Arizona Rising: Shug Jackson- ‘It Only Gets Better’


Written By Rob Lee


Shug Jackson is a veteran in the entertainment industry who has overcome many trials and tribulations, to only be here today showing the world that the Phoenix continues to rise in Arizona! He represents class, and a realness that is often lost in the current world of music. Transpire sat down for a discussion with Shug!


Interview with Artist/Entertainer Shug Jackson:


TSP– Can you tell our readers a little bit about where you are from, along with some of your history in the music business?

Shug– I am from Tucson Arizona, where I was born and raised. I signed a Major Record deal in 1991 to Def Jam Records, which was owned by Russell Simmons at the time.


TSP-Historically rap and hip hop has been about the artists telling stories about their lives. Please tell our readers what life was like for you growing up in Arizona and if that has anything to do with the style and focus of your music?

Shug– Life for me growing up was fun at times and also tough at times dealing with everyday life in the neighborhood. The hood was fun a lot of the times and it was also a place where we had to keep an eye open at all times from rival neighborhoods coming into our hood causing problems. My music reflects what I seen every day and what I still see to this day, the good and the bad, the laughs and cries that everyone goes though. I’m trying to bring back feelings and emotions again to the Rap game.




TSP-I understand that you were the first west coast artist signed to Def Jam. Will you tell us about that?

Shug– Yes the first one back in 1991. I was signed to Def Jam West. Greedy Greg, who was DJ Quiks manager at the time, got a hold of my demo and took it to Def Jam. And two weeks later I signed a deal with them, making me the first from the West coast to do so.


TSP-What do you think inspires you most to rap?

Shug– The ability to touch people through words and be able to touch their Soul in some type of way is what drives me! Being able to tell the stories of millions of people who aren’t able to be heard or are unable to voice their opinions to a wide audience. I’m their voice and that inspires me every day.


TSP-Who are some of the most well known people in the industry that you have worked with in the past, and is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with now?

Shug– I haven’t really worked with anyone as of yet because I’ve always wanted to build my own thing first. I’ve been around and know many artists in the industry and I do plan to work with some in the near future. Axel Rose of Guns N Roses, Ice Cube, Jay Z, Howard Hewitt of Shalamar are some of the people I wants to make great music with.


TSP-What is one of your favorite tracks to date and why?

Shug– A song that I did back in the day when on Def Jam titled “Be Thankful” is probably my favorite track I’ve done to date because it really hits home on about just being thankful for everything you may have and even those things you don’t have. We take things for granted sometimes and fail to realize that the things we do have many people do not, and they would do anything to attain, such as a roof over their heads.


TSP-Can you tell us about any current or future projects you have going on?

Shug– I’m currently working on completing my album titled “It Only Gets Better”, working on writing a movie and also being in a Pilot written by Josh Mitchell that just might end up on HBO, stay tuned.



TSP-Are there any words of advice or encouragement you have for people with talent who want to get in the music industry?

Shug– My words of advice are: believe in yourself, believe in everything you do and know that there’s a reason why you’re doing it. Block out all the noise because they’re going to be those that say what you can’t do, they’re also going to be those that praise you too much and not tell you the truth when you probably need to hear the truth. Only you and God can see your dreams, follow them and no one else’s.



I want to thank everyone who support Shug Jackson and even those that don’t, there’s a rhyme and reason for everything, even the bad. I want to Thank you Robert Lee and everyone on your staff for the love and support; I will always be Grateful for it.  Yours Truly, Shug Jackson!


Video: ‘It Only Gets Better’



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