Interview: Techno Wizard Jimmy Edgar Explains His Paranormal Experiences

“I Always Felt That I Had Some Kind Of Magical Power…”

For years, Jimmy Edgar’s erotically charged hot techno tunes have set nightclubs in a seismic orgasm. After leaving an unruly lifestyle for a more down tempo one that involves meditating and connecting with spiritual manifestations of the divine, he has radically transformed. There is depth, design and a glint of enlightenment in his words.

His label, ‘Ultramajic’ is the latest muse to emerge from his multi-faceted resume of creative pursuits. The Detroit native and Berlin based producer’s knack for the occult and extraordinary alchemy phenomenon are poured into his Mercurio EP, the first of many releases on this mystifying imprint. This three tracker is a hefty trio of dance floor shakers. It has edgy metallic reverbs, raw, buoyant and upbeat snare rhythms, and infectiously stimulating vocal samples.

But Jimmy’s creative gifts and interests have rounded a very intriguing character. There is more to the man behind the decks at a dim lit smoky club. VIBE caught up with Jimmy to divulge into his trippiest experiences and majick.

VIBE: You live in Berlin. It’s such a revolutionizing city. Tell me some of your favorite things about it?
Jimmy Edgar: It’s convenient to live in Berlin for travelling. I live very close to a great bio grocery store, thats good enough for me. When I come home, I am straight to working. Berlin is where I get all my work done; it’s not a relaxing city. I do love the option to go hear music on Sundays though.

Your music productions exude this supernatural vibe. Have you ever had an interaction with the paranormal? Did you feel your behavior changed after that?
I've had paranormal experiences ever since I was a little kid. This isn't an easy topic just to brush by, it’s a full on conversation that demands explanations, which is why I am constantly reading what I can about metaphysics, ancient knowledge, magic and quantum mechanics. I always felt that I had some kind of magical power, and from that belief I feel you actually can change reality. It’s only the limits we put on ourselves that are the real illusions. I talked about seeing auras and having color attributes to everything when I released my album Majenta, and the funny part about that is I always assumed people could see this same thing, but I learnt in my 20s that not many people care to try. You can see prana energy, without trying, outside an airplane window most easily. Second easiest is when a storm is coming. Third, you can make it move and static with your mind when its dark and using your hands. With practice, anyone can do this. I see us all being equal and capable, but this is where I put my focus these days because I really strive to develop something more than what we think of as being human.

Since we’re on the subject of behavior, you’ve worked in fashion, photography etc. Do you think that character is a form of style or is style a form of character? Or is there an X factor that is something that only you know?
I'm not sure how you define character and style, but I have had this conversation recently about music creating style or style creating music and we all agreed that music creates the style. Not only because it really is some kind of universal language but also because style changes more drastically from culture to culture. I believe we are all linked in some kind of way, I don't really think about originality anymore rather than I think to evolve and hybridize ideas. I’ve been in the originality trap before, this cycle of trying to discover something new on your own but really you pull ideas from the other, that which claiming ownership doesn't seem right.

Are you into Tarot and Numerology? Do you believe that tarot cards have the ability to look into your future and give you an idea of what to expect?
I am on one level very interested in these belief systems, but on another level I feel they are completely unnecessary. I believe Tarot is merely a system of philosophical divination that which connects to your subconscious for you to be able to speak from that place. I find hypnosis and meditation a lot better to find the answers, but I think Tarot can be amazing too. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in a good mental place and to always look at things in a certain way; in a positive way, and rising above the traps of polarity… in other words, belief that even the shitty things that happen have some higher purpose, this allows you to rise above in your own way. I do find whenever I do a tarot reading that its very accurate and its fun to do readings for friends, and most people are surprise by the specific accuracy. Numerology is great because I like numbers but its very vague and I don't know enough about the really deep philosophy to make use of it. I do however always pay attention to reoccurring numbers in my life; like many other people, I grew up seeing 11:11 everywhere and even kept a journal because of how much it was happening. I've read all the theories why this was happening but always just felt it better as a mystery, or some kind of reminder of your path. Who knows, how easily it could be the subconscious saying to look at a clock, which funnily enough would go along with what I think about it. The problem with these divinations, and the problem with magic is that they take the power away from you. If you are commanding spirits, thinking the cards have power, or anything that gives power to someone else, then you are just giving power away from yourself. I think it’s more important to empower yourself and have the genuine knowing that you are the one creating your reality, which I wholeheartedly believe. I tend to subscribe most to the quantum theory of the Holographic Universe, because I am a man and "logical" so some of the feminine aspects of spirituality are hard to grasp, but this theory basically explains things from a more mathematical process.

When you listen to your music, what can you see?
If I meditate I go into this point somewhere in my chest or in my head, depending on my mood. I see this sort of sphere that changes color and shape, but strangely it’s really out of time with the music and I don't know why. It tends to change shape slower then the beats. Sometimes when I listen to more tribal music or music of indigenous people the shape and color stops moving all together and it is somehow static in space as if the music is holding some kind of symbol or message through this shape and color. I think its a good exercise to really ask yourself what you see and feel when you are dancing, because dancing allows you to get into this hypnotic state where you have access to all these tools. When I am producing music I am mostly looking at each section of music as if its some kind of 3D shape and color, so it depends how these go together… almost like I am sculpting. That’s why my music tends to be dry, sharp, but with soft overtones and deep with color.

Ok, let’s talk about the Mercurio EP now, particularly that track, “Ultraviolet”. A lot of crunchy synths in that one. Great stuff. Productions like Ultraviolet, you know the synth driven/EBM type of stuff, is starting to see a renaissance of sorts. What do you think?
There will always be a new sound from the past resurfacing. We saw it again with house music and now even that is starting to be boring. I think it’s not important to focus on whats the cool next sound and just go with your feeling. For "Ultraviolet”, I started this song years ago so it’s not really relevant to what you are asking but I felt it would go with the EP quite well. "Hot Inside", my first EP on Ultramajic was the Sulphur symbol of inner alchemy. "Mercurio" is the meeting of high and low, water and air, the fusion to make steam, or vapor so it felt appropriate to have part of the Sulphur vibe, which is how I feel "Ultraviolet" has. It’s the trinity vibration that will carry into the next release and the culmination being fourth, a symbol of inner ascension, done the Ultramajic way.

Could you list 3 things you shouldn’t do if you are looking to start your own label?
If you are starting a record label then I suggest focusing on a good style for everything. We spend endless nights on the artwork. Of course, I am very particular about the music and I won't release anything that isn't perfect. But, Pilar Zeta is the same way with her design, and since we do everything together sometimes we are working days on end to find the perfect object or the right color scheme. Last night we worked for the third day on Danny Daze's cover and we are extremely happy with it. We check if its a good evolution from the other releases and we make sure we are going in the direction we want. Its very meticulous but now we can look at the covers as if they are masterpieces, because they also have deep concepts to them too.

What are some of the forthcoming releases that you have planned for Ultramajic? Any new artists we should be aware of?
Danny Daze is the next record. JETS material is being worked on. We have some new artists as well that will be announced properly, so no reason to ruin the surprise now; I am prepping them to be ready for Ultramajic showcasing too.

What’s next for you? Are you going to be focusing on your side creative endeavors or just music for now?
Ultramajic has me very busy so I will focus on this, I am working on new airbrush pieces and 2014 I will see less traveling so I can do more artwork instead of performing.

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Interview: Suave House Founder Tony Draper Links With Celebs Like 2 Chainz, G Herbo and Nick Cannon To Feed Their Cities

The harrowing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately disrupted Black communities across the United States with cities like Chicago being among the hardest hit. Throughout the year, artists from the city have stepped up and held socially distanced food drives and PPE donations across the city’s South and West sides. With his deep ties to Chicago since the early 90s, Suave House Records founder/entrepreneur Tony Draper, alongside NBA veteran Ricky Davis, made the Chi’ their next stop as part of the nationwide Feed Your City Challenge this past October 17th at the Pullman Park Community Center.

The chilly, yet bright and sunny Saturday saw hundreds of people drive through the parking lot of the complex, receiving groceries from the many volunteers, gathered from across the city. Masked up with PPE in the trenches with the civilians were local natives and celebrity supporters like Chitown’s Grammy winning producer/music executive No ID, rap star G-Herbo, new rapper Queen Key, NBA star Jabari Parker to media/music entertainer Nick Cannon. Draper and Davis were handing off items and loading boxes of farm-fresh produce and meats in the trunk of cars, and offloading the 95,000 pounds of food to feed 7,000 residents. While they were not in attendance, Common with Jhene Aiko and Social Justice Collective donated funds for the free groceries.

“You can’t lead the people until you feed the people. We’re out here in the community in a real way. People always talk about what’s going on in Chicago and these are the things going on in Chicago. Positive things for the community during a time like this. People coming together and it’s a wonderful event,” said Cannon.

For Draper, bringing the Feed Your City Challenge to Chicago and being able to pull it off successfully was crucial because October 17th, marks the 24th anniversary of the death of one of Chi’s most influential DJs, Rapmaster Pinkhouse, who passed away in 1996. “It feels like myself and my partner [Ricky] Davis coming to Chicago and partnering with Common, No ID, Jhene Aiko, Nick Cannon, G-Herbo, Jay Allen, [local FM radio] Power 92 and Pat Edwards was a sign from God that it’s meant to happen on this day. Even though Pinkhouse is gone, he’s still influencing the south side of Chicago and he’s still sending us blessings. We had to pull it off, we had to,” Draper said with conviction. 

Meanwhile, Power 92.3’s DJ Pharris, DJ Nehpets, DJ Commando, DJ Amaris and Hot Rod were on the 1s and 2s while Parker, Hot Rod, G-Herbo, and community activists Joey G and Nico Naismith played basketball with the kids. A nonprofit Hoop Bus was set up with a small hoop with Black Lives Matter symbols and the names of victims who were killed by police officers. 

G-Herbo, who has been volunteering his time to the kids of Chicago throughout 2020 says that events like this are important to build and strengthen Black unity across the city. “It’s beyond just being able to feed and provide, it’s allowing people to feel unity in the city. This is the city coming together and a lot of important and powerful people coming from the city, all walks of life coming together for a positive reason and that’s what it’s all about.” When asked if this event defied the stigma of Chicagoans not being unified, Herbo exclaimed, “Absolutely! We unified right now and it’s only gon’ get better, so we’re just trying to lead by example and make this normal. This is not just an event, this gotta be the normal for guys like myself and for the city.”

And the people who showed up to receive their free groceries were more than appreciative. Takara, a mother from the Southside of Chicago says that while she found out about the food drive at the last minute,“It’s a lot of food out here, a lot of good people out here and it’s something that we need. Events like this are very necessary and it’s filling the need for families who can’t feed their children during these times. I wish I could have volunteered and done something more, but we need this.”

In a one-on-one with VIBE, the legendary Tony Draper talks about his connections to Chicago, the importance and impact of the Feed Your City Challenge, the role celebrities play in activism, and more. 

VIBE: Earlier you shared that Oct. 17th was also the day that Rapmaster Pinkhouse passed away. For the younger readers who might not know who Rapmaster Pinkhouse is, could you share who he was and why he was so important to Chicago?

Draper: For young people that don't understand how music was heard back then, there was no social media [in the early 90s], there was no Instagram, so you had to get your record to the hottest person in the city. That person had to make a decision about whether it was good or not. And if that person touched your record in Chicago, that person would spread, it was automatic. That’s what happened to a young Tony Draper with 8Ball & MJG’s first albums. He put his hands around it and he exposed it to the Chicago market. Every time I think about Chicago, I always think about Pinkhouse. Pinkhouse was the main reason why I even came to Chicago.

Talk about that. What was Chicago like for you when you first came here?

Coming to Chicago was a very interesting moment for me because when I came, I had my hat cocked a certain type of way and I didn’t know the rules and regulations. And he told me, “Tony, man you gotta keep that hat straight (laughs). And I kept it straight ever since. So, for me, doing my journey as a young Black man from the inner city, raised by a single parent, establishing Suave House at 16 years old, seeing what I went through to establish [the company], and make it a force to be reckoned with. That was an accomplishment, but also I wanted to touch people I knew understood the music and understood where I was coming from and the importance of a young Black man that was a true, independent CEO and giving me the avenue to get my music heard. I’m from Memphis, raised in Houston, but Chicago is Suave House’s biggest market to this date. They supported everything Suave House did and I wanted to bless them [with the Feed Your City Challenge], the same way they blessed me.

With the conversation within the music business revolving around Black Lives Matter and supporting Black communities, what do you think it’ll take to get many of these CEO and executives from the major labels to support these communities like what you and many of the artists have been doing across the country?

I think they have to be involved with people they’re not comfortable with. Stop giving money to these organizations you think is giving the money to Black people, because they’re not. Nobody is holding these organizations accountable. Do business with somebody that has their finger on the pulse. A person that you know is in the music business that has been very successful in the business. Like right now, the Feed Your City Challenge, we’re in our ninth city. We’ve had eight of the top music artists host these cities without funding from the parent companies. [The artists] are giving the money themselves. Jhene Aiko gave money herself. Nick Cannon, himself. Rick Ross, 2 Chainz…Pee from Quality Control. 

Pee was on vacation in Mexico and he took a private jet back to Atlanta just to attend Feed Your City in Atlanta. He didn’t have to do that, but he did because he cares about where he’s from. He cares about the area. He wants to take [talent] from the area, but he also wants to give back to that community. See, white people want to come and exploit your community, but don’t want to build a library over there, never build a basketball court, never build anything. When an artist is dead, they say ahhh aahh ummm. If you wanted to demonstrate good character, you would have said, ‘I made a lot of money off that artist. Let me do something for that community as a token of appreciation for birthing that particular artist.’

I don’t think we’ve ever seen that before.

And you’ll never see it unless I do it and I am going to do it. That’s why I’m in Chicago. I’m going to every city that has blessed me and fed my family because every time I feed myself, I feed my family, my loved ones, it comes from my fans. My fans gave me the opportunity by buying my records. I had a dream, I had a drive, but without the opportunity, you might not have heard of Tony Draper. So, I’m always appreciative of people that have helped me, that’s why I want to help them. I’m in the best place I could ever be in my life. I’m 49 years old, I’m successful, I’m good. Bro, you want to know what makes me happy? Giving to somebody else. There’s another star out there that’s hoping and praying that they could get an opportunity and if I could give them that opportunity, I’ll give it to them. I don’t relish in the attention; I relish in the accomplishment. Let me help somebody. And if I help them and they become successful, they don’t owe me a quarter. I won’t sign them to a management deal or nothing. I just want you to acknowledge it and pass it on. See, we got to learn how to pass it on.

With the timing of this event brought on by the pandemic, how do you feel about it all?

I think it was God’s mission. With COVID that’s really unfortunate, a lot of people lost their lives during this pandemic. A lot of people have lost their jobs, their homes, their properties. My heart goes out to them. But if me and Ricky Davis can put a smile on a mother’s face, a father’s face and feed their children, that’s all I need. I remember me and my mother going to churches and food banks, walking with free government cheese, powdered eggs and we was happy. We were so happy, smiling and grateful. I think without that, I don’t think we would have made it to the following week. So, I’m always thankful for everything God blessed me with. I don’t think I’m special. I think that I had a plan and I stuck to my plan and made it happen.

Suave House has had a lot of artists who have always been outspoken about social and political issues, [similar to like an] Ice Cube recently. Considering that, and what you’re doing with these artists for the Feed Your City Challenge, do you think that the role of the celebrity today is to get in front of these issues or to fall back and support the people who're already doing the work?

I think it’s a choice. For me, I’m not a city official, I’m not a politician. I’m more comfortable with doing and getting my hands dirty on the ground. If I was in Chicago building houses for people, I would actually be there. I wouldn’t [just] send no money or send a crew there. I would be there. That’s how I feel blessed. I feel blessed by actually talking to the people and them seeing me out there distributing groceries. I feel good when a person drives up in their car and they pop their trunk and say ‘Draper?! You putting groceries in my car?!’ And they may be happy about ‘Space Age Pimpin’’ or ‘I’m So Tired of Ballin’’ or whatever, but just the mere fact that they were happy about me putting groceries in their car meant more to me than anything else. I think it’s a choice you make as an individual.

For a lot of people, some celebrities end up causing harm because their celebrity and actions might overshadow the actual issue.

You know what though? Without you being a celebrity, you might not be heard. So why not use that platform to be heard? I think LeBron James is phenomenal. I think Ice Cube is phenomenal. You don’t have to agree with him, but you have to respect him for speaking his mind and trying to get something for Black people. Nobody else did it! Nobody else took the initiative to write a Black America contract and present it to both [Biden and Trump] camps. So, I think that was a phenomenal move, whether I agree with it or not, it was still a phenomenal move. We got to stop with all this goddamn talking and do some action.

Draper and Davis’s Feed Your City Challenge will be arriving in Compton, California as their next stop on November 21.

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Interview: T.I. Talks Activism, Verzuz Battle, And His Desire To Produce A Biopic On His Life Before Fame

Although Tip "T.I." Harris has earned some very respectable stripes as an emcee for his successful rap career, the self-proclaimed “King of the South” moniker really began to take true form once he stepped into his community activism calling. He’s acted in blockbuster films opposite Denzel Washington, Paul Rudd and Kevin Hart, but his willingness to speak truth to power has shown an unwavering commitment to being on the good side of history, as opposed to choosing silence to secure a spot on the good side of Hollywood.

During this recent conversation, Tip talks about his upcoming Verzuz battle with Jeezy, politics, the Trap Music Museum, and his desire to make his TV/film directorial debut.

Be sure to check out his newest album, L.I.B.R.A available on all streaming platforms.

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Ziggy Marley's First Time Voting In America

No more long talking from politicians. Today, the people have their say at the ballot box. Judging by the number of voters who showed up early this year, the 2020 election is going to smash all records for voter participation. With a deadly pandemic, wildfires, floods, economic pressure, and a struggle for survival playing out from the tweets to the streets, the stakes have never been higher.

If you're reading this right now and you haven't voted yet, it's not too late. Get up get out and let your voice be heard. As Samantha Smith recently discussed on her IG Live, this year's election is too important to sit out.

Snoop Dogg will be voting for the first time this year—and he's not the only one. Ziggy Marley voted for the first time this year also and documented the process on social media. "I decided to vote and I wondered to myself why," Ziggy wrote on his IG. "Then I thought about those who came before, the price they paid. In part, I am voting in honor of them and to honor them, to not belittle their many sacrifices and struggles with my high jaded righteousness and indifference. Many brothers and sisters from numerous backgrounds and origins marched, bled, and died to give people like me basic rights in 🇺🇸 , the right to be treated like a human being, the right to vote."

As the eldest son of the Robert Nesta Marley aka the King of Reggae, Ziggy is part of a mighty musical legacy, but his father is more than a musical legend.  The new film Freedom Fighter—part of the 75th anniversary series "Bob Marley Legacy"—examines Marley as a symbol of human rights with a voice more powerful than any politician.

Ziggy has continued his father's musical mission as a solo artist and part of the Grammy-winning family group Melody Makers. His 2018 album, Rebellion Rises opens with a song entitled "See Them Fake Leaders," leaving no doubt about his views on the institutions of government. Still, Ziggy remains engaged in the political process, doing his part and encouraging others to do the same.

"Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, and others thought, 'Voting rights? Civil rights? Who cares? What difference will it make?'" Ziggy wrote on IG. "Just imagine what the world would have looked like now if not for their sacrifices. Go ahead, imagine it. Can you see it? Well, what do you think?"

"To be clear voting is not the end-all," Ziggy Marley added. "It is a small piece of a puzzle and just one of the tools in our toolbox that we must use as part of a larger effort to bring positive beneficial changes for all people. The work must continue at maximum effort after elections regardless of the outcome." Ziggy emphasized that he was not voting for a party or a person for an idea. "Even though we have differences we can be better human beings, more united human beings, more loving human beings, equal human beings, just human beings. The politics will come and go left right and center but still through it all the humanity that we must show to each other is not negotiable."

Ziggy voted by mail this year, but for those of you standing in line today to exercise your right and let your voices be heard, Ziggy curated a special playlist for Tidal's "Hold The Line" campaign. Music to vote by—from Ziggy and Bob to Fela and James Brown, not to mention Public Enemy and Rage Against The Machine.

Ziggy Marley’s new album, More Family Time, is out now on all music streaming platforms.

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