Jay Stash, the first thing that comes to mind from a mention of his name, is beef. In the early and mid-2000s, Jay Stash was known for being the most forthright rapper in the game.
His highly publicised beef with Skwatta Kamp, H20, Snazz D, Pitch Black Afro, Mr Selwyn saw him becoming the movement’s biggest foeman and a target for every other rapper who felt like ranting. The way he handled himself during the whole saga, lost him loads and loads of fans, street cred, entourage, deals and respect from nearly the entire industry.
Lets rewind a bit to when the whole beef began. Jay Stash was that go to guy and one of the humble rappers in the game. Out of nowhere and with no warning or hint of things, Jay Stash drops a diss track, You Can’t Touch Me , aimed at the leaders of the culture and his friends, Skwatta Kamp. The reaction to this, was somewhat hysterical, from the disbelief of what Jay Stash just did. The airwaves went crazy; When called upon to answer the endless questions almost the entire fraternity had, Jay Stash added more blocks on top of the wall he put between himself and the movement.
These went on for a while, leading to Hype Magazine and YFM using their resources to try and fumegate the beef which got a bit too personal. (Strong words were exchanged about parents, girlfriends etc.)
Flash forward to years later, Jay Stash drops his first studio album, We Keep Marching, with different sounds and features outside his scope. How is the reception? The movement does not easily forget but warming up to him.
The first single off the album featuring Bricks, is categorised as Kwaito and not Hip Hop. SA Hip Hop Awards organisers ‘overlooks’ the album on any of the categories, to which Jay deemed unfair, as he expected to be nominated for at least one based on the grind that resulted to the album. He then released a long statement on his popular facebook account.
If we look back to why Jay did the diss track, we will realize that it was all in the name of the game. Jay felt that there are certain artists and groups rotating on radio and television, and are leaving no space for the rest of the artists who are bringing in the same amount of dedication, hustle and quality music. He released the diss track, to challenge these ‘commercially popular faction’, without calculation of what might happen afterwards.
Before releasing the track, Jay had three options, the first was to stay humble and accept the way things were structured, the second was to pay payola and get air play as much as he wants, and lastly was to challenge the CPF. Which ofcourse he went for the former.
Jay and all rappers involved did smoke the peace pipe, but he however still stood and believe what he did made sense at the time. By now it is a known fact that, a man’s self esteem is built around his decision making process and skill, when undermined, it suffers.
As we head into a new year, we all become a year older, and fancy the idea of personal improvement in the new year. Here are some of lessons we can take, that relates to Jay Stash’s story that will give us the needed attitude adjustment for the new year.
“I stare at my reflection in the mirror: Why am I doing this to myself? Losing my mind on a tiny error, I nearly left the real me on the shelf. No, no, no, no, no… Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars! Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing, It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart. Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising, Just be true to who you are!” ― Jessie J.
Sometime after the beef Jay Stash revealed of the new lifestyle changes and the drama happening in his life led to ending his life becoming an option. – As much as you must leave room for disappointment, when things don’t go your way, don’t waste time mourning or pointing out things didn’t go the way you planned it.
The past catching up
Jay Stash’s image, music and every move he does will forever be viewed from the memory of the time of the beef, him reflecting and sharing his story (#MyStory Updates on his Facebook account in September 2014) shows growth and refusal of that framing his capabilities today – Past experience doesn’t go away, so the secret is to accept, embrace and learn from it. However the key to the secret, is to keep it at bay and be open minded about the future from the second after the experience and never let the experience be the bar or commission of anything thereafter.
Keeping up with the passion
It is quite evident from which era Jay Stash is from, the Golden Era, this era was predominantly based on the love of the culture and not the wings given to it. Rappers were highly influenced by their solely love of Hip Hop, what other people think of them was not close to any of their worries. – Never forget why you should win or achieve your goals and dreams. Once you feel you are losing purpose in the process, remind yourself why you saw the need to begin in the first place, let that drive you.
Getting back up
If you have fallen down, you cannot go further down, so pick yourself up and aim high, you’ve got nothing to lose. – The industry sees many stars crush down everyday, and they insist on waiting for the industry to come running after them. Jay Stash amidst everything worked on arguably one of the best SA hip hop albums in years.