Street cred 

In grade school, a lot of us were too busy playing Nintendo and sipping Capri Sun to even think about attempting anything artistic. But not Jabee Williams, aka Oklahoma City rapper Jabee.

“I wrote my first rap when I was 7. That’s when I started,” Jabee said. “It just went on from there. I went to the studio for the first time when I was 15, and then, about 16, I met a group called Culture Shock Camp and they put me on the road. I started doing my first shows with them, and that’s when I started getting busy, professionally, with the music.”

With the release of his upcoming 7-inch single, “Stephanie (Super Ugly),” produced by New York hip-hop giant El-P, Jabee is finding himself busier than ever. He’ll premiere the song at Saturday’s release party at The Conservatory.

It’s a chance, he said, for OKC to see how much he’s grown as an artist.

“I think I still have some work to be done as far as what I want to be, but I’ve gotten more polished and professional and am just trying to get myself to an industry standard,” Jabee said. “I try to have an industry standard with everything I do: not just putting out music just because, or rapping just because, but ... having a purpose behind everything.”

For him, that current purpose is to help Oklahoma City become a major player in the hip-hop industry by
showing there is room for everyone to make a name for themselves.

“The hardest part is that OKC is so small, it sometimes feels like there can be only one. They only want one rapper, and that’s it. In big cities, they have a bunch of big rappers. Everybody eats,” Jabee said. “The other problem is that Oklahoma isn’t known as an urban city or even a place that has hoods or ghettos. I think that my story — where I come from, and being able to share that with people — helps. A lot of stuff that we do, we have done for ourselves.”

He also wants to leave his personal mark, not only on the city’s music scene, but in the minds of everyone who hears his music.

“I hope that they get a piece of me so that when I’m gone, when I ain’t here no more and all they got is my voice,” he said, “I hope they just get a piece of me that says, ‘He was here. He did it for us and we appreciate that.’”

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