HIP-HOPPER WITH A HEART by Olusheyi Banjo
Jeffery aka General Jeff is what some would consider a hip-hop legend.He has been on the entertainment scene since he was just five years old.He has been apart of the World Class Wrecking Cru and Uncle Jamm's Army.Jeff also has been a frequent panelist to KJLH's Front Page morning show.Jeff has been featured on CNN and other news and entertainment programs,as well.Add to this, that he is actively involved in the Skid Row 3 on 3 Streetball League, as a player with Da Villians and a media representative of the League. Jeff is also actively involved in the political aspects of the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles.Jeff is dedicated to uplifting and rehabilitating Skid Row's image.
Jeff began his career as a young TV commercial actor.He made his debut in a Burger Chef's commercial at the urging of his mother."Everyone told my mother how adorable I was, and that I should be on stage.She listened and the rest is as they say,history" stated Jeff.
He enjoyed a lucrative career in that field until he was 12 years old.When he said that advertising companies stop being interested in him advertising their products."I was getting taller and voice was changing.I was not that cute little kid that they had really wanted to be identified with.I was hurt, but what can you do.If they put me in a group of young kids.I would have stuck out like a sore thumb and to them that wasn't cool."
He went back to living the regular life and appearing in commercials from time to time when they needed him.Jeff also began to hone his dancing skills as well.He began poplocking and dancing with a local dance group which toured in the Los Angeles and Palmdale areas. Eventually, his skills caught the attention of Roger Clayton and Gid Martin of Uncle Jamm's Army."They came to one of our performances and he liked what they saw. They asked me to join their crew and of course I said 'yes.' Being with Uncle Jamm's Army was a great thing for me and it opened alot doors for me that I never thought possible.It was a thrill of a lifetime"
Jeff stayed with Uncle Jamms Army as they began to rock shows and do club shows around LA. They became the #1 party promoters in LA.But they also began to gain some unwanted attention from another local crew that featured the then unknown Dr. Dre,DJ Yella and singer Michel'le, who were in a group called World Class Wrecking Cru.Jeff states " We were the #1 dance and party promoters in LA. We were doing shows and putting up posters in local neighborhood to promote the show.Then we noticed that most of the posters were being torn down and replaced by World Class's show dates.We were kind of pissed that this was happening,then we did the same thing to them.It went back and forth until we decided to come together and connect.We had to realize that we were doing the same thing,for the same cause, which was the love of music and dancing.Since then we have been cool with each other. Me and Dre are still cool to this day, because we have a mutual respect for one another's talent."
From there, Jeff began his radio career.He began working as a DJ on the old school K-DAY radio, which was on the AM dial.At that time, K-DAY was the only 24 hour all hip-hop station in the US."When we started making records, were still known as Uncle Jamms Army, there was a man from Texas that was on the radio.He was from K-DAY.He wascalled Bobby Venton.This was when they had changed their format to all rap.He had a radio show that he was doing on the station where he would do these characters like Weird Al Yankovic used to do.He did alot of parodies.He decided that he wanted to do a record called "Bobby and The Critters" for his morning show.So he went to us which were apart of UJA and asked us to produce it. We did and he decided to put us on the radio with him from then on.From me hanging around Bobby, I recieved alot more radio opportunites,which I was grateful for.From there I hooked up with KJLH and Jackie Stevens.I began to appear on it's show the Front Page,that was a great experience for me as well."
Jeff was riding high in his career.He eventually acquired a record and entertainment company, and began to be recognized in the entertainment industry.He was the man,until in 2008,the financial trouble began.He realized that he was giving out more money than he was taking in. He had to downsize his office staff as well as his artist on his label. His difficulty persisted until he eventually had to move to the Skid Row area of Downtown LA. "When first got down to Skid Row I was angry. Because after all that I have achieved in life, I felt that was a failure.Why was I down in Skid Row? People like me should not be down here.Then I began to stop pitying myself, and began to look outward instead of living just for me.I saw the living conditions on Skid Row. I saw that some of the people that needed help, are not getting the adequate help that they diserve.It is like the people that work down here want you to stay down here, so that they can keep their jobs.Yet I also saw that there was positive talented people down here as well.People who some would not even give a look, let alone a chance to show their skills."
Jeff began to take action.He began to become an advocate for the homeless in skid row and a liason to City Hall on behave of Skid Row.Eventually, Jeff decided to join up with the Skid Row 3 on 3 Streetball League and The Skid Row Artist Collective, which is apart of on The Downtown Art Walk every month of the year.He also is apart of The Skid Row Photography Club as well as other positive Skid Row organizations.Jeff is reffered to as "the honorary mayor" of Skid Row."My goal to uproot the negative images that people have of the Skid Row area.I want them to see that there is alot of good down in this area.Don't get me wrong there is some bad in this area, but it is not all bad. As I said before there are some positive people that really want to make it their goals.I want to see them make it. they will make it."
Jeff states "I finally had to see why I have been placed down here.It is to help others and being the main one who is positive.That is what it is about to me,helping others.I am grateful to have great people around me like OG and the rest of my postive brothers and sisters, who share my vision with me. "
When asked about his future plans Jeff states,"I plan on taking everything to the next level.I plan on doing big things in the Skid Row area as well as expanding this into something bigger.We can do this,all we have to do is want to be done."