Exclusive Keith Jacobs Interview
Rising star Keith Jacobs is cooler than your favorite lean-sipping, silky blouse-wearing singer. He might even be cooler than your favorite tat-scribbled rapper. Maybe it’s his super chill demeanor or enviable style or panty-melting infusion of Screw music and R&B (Trill&B) that makes him so wavy but we’ll leave that for you to decide.
We caught up with the Houston-bred crooner and talked everything from his saucy “Still Tippin” EP to Carl Thomas’ mink coats to his refusal to join the #LawrenceHive. Oh yes, it’s lit, and he was nice enough to bless us with exclusive visuals from his “Let’s Chill” video and a personal playlist dripping with fire jams.
Tell us how it all started…
“I did a talent show (as a Southern U. student) and played the piano and everybody was enamored by everything we did. So, I won the show and then from there it’s like, man, people are really liking what I’m doin so lemme go head and pursue this music for real. So, from there we put out a mixtape and it just was crazy the kind of following we got and from then on we’ve been doing music ever since”
Why do you think it took a little longer for you to really feel like that was what you were meant to do?
“With technology and social media, everybody thinks they’re an artist, everybody thinks they’re doing something, everybody thinks they’re the next big thing so, for me, I wanted to kinda lean and go a different route… my family was really strong on education so I went to school to really get that and get into the work force and really understand how to not just depend on the talent but to depend on my brain. So, for me, it was like, OK, I’m doing both at the same time but really at school I learned like, man, I can really do music full-time if I use my brain the right way and position myself the right way”
Who inspired you?
“I’m a ’90s baby so all that old school ’90s R&B music, man, Bad Boy kept me goin…like Guy–Teddy Riley, Dru Hill, 112, Jagged Edge, even like the old school vets now Carl Thomas–I remember Carl Thomas was singing in the rain with a mink coat on so that, right there, man, I can do that! So, that really helped me understand R&B is not just about the singing but really encompassing your emotions into the music because now anybody can sing. It’s more about the emotions behind what you’re saying and what you’re doing and how you get your audience to engage in your story”
When we listened to the (“Still Tippin”) EP you had a crazy transition between “Shame On You” and “Lonely” where you incorporated Screw? Can you talk about how you incorporated Screw (into your music) and made it fresh for you?
“I grew up in the heart of Screw culture–being from Houston those great Screw tapes were things we lived by. So, from Screwed Up Clique all the way down to DJ Michael Watts that’s apart of our culture so incorporating that into my music was easy cuz that’s all I know… so from an R&B standpoint I really wanted to tell my story and tell my art in a different kind of way and pay homage to Screw culture…
(Hold up, Keith wasn’t finished…)
“This whole “Still Tippin” vibe–I just moved back to Houston not too long ago so the art behind this project is about me (or anybody) continuing to pursue their dream so even though we sampled that “Still Tippin” from Mike Jones, Slim Thug and Paul Wall it’s about every single day when you wake up in the morning, you pushin and you’re tippin a lil bit closer to something you’re pushing for. It could be love, it could be money, it could be your career, it could be whatever, but, for me, I tried to shake this music a whole bunch of times and I tried to fight it, give up on it, but I can’t. So, “Still Tippin” is about love but it’s my passion and love for this music and I cant shake it and I gotta be close to it at all times”
What other Houston artists do you want to work with?
“Man, all of them. Right now, Houston is on the come up from DJ Chose to Slim Thug, the OGs–Sauce Walka, Doughbeezy, Propain so I feel like right now Houston is making a unified front more than we’ve ever been before and think we’re making a lot of noise and you’ll see Indie artists start making noise together”
One of our staff members loves your haircut and you were talking about Carl Thomas wearing mink in the rain (and he loved wearing turtlenecks for whatever reason)? Could you talk about potentially being a style icon? Do you think about branding?
“Yes, absolutely, so being an artist now you have to be engaged in all that, especially being an Indie artist, with social media you have to be on at all times… you’re a walking billboard at all times so, for me, art, fashion, music–all that is synonymous, all of it goes together, I’m really conscious about my hair, I’ve been working on a lot of different haircare campaigns–and my beard, and my fashion, all of that really tells my complete story”
For the fellow beardsmen, what would you recommend to really get the beard to the R&B singer level like yourself?
“I can’t give you everything BUT, for me, my beard regimen is A1 so Shea Moisture beard wash–EVERYTHING–it’s a mustmustmust have for anybody who has a beard–it’s gonna have you smelling good and really keep your beard clean. That’s one, then two: As I Am coco shea spray and I can go on the record with this–As I Am, man, their haircare products are phenomenal. As I Am coco shea spray–I use that on my beard because it’s light, it’s not too abrasive on your skin and it gives you a nice lil shine and keeps your beard healthy”
As an R&B singer I’m sure you get a lot of female attention, so…do you slide in DMs (you know it’s BOSSIP so we gotta ask a few spicy questions)?
“(laughs) I’m more of a face-to-face person because one thing about the internet–the internet is undefeated and the internet will not lose (laughs) so, for me as an artist I try to be really conscious about everything I do”
You KNOW I gotta ask you what side you’re on (#TeamIssa vs. #TeamLawrence) and why?
“I am not Team Lawrence and I’ll tell you why (laughs)–first of all, shout out to Issa–she’s doing some crazy cool things for the culture and really putting things in a different light, different kind of spin for us so I think what’s doing is much needed…
But Lawrence is an f-boy and Imma tell you why–check it out–I think he’s more lost than Issa because he doesn’t know what he wants and I think this is probably why some women are so volatile now because of people like him. He teeters back-and-forth and doesn’t know if he wants to be a f#@$ n#@a or go out and be a hoe or have a relationship and he’s so counter-reactive when he gets ready to do something and I’m like, c’mon bruh, if you gon’ do it commit to it and the world would be a better place if you stop walking that line”
What’s next for Keith Jacobs?
“Right now, we’re getting back into working on the next project. Imma be in Atlanta for the BMI Awards and just really creating, man, we’re taking this on the road to shows between Texas and Atlanta, upcoming dates will be posted soon. But we’re just trying to work and push our culture forward with the sound that we got”