Jesse Garba Abaga (born August 10, 1984), known professionally as Jesse Jagz, is a Nigerian rapper, record producer and songwriter. He signed a record deal with Chocolate City in 2010 and released his debut studio album Jag of All Tradez that same year. He voluntarily exited the Chocolate City deal in 2013 and announced the launch of his independent label, Jagz Nation. Jagz released his second studio album Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come in 2013; it included singles such as “Redemption“, “Bad Girl”, “Sex & Scotch” and “God on the Mic”. His third studio album, Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company ,was released in 2014. He returned to Chocolate City in 2015 but left the label again prior to releasing his fourth studio album Odysseus in 2017. In May 2020, he released a 5-track EP titled Garba.
1984–2009: Jesse Jags Biography and career beginnings
Jesse Garba Abaga was born on August 10, 1984, to Chris and Lydia Abaga. He grew up in Jos and is a member of Taraba State’s Jukun ethnic group. His father is a pastor and his mother is a gospel artist and counselor. He joined his church’s choir at the age of 7 and later learned to play the drums on his parents’ drum kit. He recorded an unreleased album with the short-lived music group Gospel Insanity in 2003. A year later, Abaga formed the group Eleven Thirty; they enjoyed local success before disbanding in 2006. Jesse Jagz’s first solo record “Africa” was released in 2006, topping the charts of several local radio stations in northern Nigeria. In 2007, three of his singles had similar success, peaking within the Top 10 on several radio charts in the region. Jesse Jagz has produced songs for several artists, including Majek Fashek, M.I Abaga, Banky W, Ice Prince, Mode 9, and Proverb and Dekunle Fuji. In February 2009, he represented Nigeria at the Sauti Za Busara Music Festival.
2010–2013: Jag of All Tradez, Chocolate City exit and Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come
Jesse Jagz released his debut studio album Jag of All Tradez on April 21, 2010. It included the singles “Wetin Dey”, “Pump It Up”, “Jesse Swag”, “Sugar Cane Baby” and “Bend Down Low”. The album was produced entirely by Jesse Jagz and went platinum in Nigeria two months after its release. Described as a commercially driven pop project, the album was experimental in nature. In an interview with Adeoye Arubayi, Jagz said the album was a learning process and a way for him to explore the different music markets in Nigeria. Jag of All Tradez received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Keeps Magazine commended the album’s production and Jesse Jagz’s delivery, but ended the review saying that the record should have been shortened to ten songs. Oye Akd of 360nobs granted the album an overall verdict of 7.5 stars out of 10, commending it for being a diverse body of work that contained a “mixture of beats and rhymes that exemplify where Nigerian hip-hop should be today”. Adeyinka Yusuff of BellaNaija awarded the album a 5/10 rating, praising its overall production while simultaneously criticizing its experimental nature.
In March 2013, Jesse Jagz announced his voluntary exit from Chocolate City and the launch of his own independent outfit Jagz Nation. Several media outlets such as Nigerian Entertainment Today and Pulse Nigeria reported that Chocolate City accused Jesse Jagz of owing them money and being a marijuana addict. However, the label debunked the reports through their PR firm, World PR Media. In an interview with The Punch newspaper, Jesse Jagz said his decision to leave Chocolate City was not a spur of the moment decision and that he thought about it overtime. In another interview with Kolapo Olapoju, Jesse Jagz said he left Chocolate City because he got tired performing songs from his Jag of All Tradez album for three consecutive years. Moreover, he told Vanguard newspaper he left Chocolate City after the label’s management showed little interest in promoting a track he recorded.
Jesse Jagz’s second studio album Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come was released on July 10, 2013. It features collaborations with guest artists such as 9ice, Wizkid, Brymo, James Maverik and Lindsey Abudei. Jesse Jagz recorded over 200 songs for the album and worked with producers Kid Konnect, Shady Bizniz, Samklef and GuiltyBeatz. He didn’t feature M.I Abaga or Ice Prince on the album because he wanted to be the only rapper on it. In an interview posted on MADC.com, he elaborated on the album, saying “It’s just going to be music. With the album I just tried to push the boundary. Writing, production, arrangement, engineering. I set out to just make good music. Forget about being Nigerian, forget about being in Lagos and just make some good music.” Jesse Jagz said he expects to receive mixed reviews when he drops the album and that being gifted in recording and producing added to the album’s depth. Jesse Jagz promoted the album by holding the Jesse Jagz Experience concert at the New Afrika Shrine on August 24, 2013. He told The Punch newspaper he decided to host the album’s launch concert at the Shrine for historical reasons and to accommodate some of his financially unstable fans. Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come was nominated for Best Rap Album at The Headies 2014 and for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
The album’s lead single “Redemption” was released on May 29, 2013. OkayAfrica said it is “anchored on an addictive clink-clank beat and swerving synth melody, which Jesse Jagz expertly rides and molds into a hip-hop-meets-dancehall gem.” The audio and visuals for “Redemption” were released simultaneously. The Wizkid-assisted track “Bad Girl” was released on July 10, 2013, as the album’s second single. Its music video was uploaded to YouTube on December 7, 2013. Jesse Jagz released the Femi Kuti-assisted track “3rd World War” on August 7, 2013. It was released as the lead single from the Heaven’s Hell soundtrack. On January 19, 2014, Jagz Nation released the music video for the album’s third single “Sex & Scotch”, which was directed by Mex Film Production. On January 23, 2014, Jesse Jagz released the J.O. King-directed animated video for the album’s fourth single “God on the Mic”.
2014: Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company
Jesse Jagz released his third studio album, Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company, on March 28, 2014. He hired fellow musicians Shady, Dugod, Ibro and Phazehop to assist with production. The album consists of samples ranging from Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” to excerpts from movies such as Network (1976), Scarface (1983), and Johnny Mad Dog (2008). The album features guest appearances and recording samples by Fela Kuti, Tupac, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Tesh Carter, Jumar, Dugod, Sarah Mitaru, Rexx and Show Dem Camp. Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company was initially meant be a mixtape and was initially titled The Transfiguration of Jesse Jagz. On March 28, 2014, Jesse Jagz made the album available for digital streaming on SoundCloud. On August 2, 2014, he held the second edition of the Jesse Jagz Experience concert at the AGIP Recital Hall; he called it “The Greatest Concert” and performed with a 16-man hip-hop orchestra band.
Jesse Jagz started creating the album by recording a mixture of ideas for two months. After the two-month period, his team sifted through the music and selected the album’s final track listing. He chose the album’s title to sensitize Nigerians about their history, saying that he made the album for his core fans. He described the album as two steps above Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come and said he wanted to stay away from reggae-influenced sounds for sentimental reasons. He hoped people found healing from the album and wanted people who were hurting to find comfort in it. On March 17, 2014, the album’s cover art was released to the general public. Inspired by the works of René Magritte, it shows a man standing with a fruit and apple blocking his face. The concept behind Magritte’s work revolves around revealing one thing and hiding another. The cover art features a model holding different things that symbolize the culture of Nigeria.
2015–present: The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation, Odysseus and Garba
Jesse Jagz signed a new record deal with Chocolate City in 2015. He produced several tracks on the label’s 2015 compilation album The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation (TICBN). The album’s release celebrated the merger of Loopy Music and Chocolate City as well as his return. TICBN was released to the general public two weeks following its exclusive release on Star Music. It included the singles “Summer Time” and “Suite 99”. In December 2016, Jesse Jagz performed with Femi Kuti and Niniola at a live music concert held at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja.
In 2017, Jesse Jagz announced his departure from Chocolate City for the second time. He told The Punch newspaper that he left in order to have more creative control over his music. His fourth studio album, Odysseus, was released on September 8, 2017. It features collaborations with Hotyce, Styl-Plus, Cynthia Morgan, Melon and Burna Boy. Prior to releasing the album, Jesse Jagz released a number of singles in 2017, including “Midnight Vibes” and “New World”. “Best in You” was released as a pre-released single. Odysseus draws influences from Caribbean sounds, supporting the dancehall identity that Jesse Jagz embraced on his second studio album Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come (2013). Jesse Jagz originally began production on Odysseus in August 2014. The album was initially scheduled for release in 2015, but was delayed multiple times. Its title was inspired by the Greek king Odysseus. Although built on a predominantly hip-hop foundation, some of the tracks on Odysseus are infused with Caribbean rhythm and patois-laced rap.
In June 2017, Jesse Jagz unveiled the album’s cover art on his Instagram profile. The cover features a picture of his mother as a child, sitting with Jan Boer’s three biological children. The photo was taken in the grounds of Boer’s idyllic Jos home. Jesse Jagz performed tracks from the album to select listeners at an Industry Nite event. The event was held on June 28, 2017, at Spice Route in Victoria Island, Lagos.
On May 29, 2020, Jesse Jagz released Garba, a 5-track extended play named after his traditional surname. He produced it with assistance from Geekbeatz and Misty. The EP is a mixture of Afropop, trap music, hip-hop and folk music; it features collaborations with Anchorman and Mr Murph. Motolani Alake of Pulse Nigeria awarded Garba a rating of 6.8 out of 10, praising its production and saying it “beautifully sells the rapper’s tales with natural honesty and storytelling”. Conversly, Alake criticized Jesse Jagz for letting the EP be about “lyrical brilliance and storytelling” rather than “an out-of-body sonic experience”.
Jesse Jagz primarily makes hip-hop and reggae, but incorporates elements of other genres into his music. His music utilizes various kinds of instrumentation, auto-tune and echo.
Jesse Jagz is the younger brother of M.I Abaga.He has a daughter with singer Ruby Gyang
|Estimated Net Worth in 2020||$1 Million – $5 Million (Approx.)|
|Previous Year’s Net Worth (2018)||$100,000 – $1 Million|
|Annual Salary||Under Review.|
|Income Source||Primary Income source Rapper (profession).|