Starting on the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, Javan “JABO” Ishman is climbing up the ranks of becoming a top hip-hop artist. The 26 year old has had a passion for music since growing up, and looks to build upon his success day in and day out. He’s been shot twice and once had all of his music stolen from a friends studio, but the words “give up” never crossed his mind. Since then he has worked with top talent including names such as Jadakiss, Slim Thug, Yo Gotti, and Carl Thomas and has also premiered his music video for “What I’m About” – Ft. Jadakiss & Slim Thug on BET’s 106 and Park Countdown.
Graduated from: Alabama State University
Compared to: T.I., Bun B, and Nas
Top Song: “What I’m About” – Ft. Jadakiss & Slim Thug
JABO Q & A
Broadcasting major at Alabama State University, what one thing did you learn from those courses that you’ll always remember?
The one thing I learned from those courses at ASU is to stay consistent in every aspect of your field or expertise. I wasn’t always the smartest student in the class, but I out-shined most of the students smarter than me by just being consistent. Always being prepared and practicing accuracy is the key to being a successful student or person in life. Just think you only have to hit the baseball 3/10 times for a few years consistently to be considered a great hitter.
I noticed you’ve had the Bulls, Penguins, Pirates, Grizzlies hats in your videos. What goes into’s JABO’s head to prepare your outfit for a video/photo shoot or on camera interview?
It really depends on how I’m feeling that day. There is not really much thought that goes into it. Its more about the colors and color waves and less about the teams with me. Some of the freshest hats are worn by the sorriest teams, but its all good! I own maybe 200 hats and I kind of collect them. I love to have on a hat to a team that no one cares about or knows; but you always find that one person to say, “Hey thats my team….Go Gophers” or whatever the team may be. I have always been into fashion so whatever I may choose to dawn in a photo shoot, video or interview is a total reflection of how Im feeling that day.
Was baseball/basketball an escape growing up?
Of course, when I was coming up everybody played ball in the street or in someones back yard. We would love to go outside and play all day. Kids today have so much other technological things to play with these days that they don’t get a chance to experience the simple luxury we had of just going outside to play. Then the outside playing trickled over to playing for school teams and other organized sports teams where the competition was greater and the rewards were higher. I had a good home life inside my home but I know for some kids my age at the time it definitely was an escape from the harsh realities of their environment.
If it weren’t for your father being so tech savvy, do you think you would have still fallen in love with making music like the way you have?
Yes, I think he definitely played apart in me liking music because we share some of the same genetics; but I found my love of music on my own, doing my own research and selecting which genre of music best related to me. I definitely thank my dad for staying ahead of the game on all advances of music technology. But I don’t know if we share the same love for music.
You refer to Slim Thug as “the coolest rapper you’ve ever met.” Why is that?
Slim Thug was very genuine and he embraced me as an artist and as a homie from the fist time we met. Long story short, we did a song called “Chunk A 4” on my album “Anatomy Of A Street Genius” and the first day we got in the studio I wasn’t really prepared like I should have been as far as having a beat hook and concept of a song. So Slim, being a real dude, came back the second night and we knocked out the song. Some artists wouldn’t have come back the second night and that loyalty and just love for the game goes a long way with me. I couldn’t do anything but respect him for that.
When you first found out that your music video for “What I’m About” featuring Jadakiss and Slim Thug was going to be premiered on BET’s ‘106 and Park Countdown, what was your reaction?
Excuse my French, but in the words of my Canadian partner Drizzy Drake my reaction was “N**** WE MADE IT!!”LOL nah but really man it was an honor and a blessing to even be considered out of the thousands of rappers whose video they could’ve played they decided to give me a shot and I am just grateful and blessed for the opportunity to showcase my talents to the world. I felt like it was a milestone because I grew up watching 106 and Park with AJ and Free in its early stages and it was like the CNN for young urban America in a way. It was a rush, but there is so much more work to be done. The rush was short-lived but the motivation it gave me is unmeasurable.
Is there anything you want to accomplish that you already haven’t?
Yea, I want a few Grammys, Some BET Awards and more accolades under my belt before its all said and done. Right now I’m trying to set my self up to have longevity in this industry. I look at the Russell Simmons’, the Diddy’s, the JayZ’s, and Master P’s of the world and I think to myself I could be them. I could set myself up to really provide for my kids and my kids kids with this game. I look forward to being around and relevant for the next 10-15 years wether it be in music, fashion, liquor, cologne, hats or whatever. This music will set me up for a longevity score!
Any projects in the works that the audience can get prepared for?
“Anatomy Of A Street Genius” is still available on iTunes as well as livemixtapes. I am currently in the studio just making music and staying constant with my work. Im looking forward to dropping an album or LP late summer early fall. For further updates readers can follow me on twitter@jaboent or instagram@jaboent also check the website http://www.jaboent.com and thank you for a dope interview! #Salute