Since birth, Jabari Johnson has loved music more than anything in the world.
Turning his dreams into reality, Jabari began his career in digital documentaries and filmmaking with an interview of hip-hop duo The Clipse - rappers Pusha T and No Malice (formerly Malice).
Waiting countless hours outside of a DC nightclub, Jabari sprung into action and captured the hip-hop duo like never before.
Although, he asks all the questions your favorite journalist would ask, Jabari doesn't consider himself a journalist - he's a filmmaker.
Trying to fulfill his goals, Jabari has launched a Kickstarter Campaign for season two of Jabari Presents.
Jabari's Kickstarter goal is a mere $40k and right now he's clocking in at about $15k.
GlobalGrind caught up with the Howard University Alum to chit-chat about the second season of his web series Jabari Presents, his favorite interview of all time, and of course his goals and dreams.
Click here to donate to Jabari's Kickstarter campaign now!
Take a look at our exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: Tell me about the Kickstarter campaign?
I wanted to do season two because, after interviewing all these people that I’ve interviewed in the past- Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Casey Veggies, and Shawn Chrystophers – and people like that I just noticed that every one of these people have fans that look up to them and are being inspired by them. I’m like well, right now everybody wants to do something but, a lot of people just don’t know to to do it. With season two, the whole idea is to focus on really what it takes to sustain a career in the field that you love. Because a lot of times we see people when they’ve popped off or when they’ve blown up, but we don’t know what it really took for them to get there. Even as fans, I remember Nicki’s first mixtape. But do you know everything in between that first mixtape and getting the deal with Pepsi? So that’s what I’m trying to do right now. The only way to make your dream happen is through a crazy work ethic and not just having goals, but the actions it took to achieve those goals.
You role-played with Nicki, you watched Wiz Khalifa roll a blunt, you’ve interviewed Diggy Simmons – out of everybody, who’s been your favorite person to interview?
I don’t think I have a favorite person. I have a favorite interview, I think? I think that was the one I did with Nicki for sure, because she and I – just like… I think that’s the one person I looked at and was like ‘this person is going to be huge star.’ From the moment I met her, I knew she was going to be a star. She just had so much personality and she had so much skill. I was already a huge fan of hers, listening to her mixtapes. I think when I first met her in New York, it was the same day I interviewed 50Cent so that was probably my most favorite interview.
I like interviewing the young artists though. People that are on the cusp of doing something big. And that’s why I liked it when I was talking to Nicki, when I was talking to Justin, when I was talking to Wiz – all these people that are really about to pop – because it’s just something about their energy.
In your professional opinion then, who are some artists that we should all be listening to?
I think people should really be looking at OCD: Moosh & Twist, a new group out of Philly. I really like Casey Veggies. There’s this dude named Vinny Chase who’s making some noise. I think of the Casey Veggies, in terms of the movement, you know what I mean? I really like his Peas & Carrots national brand and I like how he’s coming in the game selling merchandise, and not waiting till he’s at a certain level to look at other revenue options. I think his team and the whole Peas & Carrots business mindset, I really respect that hustle.
What advice would you give to other young people who are following in your path and trying to live out similar dreams?
I think you have to have a real clear cut vision on what it is exactly your dream is and see how you can separate yourself. I’m not trying to compete with anybody who’s out there. I’m not trying to compete with a Nardwuar or somebody else like a Maestro. Those guys do what they do and they do it well. Whenever people watch my interviews they always tell me it doesn’t seem like an interview, it seems like a conversation. That’s why I like to go into people’s lives and really sit down with what they’re doing, have a conversation and just film it. What people should do is find a way to separate themselves from whatever is out and try to focuses on a niche market.
So what inspires you?
Hip-hop and music has been my passion for years. I lived this culture. I grew up with this. Since I was a baby I was listening to music. I’m really inspired by taking whatever it is that you love, taking it and doing it for free anyways and being able to live off of that. That’s what I really think living is - doing what you want to really do 24 hours a day.
Has there ever been a time where you felt like giving up?
Nah, I never felt like giving up really. I get frustrated a lot of times, I mean this whole Kickstarter process is a real frustrating one. I don’t really sleep really now. I just try to get it to as many people as possible and really spread what I’m trying to do. I get frustrated and a little nervous, but I never feel like I want to stop. The values that my mother has instilled in me, that friends around me, my girlfriend – all of those people that are around me really reinforce positive thoughts in my head and that what I’m doing is positive and what I’m doing is good and what I’m doing is necessary for the culture. So I think that’s a key component in making sure that whatever you’re passionate about or putting your time into, that you have people around you that are going to fuel that energy that you need to keep going.
Who was your very interview?
My first video interview was with PushaT and Malice of The Clipse – those are my guys. I waited outside of the club for these guys for like two hours and then I finally got in the club and it was in DC, you know Fur?
It was there. I was waiting for these dudes and we finally got in, me and my roommate, went with the cameras and we were like 18 or 19-years-old and we ended up being there. And they just welcomed us with open arms and their former manager [was like, ‘Yo if you want to get it done, you have to get it done right now, while we’re walking outside the club’. Do we just started rolling, we had bad lighting, it was low quality and we had this little like, Sony handy-cam, but we did it. But the fact that I had been in high school and college listening to these guys and finally had the chance to talk to them and have something of mine, a piece of time from them for my own self, was just like ‘aww man. I got to keep doing this.’ So for all of this to just come full circle and Pusha really help me get these funds for Kick Starter – he was tweeting about it yesterday, which was dope. So it was definitely that moment with The Clipse for sure, back in 2006.
Who else in your field do you look up to? Or who inspired you to take your interviewing skills up to the next level?
You know what’s crazy though? I don’t really like to concern myself with being a journalist. I’m really more into being a filmmaker. So I like to consider myself a filmmaker because what I like to do is make short films on people. I do interview people as well, but that’s where the whole documentary thing comes in as well. I just like to call myself a documentary filmmaker. One person in media that I really admire is my boy DJ Skee. What he’s been able to do with SkeeTV and YouTube and taking a step further than being a DJ and stepping into media and realizing the power and the reach that he has. I think he’s like a huge inspiration. My other boy Quddus who’s now, he’s the host of duets on ABC, pointed me in the right direction and has been there when I had questions about certain things, and has seen the game a bit longer than me and can just tell me what to look out for. Both those guys are a huge inspiration to me.