Words by Aimstar & SFC Lawrence C. Bush
Flashback to Veteran’s Day Nov. 2008, when The Source profiled 6 service people sacrificing to keep us safe. We are thankful to those that protect and serve, we also inspired by their commitment to life to life, liberty and love of Hip-Hop.
Shawn Yeager RANK: SPC (Specialist) Age:21
I was born in New Jersey. My favorite group is the Dip Set. While I’m here in Iraq, I like to sit and write rhymes and would love to make it in the Hip-Hop industry. Hip-Hop music motivates me at work and relieves the stress of my deployment. It’s my outlet down here. And when I get out the Army, I plan on pursuing my music one day down the line.
Jason “J-Kidd” Jackson RANK: SPC (Specialist) Age:24
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and for as long as I can remember, music has been my therapy. From writing song or just playing some of my favorite artist like Jay-Z and Lupe[Fiasco], it keeps me motivated when i’m feeling down. Before I joined the army, I would look around my community, and see a lot of people getting killed or going to jail. So I decided to go active to better my chances of success and to get money for school. If it wasn’t for music, I don’t think that I would’ve made it through the last 15 months because being in Iraq for that long is not only dangerous, but it’s also very stressful. I plan to use the GI Bill to get a degree in accounting at the University of Illinois at Chicago [when I get back].[And then] I hope to focus on starting my own record label and living out my dream of becoming a rapper and CEO.
Lawrence Clinton Bush RANK: SFC (Sergeant First Class) Age:39
My name is Lawrence Clinton Bush Jr, born July 6, 1969. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, my mother would buy an album every payday and we would sit and listen to the latest songs.There were times when my friends and I would go to the Kinsman Bar and Grill and watch the Kinsman jazz band rehearse until it was late. Those experiences exposed me to many genres of music.
With 16 years of service in the US military, Hip-Hop it’s culture influences me in may ways. Everyone has a story to tell and if I could, I would have a world wide listening party.
During my first Iraq tour, I would listen to artist like DMX or “Rock Box” by Run-DMC to get hyped before a mission. For this Iraq tour, I use Hip-Hop to remind me that after this 15 month tour, I will be able to sit back in privacy and listen to my music freely. I have been working with Kim Page of str8uptalented.com, a website for artist looking to jumpstart a career in entertainment. Once my Army is over, I will be venturing into the world of Hip-Hop full-time, so be on the look out!
Jermaine Goodman RANK: LT ( First Lieutenant) Age:24
I’m a 24 year old talented singer/songwriter/musician from Gates County, North Carolina, who is currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I began my musical career in my local church choir. I joined the US Army where I excelled in three consecutive Military Idol Competitions—in 2006 at Fort Leonard Wood, runner up; in 2007 at Vilseck, German Rose Barracks, first place winner: and in 2008 in Mosul, Iraq, second place winner. I now live in Vilseck, Germany, and have performed anywhere there is a microphone and a piano available to me.
As a soldier in Iraq you really do not have a lot of space. Usually, there are four-man rooms and our commanders attempt to shove eight people in them at times! Nevertheless, for 15 entire months I managed to set up zx keyboards, a USB microphone, a laptop and another computer screen, all on top of my wall locker. In addition to that equipment, I had an acoustic guitar shipped to Iraq that I attempted to learn how to play, but it just collected dust.
As for my recording of my album Letters From Iraq, lights out was usually at 0100 or 0200. My roommates understood that I needed to continue recording until 0300 or 0400 some nights. if you listen closely to “Baby It’s Your Birthday—Part 1,” you may hear someone in the background yell, “WOOOO” as I attempted to sing in Spanish!
In Iraq, everyone needs an outlet to release the stress of incoming artillery shells and IEDs/EFPs [Improvised Explosively Formed Projectiles]. I’m thankful that God and my love for making music helped me cope through the hardest 15 months of my life.
Jesse James Jamison RANK: SGT (Sergeant) Age:26
My name is Jesse James Jamison Jr. aka Fojay Tha Phantaztik. I was born in Albany, New York and moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, at the age of eight. I have been making Hip-Hop music for about 13 years now, dating back to the 7th grade when I when I wrote my first rhyme. I used to write and freestyle to instrumentals at parties and once I graduated high school, I purchased my first drum machine and I have been grinding out beats since. Just a few of my musical influences are the RZA , Pete Rock, Kanye West, Timbaland and too many to hers to name. After graduating from high school, I was really going nowhere, but remaining positive, I enlisted into the United States Army.
I am still working on my music. Along with longtime childhood friend Lamar Person, we plan to start our own production label and be the next super producers in the music industry.
I have served my country for seven years in numerous duty stations around the world from Korea to Iraq and at the same time I’ve been able to tell my story through music , with songs like ”3 Peez” and “War Storeez.” Music has been a way for me to keep away from trouble and get all the stress and things I need to express off my chest.
When I have time to record while serving in Iraq, I use my laptop, Cool Edit Pro, a small Phantom power mixer with condenser mic and a MC -8o8. I will always make music by any means.
Jared Roach RANK: SPC (Specialist) Age:21
My name is Jared Roach. I am 21 years-old. I was born and raised in North Dakota and have been listening to Hip-Hop music for as long as I can remember. I joined the Army about 18 months ago to help fight the War on Terror. I was deployed to Iraq 13 months ago. After II get out the military, I plan on going to college to pursue a career in politics. I’ve been exposed to Hip-Hop music much more since I’ve been in the Army, and the music has really kept me motivated through the tougher times here. Whenever I get a chance at work I put on my headphones, I turn on some Hip-Hop and just relax, Hip-Hop keeps me motivated at the gym too. Music will always be a part of my life and I know that as long as I’m listening to music, I will always be listening to Hip-Hop.