Jakk Frost Recalls Battling Canibus In 1996, Potential Duck Down Album With Freeway
Exclusive: The "Beards" may be the latest act headed to Dru Ha and Buckshot's imprint, and Jakk and Canibus head a would-be meaningful competition in ATL 15 years ago, but who had the edge-up?
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania veteran emcee Jakk Frost spoke with HipHopDX recently in the rapper's West Philly studio. A respected pillar of the city's Hip Hop community, the leader of the "Beards" spoke to DX about his development in the 1990s, and crossing paths with another esteemed lyricist in Atlanta: Canibus. Although Jakk was cautious to state who won, the two engaged in a competition that may still have spectators talking.
Also, Frost, who's yet to deliver a nationally-distributed album, spoke about the strong likelihood that he and another local vet, Freeway, could be teaming up to deliver Jakk Frost and Freeway: The Beards in the Building on independent label titan, Duck Down Records.
Jakk Frost: I’ma be real with you. The ["The Ripper Is Back"] beat that LL [Cool J] chose was wack. I hated that beat; I was disgusted at the beat. But take away the beats, and LL said some basic shit that kinda shut Can-i-Bus [era Canibus] down…
HipHopDX: "99% of your fans…
Jakk Frost: …don’t exist." That’s my line right there! That shut it all down. If you keep this footage, and people see it on DX, they ain’t gonna believe me. But Canibus can look right in this fuckin’ camera—and what I’m about to say ain’t no disrespect to Canibus. Look right in my face, Canibus. Look at me. An hour outside of Magic City, in ’96…I had hair and I didn’t need glasses yet. You was with Charles Suitt, and I was with one of my homies from Virginia. We had a bet that if your man could beat my man, I’d get you a meeting at MCA [Records]. Long story short, we went outside and battled, and I gave Canibus hell for like a hour. Y’all niggas would’ve had to flip a coin.
I got over on him because I can freestyle. You know how a lot of people claim they can freestyle? I literally can freestyle and start digging in your ass. All of the verses that you heard, I heard all of those verses before they even hit the mixtapes. Those same verses from the tapes with DJ Clue and all that, he battle me with those same verses. And I tightened his ass up! I ain’t gonna say I beat him, but I put him in a position to where I was freestyling, talking about his clothes and stuff while mixing in written rhymes. He tried to do it back, and he got stuck. He said, “You fat. You fucking fat! Uh…Uhh” and, boom. That was it. He couldn’t go no more. I said, “Battle over, man. Good battle. I’m cold as shit.” Shout out to Canibus, man.
DX: You recently started working with Smif-N-Wessun, Sean Price and a lot of people at Duck Down. How did that relationship start?
Jakk Frost: Dru Ha called me, and Buckshot called Freeway, so they we’re calling us from every angle. If Dru and me can work it out, we came up with Jakk Frost and Freeway: The Beards in the Building. It’s gonna be just for one album on Duck Down [Records]. Then if it sells, you never know—you might see another Jakk Frost project on Duck Down, but that’s later. Dru’s actually just waiting for me to get him the songs. I’m just trying to get the right songs together. I’ve got songs, but when you have a meeting with a dude like Dru Ha, you don’t wanna just send the first shit just because you’ve got songs with Freeway. You want to send him the shit to make him say, “Alright, let’s set a little budget to the side for these dudes.”
Last year Frost and Freeway released the mixtape Best of the Beards, which was subsequently made into a limited edition retail release.
Video Edited by Omar Burgess. Additional Reporting by Jake Paine.