Updated: Nov 6, 2020
If you thought deployment would stop rapper Jazzie Black— or Lady D for that matter — think again. The two caught up in the desert while deployed for the Air Force to discuss what it is like being a rapper in the military, women in the music industry, and who her ultimate collab would be.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. This interview aired in its entirety on August 10, 2020, on 91.3 FM WVKR. Tune in every Monday at 10 PM EST. Outside the area? Listen via the TuneIn or Simple Radio app by searching WVKR.
Lady D: It’s your girl, Lady D, and I’m here, finally, with Jazzie Black. I’m so excited because I’ve been low-key huntin' you down. I was out at this smoke pit, which is not an actual building or a club; it’s just what we do. We go out there, drink our lil 3 drinks and play spades. These people were so excited to tell me about you! They’re like, "this girl she raps, she tells these stories," they’re just, "it’s amazing," and I’m like, "ok, somebody put me on.” So I’m so excited to finally be able to interview somebody in person. ‘Cause I haven’t, since COVID, been able to sit down with somebody. So now we’re here. How are you?
Jazzie Black: I’m doing well. How are you?
Lady D: I’m OK. I’m glad thank you. So let’s get into it. Was there a defining moment where you said to yourself, like, yes, I’m a rapper, and this is what I’m gonna do?
Jazzie Black: Yeah, there were plenty of moments. I used to do a lot of talent shows growing up. But, until I joined the military and I started meeting more friends and they started telling me, “oh, you’re good,” you know. And I was just having fun at first, “oh, you’re good; you should definitely do this.” And then I started recording myself and listening to myself, and then I realized, "I’m really dope, this is me; this is what I want to do." And ever since then, I just started rapping.
Lady D: And how long ago was that?
Jazzie Black: About two years.
Lady D: So when people think you have to be a rapper since you were 6 and stuff, like none of that applies?
Jazzie Black: No.
Lady D: So how do you feel about the nature of the music business for women?
Jazzie Black: I feel as though, as if we’re changing, we have so many people at the forefront of us, for me, especially. We have the Cardi B’s, the Megan The Stallion’s, the Saweetie’s, and the Rapsody’s; they’re paving the way for us. They have their own niche, I guess, you know. Some of them talk about different things than I personally might talk about, but it’s showing that this career field is not just male-dominated. We have a say, so; we’ll pave the way. We’re knockin’ down the walls. We’re making our own pavement.
Lady D: I like how you mentioned the two different styles of song. There doesn’t need to be a divide there. We’re all just making music. Who are your influences?
Jazzie Black: I tell a lot of people this, I have male and female influences. The majority of mine are Blues because that’s just what I grew up with. Jackie Neil, BB King. But I love Cardi. I love Rapsody. I love some MC Lite. Whitney. It’s like a melting pot for me; there are so many things and so many people, they do something, and I love it. I feel this way a lot.
Lady D: If you could collab with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Jazzie Black: That would definitely be Whitney. Definitely, hands down. Hands down.
Lady D: That is a different one. I usually don’t hear that one. That’s a good one. Do you have a favorite producer?
Jazzie Black: Timbaland. I love Timbaland.
Lady D: That’s crazy that you said that because he made a beat recently using one of my boyfriend's samples, and he put Whitney Houston behind it. If you could venture into another genre, what would that be?
Jazzie Black: It would be rock. It would definitely be Rock & Roll. Just the atmosphere, the tone that they set. You know, people rock out, they don’t care if nobody’s looking, and they have fun. I feel like that’s something I’d definitely be into and gravitate towards. I love the energy! It’s amazing. You could feel it from your toes all the way up to your ears. I love the energy.
Lady D: On your Instagram, you describe yourself as a military rapper. What are some pros and cons of being in the military as a rapper?
Jazzie Black: Well, some of the good things about it are that different people come from — they have different backgrounds — they come from different regions. So when you’re in the military, you get to meet them, so there’s a way for you to share your music make your insight about your music, getting to know different people that way you have different things to talk about. Also, there’s a lot of seminars you might go to when you start off younger and ranking, you start making rank, and you learn how to speak in front of people so they can help you when it comes to articulating your words. There’s a lot of lessons that you can learn in the military and also apply it to just rapping in general. Some of the bad things would be... Maybe your coworkers or leadership, they don’t know that thin line between who you are when you get off work and who you are when you are at work. So I’m Jazzie Black when I’m off work, but when I'm actually working, I'm Devons. I act completely differently, and sometimes that line can be blurred. Also, there’s a lot of things that you cannot talk about that you cannot associate yourself with. Even though that might be a part of your life, you can’t let that be known, and sometimes that can hinder you because people can’t relate to you because you’re in the military. At the same time, people kind of understand—it kind of works out sometimes.
Lady D: What are some of your hobbies?
Jazzie Black: Anything dealing with my art side coming out. I like painting, poetry, I love writing songs, I love doing hair, and I also love chillin’ with my family and friends.
Lady D: I think you’re really funny, too. I was in the day room yesterday like, “oh, she’s funny!” Some rappers cross over, and so some acting, and I was like that would totally work for her.
Jazzie Black: I’m down with whatever!
Lady D: Can we expect a project from you in the near future?
Jazzie Black: Oh, most definitely. Since I’ve been here, I’m working on a project I have now called Operation Ammo. It’s going to be so dope. I have different genres that I have on there, music I’m doing here because I’m deployed, so there’s a lot of things that I’m seeing, and I want to grasp it and make people understand it. Plus, when you deploy, who doesn’t want some type of music you can listen to because your girl back home or your husband back home trippin’?
Lady D: As the Stereo Poet, your music is deep. I heard some heavy subject matter. Is that a lane you intend to stick to, or are there some love songs, some club bangers on there?
Jazzie Black: My go-to is more so of the whole deep trends like I went through this, but I’m good. That’s typically what I love to do; however, I’m sticking my toe in the water, and I do have some R&B and some club bangers that will be on Operation Ammo. I’m just trying to show that I’m versatile, you know?
Lady D: If you could go back in time to the beginning of your musical journey, what would you tell yourself?
Jazzie Black: Keep going. Don’t worry about what they’re talking about. When you first start, you have influencers, and sometimes everybody thinks, “oh, they made it there overnight,” but they didn’t. Sometimes it can be discouraging. I kind of allowed other people and their opinions to knock me off a lot of things that I wanted to do. I feel like a lot of opportunities I missed out on because I was worried about what they said. Now I’m at the point where I’m dope, I know I’m dope, and either you love me, or you love me. I wish I had the same attitude two years ago when I started.
Lady D: Thank you for sitting down with me. Is there anything you want to say to the people?
Jazzie Black: If you guys aren’t following me on my social media, follow my Instagram @jazzieblackkkk. Four K’s. Go ahead and download my music and stream it. It’s on all platforms. Shout out to In the Field Radio! This is so amazing. I’m so glad I got this opportunity to sit with you, and I hope this is not the last time we do this.