get my hands on,” he says. Jeff moved to LA two years ago and began working on his debut album titled “Soul Motivation.” He’s also put together a special tribute for his sister titled, “Dear Summer.” “Summer” was Cherica’s nickname. Jeff says today he's moved on and doesn't follow Rae Carruth and his efforts for another trial. Looking to start the next chapter of his life, while honoring one of his biggest influences. - Fox Charlotte

"Local Leak: In Studio With Jeff Lucky"

Making a left into a dimly-lit industrial area just past Tremont Music Hall late on a Friday night, you’d probably expect to stumble upon a B&E, much less a recording session.

Checking the address twice, I parked outside Charles Holloman Productions and after getting buzzed into the building, I’m instantly blown away by the inside. It’s pretty lush, no way you could tell from the outside. Walking past two women doing vocal warm-ups in the hallway, one of them points me towards the studio, “Jeff’s in there.”

Charlotte native and indie hip-hop performer, Jeff Lucky, is back in town from L.A., where he moved a few years ago, to wrap up production on his next album, Soul Motivation, due out later this year on SummerSoul Records.

Opening the studio door, there’s about a dozen people on the other side, not saying a word, all nodding approvingly to the alto sax player currently in the booth improvising over the instrumental that’s blaring through the speakers. Other session musicians fiddle around with their instruments and are packing up — guess I missed that part.

The sax player is done, or so he thinks. He comes out the booth to PGA Tour-esque applause shaking his head saying, “I love that booth.”

I’d slipped in pretty much under the radar with everyone focused on the music. Explaining to the few that inquire, “I’m with CL,” all just nod and move on. Lucky turns around and daps me up again with a strange look on his face saying, “What’s your name again? You look familiar.” We had never met.


Lucky, who made a name for himself years ago as part of the Charlotte hip-hop duo, DPS (Dirty Pretty Shit), goes back to tweaking the session musicians. Sipping on Bacardi Select, he explains what he’s looking for. He’s winding down. Determining where ad libs will go with the audio engineer on hand and trying to figure out how much time he has left. There’s only two hours left in this recording session and it’s supposed to be his last one. That doesn’t stop him from posing for pictures with a professional photographer randomly wandering around the studio like a club on Friday night.

As they get the booth ready for the next person in, the engineer on hand flexes his music geek muscle breaking into a discussion about the equipment they’re using it’s relation to the former East and West Germany. Chicks on the couch dish about nail salons and iPhones with empty cups and Rolling Stone magazines all over the table, until the saxophonist is ready to record again.

Over a smooth instrumental, the sax player is looking like the breakout star of the session. He’s been getting everything in one take and this track is no different. Lucky turns around to say,”that dude sounds wonderful!” and everybody agrees. Lucky continues to gush about how lovely the dude sounds.

With that portion wrapped up. Lucky, wearing a Marvin the Martian shirt, explains he loves how Marvin has an ice grill without even having a face, as the booth is setup again. Another round of applause starts up for the backing band and vocalists who’ve wrapped for the evening. The clock is ticking but Lucky still poses for pictures with his session musicians and works out details for them to work together again in the future.

The engineer breaks things up to mention there’s missing audio files from the session, Lucky doesn’t seem to sweat it. His positivity is setting the tone for the whole session and everybody seems to be vibing with it, including a backing vocalist who’s apologetic for being under the weather.

As Lucky gets in the booth to record some ad libs, the band breaks out, except for the sax player. Side conversations about times we’ve been robbed. (My car had been broken into the night before) and stories of dumb shit we did in college are shared.

Lucky takes no time to do his part, then plays some unfinished cuts from the album for everybody in the room. It sounds good — great even. You never know what to expect from Charlotte music sometimes but thankfully, it doesn’t sound remotely local. Even if the production was jumping out more than the lyrics. Between Coke and green tea chased alcohol, he shares the back story on all the songs he’s playing for us. It makes sense but I have to jump in when he gets to one track in particular saying, “that can’t be the single.”

“Oh no!” says Lucky with laughs all around. That one was way too deep to be radio-friendly. Everything seems to be done, but with time left and recording time already bought, they try and figure out how to burn it. Didn’t take long before the saxophonist is back in the booth to have him “sprinkle” on a couple more tracks as the producer put it. He still sounds good.

Everybody’s packing up, content with the fact they’ll need another recording session, another day to finish up and trying to figure out their next move for the night, harping on what’s on the radio now (everyone has an opinion of Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame) and once we’re in the park - Creative Loafing

"The Life Death and Rebirth of hip hop artist/filmmaker Jeff Lucky"

Throughout his career, filmmaker and hip-hop artist Jeff Lucky has lived, died and lived again.

His story has played out in every medium imaginable — from newspapers and magazines (including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated) to television shows (on networks like Fox News and CNN) and film.

Owner of the production company Dark Prometheus Films, he finds inspiration in the Greek god who brought fire to man — and as punishment, was bound to a rock where an eagle ate away his liver every day. "The whole metaphor of Prometheus ... it's not literally just giving fire, it's giving enlightenment, knowledge, culture, information — giving of oneself to the people," he says. "I don't focus on the fact that he had to sacrifice for the people; I focus more on the fact that no matter how many times the eagle ate away his liver, it always [came] back."

Lucky the filmmaker was a top finalist in the Independent Film Channel's Absolut World Filmmaking Challenge for his short film Little Mama, and he was recognized by the Sundance Institute for his short When It Hurts. A recent project, Power: The Seven Day Theory, was a 2010 quarterfinalist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. He has also written for television and says he still gets e-mails from fans in countries as diverse as The Netherlands, Spain and France for his work on a hit series that aired in 2009 (more on that later).

Lucky the hip-hop artist has been making music since 1993. A former member of the rap crew DPS (Dirty Pretty Shit), he is now president of the independent label SummerSoul Records. On Jan. 11, 2011, he released his first solo album, Soul Motivation, a project he calls "the end of my beginning."
He lived

Three girls, one boy, a mama and a daddy. Namesake to his father, Lucky was born Jeff Moonie Jr. Growing up, his role model was Jack Kemp, the NFL player turned politician. Lucky imagined he could be like Kemp someday, except football didn't work out. While listening to groups like NWA and A Tribe Called Quest, he found young black men who understood where he was coming from, who got him.

Drawn to the feeling of empowerment the music and lyrics gave him, Lucky decided music was as good a way as any to get his point across and effect change. He started calling himself a rapper. But a conversation with his sister, Cherica Adams, made him challenge the notion of who — and what — he was.

"I had a car ride with my sister, my late sister, that changed my life," he says. "I was riding with her, and I said, 'Yeah, I'm a rapper. I'm going to make films and I'm a rapper too.' And she was like, 'If you're a rapper, what are you doing?' And I didn't have an answer. And so when I couldn't answer, she was like, 'If you're not doing anything — you're not making songs, you're not trying to get on — you might as well not do it at all.' And she turned around and picked up a Vibe magazine, and she booked me a record and film seminar in Atlanta."

Adams and Lucky soon took a road trip down to the ATL, where he freestyled for Dallas Austin's producers (the same Austin who has produced music for artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, TLC and Gwen Stefani) and rapped for Shakir Stewart, the former executive vice president of Def Jam Records. "[Cherica] actually dropped everything that she was doing to manage me," Lucky says. "When she dropped me in the mix like that, we were making serious contacts. But me being a teenager then, I didn't understand how long it takes for the whole process to work itself out."

Though he was unprepared for how long things took ("I thought that if you go to Dallas Austin's studio and you know somebody in there," he recounts, "that, aye, you should have a CD out in two months.") Lucky says he thrived on the experience. But soon after Adams put him on the music scene, tragedy struck and his life spiraled out of control.

He died

Two girls, one boy, a mama and a daddy. In 1999, Adams was murdered by a hitman hired by former Charlotte Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth. "Everything was just derailed," says Lucky. "We had a lot of momentum, I was meeting people, we were making music and then after that, it was just nothing. It was just me sitting around looking like 'What happened'?"

A national spectacle drawn out over radio and airwaves, including three months on Court TV, is what happened. Lucky says the experience drove him into a deep hole and left him unable to create. "When you have something like that played out in front of everyone, and you have people approaching you — you know, I had to turn on the radio and hear people say all manner of vile things about my sister after she was already deceased — it makes you so bitter toward the public in general, that you don't wanna give them anything at all.

"I didn't create for years after my sister was killed. I couldn't even write an Irish limerick," he says. "And it's because you feel like all - Creative Loafing

"Jeff Lucky: Finding Soul Motivation"

In the age of Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em and Waka Flaka Flame, the state of Hip Hop remains the subject of much debate.

Some have gone as far as to say the musical art form once known for its conscious lyrics is now dead. Rap artist Jeff Lucky disagrees.

“Hip Hop was here before all of us, so we can’t destroy it,” he said. “Hip Hop is fine. There are a lot of people making good music right now. It’s just a question of what you are exposed to. If you only listen to the radio, then you may miss some things.” recently sat down with the Charlotte native to discuss his life and the release of his first full-length solo album, Soul Motivation, which was released last month under his independent label Summersoul Records.

Lucky, born Jeff Moonie Jr., is a far cry from the stereotypical rapper. No big-faced watch. No iced-out gold chain. He has a style all his own. With his mane picked out into a wild curly afro or tamed down with braids, you will often find him dressed casually in his signature color -- green -- and sporting a T-shirt donning his black shamrock logo.

With Soul Motivation, he said he wanted to create a soulful Hip Hop album that fans can listen to from beginning to end. He wants listeners to be inspired and walk away feeling they know everything about him without ever having to ask him a question.

“I feel like, when I talk about my experiences, you will get something from it,” he said. “You will find a way to relate to it because it’s all about overcoming and getting through things.”

The message of turning tragedy into triumph is a reoccurring them in Lucky’s music.

He candidly raps about a dark period in his life when he felt as if he were “dying on the vine.” He admits to drinking as much as a fifth of liquor daily.

It was near the end of 1999, after his sister, Cherica “Summer” Adams, was murdered. She was pregnant at the time with a child fathered by former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth, who is currently in prison for conspiring in her murder.

Lucky said he was devastated. “I didn’t handle it well,” he said. “I started indulging in some reckless behavior. There was a lot of drinking.”

Adams had been the one who encouraged Lucky to pursue his musical aspirations. He said she sacrificed everything, including her career in real estate, to manage his rap group, DPS, and help them record their first album.

After her death, Lucky said he lost his ability to be creative and stopped making music for several years.

He credits his late father, Jeff Moonie Sr., with helping him get his life back on track. His father encouraged him to focus on the positive things in life and engage himself in the things he enjoyed.

Following his father’s advice, Lucky began boxing, taking piano lessons and became an avid reader. Soon he found the inspiration and motivation to get back to writing, not only music but screenplays as well.

He learned a valuable lesson. “You have to appreciate the people around you,” he said. “But you have to know that if you don’t have anyone or anything else to rely on, you have to be able to look inside and lean on your soul.”

That lesson came in handy when he lost his father to bone cancer a few years later.

Before his father passed, Lucky documented the progression of his illness in the movie “Donor,” which won first place in the 2005 Asheville Film Festival.

“When I lost my father, instead of falling back off the cliff again, I gathered myself and used it for motivation and fuel to keep moving,” said Lucky.

In 2008, Lucky moved to Los Angeles, where he continued making music, writing screenplays and working in film.

He was tapped to write “Read Between the Lines” for an episode of Cold Case. The episode, which was named after his song and based on its lyrics, was one of the highest rated of the season for CBS.

Now, splitting his time between the east and west coasts, Lucky continues to pursue his dreams, but he does not consider himself a dreamer.

“We don’t dream; we scheme,” he said. “Dreamers take naps and have fantastic visions. Schemers plot and plan, they move and groove to make a way when there is no way.” - QC Metro


Love Letters The EP
Date With Destiny-Single (streaming)
Turnout-Single (radio)
Black Girl-Single (streaming)
Soul Glo- Single (radio)
Soul Motivation - LP
Needles-Single (radio)
All In Pt. 2 -Single (radio)
1 Way Ticket - Single (radio)



If “Luck” is when preparation meets opportunity, then “Lucky” must be the only way to describe Jeff Lucky (Jeff Moonie, Jr.) the hard working multi talented MC from the Queen City, Charlotte, NC. With soulful production and sharp lyrics the man nicknamed “The Black Shamrok” accurately describes his style as “soul music translated through hip hop.”

Lucky started rapping as a teen and released the Charlotte underground classic Love Letters the EP with his group DPS. Lucky has also written for major television penning all of the battle lyrics and original songs for the “Read Between The Lines Episode,” of Cold Case on CBS. The episode was one of the highest rated of the season and Lucky made history when the title song he composed became the first original song to play over the case solving montage at the episode’s conclusion.
Lucky's most recent release is his debut solo album, the aptly titled Soul Motivation which chronicles his journey from Charlotte to Los Angeles, (where he currently splits his time) as he rediscovered his passion for hip hop. Lucky took a classic approach to the album, not only in the time spent crafting the songs but the packaging as well. Giving maximum value to the consumer the CD includes a 12 page booklet along with images and lyrics for every song. Already garnering fans literally from coast to coast people often remark that Soul Motivation “speaks to them.” Combining equal parts passion and intelligence with a turbulent life story that saw him experience the loss of several loved ones, including the murder of his sister/manager Cherica “Summer” Adams (for whom his label SummerSoul Records is named) Lucky’s music is honest, raw and relatable.

In addition to music Lucky is also an award winning filmmaker, directing and editing all of his own music videos and having won Best Documentary distinction for his movie Donor. He has also been nationally recognized as a quarterfinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship (The Academy of Motion Pictures) as a screenwriter. Lucky’s production is handled completely in house by his musical partner Brice Lampkin, and his production team The BrainTrust which includes himself and fellow SummerSoul Records artist Jorge Wesly.