Turner Jackson talks Star Destroyer and self-destruction
Sometimes an artist has to go deep into himself in order to produce a product built from pain, tragedy, triumph, motivation and creativity. Whenever this watershed moment happens for the greats who make and love music, the explosion is ground-shattering and usually changes the artists' repertoire forever. Turner Jackson is at this transitional point. Born of life's changes and a will to survive, Star Destroyer (slated for a Valentine's Day release) is Jackson's most pivotal material to date. We caught up with the young MC to discuss supernovas, Big J. Beats of 1984 and the science of everything in life.
Westword: The title can mean many things -- destroying the "star image," the scientific idea of destroying a star, a rebirth, etc. What exactly do you mean?
Turner Jackson: For me, Star Destroyer means many things. A star destroyer is anything that a man will let kill him or that he cannot beat. This can be violence, sex, drugs and addiction or any other knowingly destructive behavior. Stars that explode burn hot and fast, which makes them die young. Boom! Supernova. The things that a man gives into says volumes about him and his life or lack thereof. When a star in outer space has been destroyed, it produces a black hole. Inside the black hole, darkness moves faster than the speed of light. Everything in the path of the singularity is swallowed, with no remorse.
Metaphorically, without light, there is no hope. When a man or star loses its light, it must be found again. He must give up old things and old ways to become a new and improved person. The name Star Destroyer was inspired by my son, who is the star of my life. I have not seen the sun of my solar system in a long time, which tears me up inside, because pride is my own personal destroyer. I need my space, so I don't hurt anyone during the midst of my supernova.
Why Big J. Beats, specifically, to lay the foundation for such a personal project through his production?
Big J. is an awesome producer, but more than that, he is my brother. We live together, eat together, smoke together and get pissed off at each other. Who better than someone that you see every day to create the score to one's everyday life? When I'm hurting, J. is there to console me. He knows how I feel. I picked J. because my music is personal, and he knows me personally. In general, J. is a super-talented musician who doesn't work with many folk. This guy has got all types of records and instruments and drums and sounds. There isn't anything he can't do with an MPC, MIDI controller and a soul sample.
Who are you, Turner Jackson?
I'm just a black man in a big blue world trying to find my way. I'm the youngest son of Rev. Dr. Larron D. Jackson and the only son of Sandra L Warner. I am the only one of my generation in my family, so I'm a kid with a lot of pressure on him. I'm a father who loves his son, but I am still a young man who wishes to chase his dreams. I am so much more than just a rapper. Rapper is just a job title, like "librarian." Titles don't define. I'm a warrior for a good cause. I'm a hard worker, dedicated and a winner when I put my mind to it. I am full of feelings in a world that says emotions should be stowed away. I'm like a puzzle. The longer I live, I find more pieces to myself. I'm beginning to see the bigger picture.
Explain the prequel series.
Star Destroyer: The Prequel was an awesome music video shot and directed by my best friend and partner in crime Jeremy "Konsequence" Pape. It was on the project that preceded Star Destroyer: She's Gotta Have It. It was the beginning of this whole Star Destroyer thing to let you know that we have switched gears. This is what happens before a star explodes. It acts a little bit different. But let's be honest: Who doesn't like fireworks?!
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
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