“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.
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“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.”