If you name your first project The 11th Hour, it stands to reason that you know a little bit about biding your time. About five years ago a high school kid in Delaware was tenaciously on his pre-Twitter hustle blowing my phone up. He was one of hundreds of producers vying to get into Scratch magazine’s Hydrosonics column. He was making music as part of a program called Bassline Entertainment and was rapping under the name Miraculous. Thankfully, his crew had music good enough to warrant his persistence, so after finally connecting we arranged the interview. In his profile he told our good friend Celia San Miguel about making beats using allergy pills. “I didn’t have a shaker. I had what I had and knew what I wanted it to sound like,” he said in the article. “I was just using what I had at my disposal.”
Five years later another mutual friend, MTV’s Jayson Rodriguez has arranged a reunion of sorts. Rechristening himself Mike Jaggerr, the rapper/singer/producer has packaged all of the experience he’s gained since his days part of Bassline into a mixtape called The 11th Hour. While the buzz about his new project has been quite…well…miraculous…he had to let that name go.
“You know how when you’re thirteen you think that stuff sounds cool,” he confesses with a chuckle. “I went to college and started looking at the name and telling people the name and seeing the reaction. So I had to switch it up.”
The new name is fueled by as much youthful indiscretion as the former. “My friends and I, we had this slang for getting girls like I’m bout “Jagg” her and I guess I did the most Jagging,” he explains. “I went along with the Jaggerr thing once I realize it stuck more then the name I had prior. I wanted another alias anyway so it was perfect.”
As for a certain long-haired rocker Mike doesn’t even see him. “No relation.” He’s building his own legend on his own time.
Nodfactor.com: I didn’t know at the time that you were rapping and singing back in 06. I thought you were just producing.
Mike Jaggerr: Nah I was rapping first then started producing out of necessity. ‘Cause when I was in Bassline where we had this lady in the group named Aisha, who is an artist I still work with right now. You’re going to hear from her soon. She could sing exceptionally well when we were younger so all the beats we were producing would be for her. R&B Usher-ish and Beyonce type beats. That’s not what we wanted so I was like fuck it I’ll start making my own shit. That’s basically how it started. Then I wanted some respect so I started blowing your phone up.
Nodfactor.com: So what were you starting off with on the technical side, as far as production?
Mike Jaggerr: I was blessed because University of Delaware they kind of sponsored us. So we had everything in advance before I even knew what we had, like the MPC. We had Pro Tools, every type of module you could think. But I didn’t know what it was. It was sitting collecting dust for at least a year or so and then I started realizing what we had once I started researching. I’m like wow and we had people really grace us. Like they gave us space, practicing space studio space. The grand opera house in Delaware specifically gave us that and once I realized what we had I was in there everyday winter, spring, summer, school, school holidays, days off. I was in there while everybody else was playing ball watching Cartoon Network, I was in there making beats, making songs and just perfecting my craft.
Nodfactor.com: So you were self taught for the most part
Mike Jaggerr: Yeah self-taught for the most part. I took music theory in school but otherwise trial and error.
Nodfactor.com: This is more of an argument for bringing music back into the schools. A lot of people don’t even get those programs anymore.
Mike Jaggerr: Yea they definitely need it. If my music teacher specifically told me it was wack you know that made me want to refine it more. She helped me find arrangements and learning how to do core progressions and just how to put a song together. So it definitely helped me.
Nodfactor.com: So how did you get from there to here? From 2006 to 2011. What happened?
Mike Jaggerr: I went to sound school, I went to a school call Full Sail University in Florida. I studied film, initially I wanted to go to Berkley school of Music, and that didn’t work out. My audition was–you know what Kanye did at the VMAs right recently? Pulled out the MP? That’s what I did in my audition. I had the [MPC] in front of the stage, then I started playing the piano and singing at the same time. They were like thrown back. They didn’t know what to do with me. They [said] “We love what you’re doing but it’s not what we’re looking for.” They want you to play Bach and I was playing my own songs, that wasn’t cool. So I ended up going to Full Sail and I studied film. And I feel like music and visual should marry each other. When I’m making music I see things. I found out once I went to film school that [the] people that they make visuals hear music the same way.
From there in film school I was perfecting my craft making songs. “Rainy Days” and “Away” are songs that been around for like 2 yrs. Those songs survived those initial growth spurts that I was having as far as my production and song writing. “Away” was just a true story, to me it’s till raw to me. I listen to it and I want to mix it cause we didn’t mix the version you hear on the mixtape. That’s my straight raw version. I tried to mix it and it lost its essence. So I left it the way it was. “Rainy Days” is basically the same way. I went to numerous people trying to mix it and it just wasn’t right so I left it the way it was.
Nodfactor.com: Wow “Rainy Days” is one of my favorite songs on the mixtape. Why the name 11th Hour?
Mike Jaggerr: Because that’s where I’m at right now, like I need this to work. I invested all my time, energy and passion. I’m reading this book by Napoleon Hinu that was funded by Carnegie called Think and Grow Rich and the core ideal of the book is about desire and knowing what you want and not having a plan B or plan C. This is my plan A B C and D.
Nodfactor.com: How do you feel about the response to the mixtape. I saw a tweet the other day said Mike Jagger’s the new Internet it boy or something like that.
Mike Jaggerr: Yeah they said I’m the new “Internet phenomenon.” I’ll take that. I’m overwhelmed and appreciative also because the music it goes the a refining process with my circle you know like if it makes it through us then like generally everyone else can feel it too.
Nodfactor: On “Episodes” you rhymed “out in Hollywood buying food with food stamps” is that reality or a colorful story?
Mike Jaggerr: No that’s reality all the way. That was definitely real. The time period I went out there I was low on funds. I had worked at the Nike World Basketball Festival they paid me $700 for like a day. So I bought my tickets to go out there and I crashed with Jay Dixon. While we were out there and I [was] just networking and I was building with Will.I.Am’s engineer Dylan 3D Dresdow.I took a bus ride out to Burbank and I was just like a fly on the wall watching and learning stuff from him.
Nodfactor.com: How did you meet him?
Mike Jaggerr: Facebook and the power of the Internet. After a couple of weeks of building he told me to hit him up when I was out there. I didn’t think he was gonna respond when I called him but he did.
Nodfactor.com: What did you learn from him?
Mike Jaggerr: Watching some of the mixing techniques and I played songs that I had and he just gave me tips. It was a crazy time because Will and Nicki was practicing for the show and he was gone introduce me to them but that didn’t happen. But that’s cool [because] I got to sit and watch and learn. Once that door is open it’s always open.
Did you get any other mentoring
Nodfactor.com: So as a rapper/producer which do you do first?
Mike Jaggerr: I make the beat first. When I make these hooks I don’t put much thought into it. The words just come to me. It might not be coherent words, it’ll be like run on sentence [but] it normally pulls itself out.
Nodfactor.com: How did you make “My Hero”?
Mike Jaggerr: I made that beat when I came back from school, when I left Florida. I made that on the floor. I got these new instruments from a company called East West and I was just playing with them and that is what came out. They had this choir sound and it just struck me. I was angry at the time. The stuff I’m talking about on there is things that I went through. I remember my mom boyfriend told me I should get a job at McDonald’s when I was younger and I would stay late after school doing Bassline making beats or writing songs. He was a bad role model. During the summer I was interning for myself. I set up a program called Delaware Future. I got to make songs and beats everyday and I was making more money than him. My dad past away and the guys in my family was doing mostly negative so I only had myself to look up to.
Nodfactor.com: So what’s next? Are you shooting any videos for the mixtape?
We shot a video with Creative Control that should be out in another week. We finished it before the holidays and we are trying to get it out by the end of the month. And I directed a video for “Rainy Days.” Just pulling my resources and putting them to good use.