In order for Jamaal Jackson to reach full Legend Status, which is the name he’s performed as on and off for 19 years, he knew he couldn’t limit himself as a rapper.
The District of Columbia-native built a name for himself as a teenager freestyling in cyphers at high school around the turn of the millennium. He moved to Charlotte in 2002 and continued to hit cyphers and battles before taking some time off to care for his son, who was born in 2004 and suffered from hydrocephalus.
In 2012, hating his job as a project coordinator with Windstream, Jackson recorded “The Comeback,” and threw it up on YouTube. The social media feedback made the song a self-fulfilling prophecy, and Legend Status was officially back at it.
He hit the cypher realm again, signing up for anything with a cash prize.
“With the cyphers that was a way of getting my name out there and getting that respect as an emcee, because that’s what it’s about to me is the respect,” he says. “I’m a competitive person. I do not like to lose. A lot of times, when I enter those battle competitions, there’s money on the line. I don’t come there to lose.”
He took home top prize at Sprite’s WatchMeWork DJ and rap battle in September 2016, and won plenty of other competitions around town to go with that. But the battle scene was just a stepping stone for LS, as he’s often called for short.
“The reason why I started rapping was because I wanted to be one of the dopest emcees, that’s it. That’s my main goal,” he says. “Even now I don’t give a shit about nothing but being great. So I gotta hit all the aspects of it. If somebody’s like, ‘Yo, I need you to freestyle, I want to cypher, I need a dope song. I gotta be ready.”
LS rounded out his resume by leaving the battle stages behind for the recording studio. He put out projects like The Re-Introduction, I Am Legend and I Am Legend 2, cementing his name as more than just a battle rapper.
On March 29, he dropped his newest album, King Legend.
Another step in the progression of his music, LS takes on a more poignant and socially conscious vibe, rapping about topics like police brutality on songs like “Free.”
“I wanted to touch different things besides just making dope songs,” he says. “This one was more complete, it was more talking about stuff that’s going on in America as far as injustice, brutality, because I see a lot. Rappers, we have a platform that a lot of people just don’t utilize unless it’s talking about some dumb shit.”
Before the end of the year, LS plans to follow-up on King Legend with another full-length album, The Making of a Legend, and an EP titled All Me, for which he will produce every track, because there’s room for growth.