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Ellicott City rapper JayMoney Hackett embraces his Howard County roots in his first album

Jay Hackett, an Ellicott City rapper known onstage as JayMoney Hackett, released his first album, “Legacy,” on Friday.

The album, produced by Rube Rice and II Nyce Studio, has 10 songs on it that focus on Hackett’s Howard County roots.

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“The music is definitely about solidifying my mark not just in Howard County but in the local hip-hop scene,” said Hackett, 28. “I’m forming myself and who I am through this project.”

Hackett spends his days as a special education paraeducator at Bellows Spring Elementary School in Ellicott City. At night, the Ellicott City resident performs in the Baltimore area.

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While Hackett has released projects and mixtapes in the past, this release is his first full album. Back in January, Hackett released his fourth project, “JAYDAY II.”

Hackett began working on his album toward the end of January. He said he was putting the pieces together in his head of what an album would look like.

“It took some time to put the idea together [in my head],” Hackett said. “In July, I randomly decided I wanted to complete the album.”

Part of the motivation for the album was sparked by nationwide Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, including one Hackett helped organize in Western Howard County in June.

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“[I helped organize the protest] because this is my area. If anything is going to go down, I’m going to be a part of it,” he said.

The protests pushed Hackett back in the direction of his music — he had something new he could write about.

“It’s something I’ve been aware of forever, but I’ve been using that in my music a little bit more,” he said. “[The] things that [were] going down made me want to talk about [racial issues] more in my music.”

That’s where Rube Rice, a Towson resident and music producer of 22 years, came into the picture.

Rice worked with Hackett in the studio once or twice a week to record, making the complete recording of the album in about two months. That was quicker than many, according to Rice, who said artists usually average three to six months for the recording process.

“Depending on what type of artist you’re working with or genre of music depends on how long an album or project could take,” said Rice, 46.

Rice said that process was easier than most since Hackett was prepared; he just had to guide Hackett through.

“Each artist is different [and] each artist works differently, so it’s a new experience each time,” Rice said. “This particular time with Jay, he seemed to know exactly what he wanted coming through the door.”

Hackett expressed a similar sentiment with his music. Every song on the “Legacy” album has some kind of reference or mention of Howard County. Just like he is part of Howard, it’s part of him, too, he said.

That’s something that’s clear in the second song on the album, “In The House”:

“You see HoCo’s in the house, without a doubt. They say I’m doing it for clout, but it ain’t what I’m about. You see HoCo’s in the house, without a doubt. Negative or positive, my name is always in their mouth.”

In the title song “Legacy,” Hackett talks about how he embraces his hometown and how he knows there’s still work left to be done.

“It really takes a lot to put a city on your back. Gotta earn respect before your people will have your back.”

Rice said that hometown representation is crucial to gaining support locally and eventually nationally.

“When [Hackett] represents HoCo and Howard County, that’s a good thing because a lot of people won’t do that,” Rice said. “He has a lot of pride in where he comes from. That’s very good, especially in hip-hop.”

Hackett said there’s too much conflation that regional representation and hometown representation is the same. Living and working 25 minutes from Baltimore, Hackett said it would be simple for him to shout out a major city recognized by anyone in the country. But he makes it clear that he’s not from Baltimore, he’s from Howard.

“Repping the hometown ain’t no phase,” Hackett said. “I could move to Beverly Hills and blow up, and best believe I’m going to shout of HoCo or [area code] 410 on the track.”

“Legacy” is available now on all streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

Jay Hackett, an Ellicott City rapper known onstage as JayMoney Hackett, has released his first album, “Legacy.”
Jay Hackett, an Ellicott City rapper known onstage as JayMoney Hackett, has released his first album, “Legacy.” (Courtesy photo)

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