It goes without saying that a loss in the music industry and the Hip-Hop community is always tragic. The passing of an artist, producer or any individual who helped contribute and help the art form grow, big or small, inevitably leaves a void in the lives of those they worked alongside and those who were personally touched by their work and contributions to the culture. However, sometimes there are losses that simply just hit harder than others, and the industry suffered just that with the sudden passing of Reggie Ossé aka Combat Jack earlier this week following his battle with cancer. Even when somebody is sick you never actually expect them to pass, until they do. And I think this one really caught a lot of people off guard. As an aspiring writer, journalist and avid Hip-Hop Head I can honestly say Combat had an immense impact on me over the past five or so years I’ve been tuning in and studying his interviews. Whether it was on his Combat Jack Show podcasts or his Backstory show on Sirius XM’s Backspin I was a dedicated listener; tuning in every Tuesday to catch up on the latest shows. Even as a fairly well-read Hip-Hop Head, every time I tuned in I learned so much about the dynamics and events that took place in the music industry, NYC Hip-Hop and R&B from the early 90’s up to present day from his podcast and interviews. Some of my favorite episodes were the DJ Premier, Pharoahe Monch, Tef Poe, Masta Ace, Statik Selektah, DeRay Mckesson & of course all the Marc Lamont Hill episodes. Honestly, there’s so many more I could go on and list. The episodes could be serious, sometimes they were fucking hilarious, sometimes they were sad and other times inspirational and always entertaining. I remember the years I use to work landscaping while also going to school and while going through some hard times and legal issues as well; his podcasts were sometimes the only thing I had to look forward to that got me through the day. I can honestly say a lot of my interview style and technique are heavily influenced by what I picked up listening to Combat over the years. He had a cool, friendly demeanor; like an old friend you hadn’t seen in years. Effortlessly getting artists to open up and tell their story to the rest of the world. In fact, listening to him chop it up with the big-timers is what actually eventually motivated me to go out and start interviewing artists here from the local scene and those visiting for the website. I can honestly say I would not be the same writer and journalist if it weren’t for the insight I picked up listening to his show. It truly saddens me that there are now interviews we’ll never hear, stories that will no longer be told and that after today Hip-Hop is a little bit less bright now than it was before. Combat didn’t just represent the best that was in music and entertainment journalism, he represented the best that was in Hip-Hop & the culture. To close out each show Combat would always conclude with this inspirational quote which goes, “Internets, you know what time it is: Dream them dreams then man-up and live them dreams, because a life without dreams is black and white, & the universe flows in technicolor & surround-sound. Blaow!”. Rest in peace Combat Jack. You inspired myself and so many others, by setting an example for how far one can go when they fully commit to their own dreams. Hip-Hop will miss you immensely Combat! Thank you for
Step Off! Magazine would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Reggie Ossé aka Combat Jack; Lawyer, podcaster, journalist, writer & Hip-Hop Historian. The culture lost one of it’s best, brightest and hardest working advocates that the art form could possibly ask for. Rest peacefully Combat, the Hip-Hop community will dearly miss your presence and contributions to the culture.