Growing Pains: A Conversation With Big Jade About The Art of Hustling And Self-Sufficiency

Big Jade

Beaumont-raised rapper Big Jade is a humble giant on the verge of being a breakout star. Her character may be the furthest thing from reserved, bursting onto the music scene with rapid-fire bars and hairdresser aspirations. Whether she’s penning different flows over bass-heavy instrumentals, or braiding her daughters hair while she enjoys a snack on the porch: Big Jade is cut from a different cloth, all she knows is hustle. 

“I came up under some down ass women, some women that just be hustling.” — Big Jade

Musically, Jade’s sonic palette is filled with truth, detailing a life that has been one constant uphill battle. During our conversation, she divulged into an upbringing that supports her claims to a self-sufficient lifestyle. The picture hasn’t always been perfect, but Jade has managed to keep her vision intact, never losing her ambition. “I’m chasing my dreams and a lot of people don’t get the chance to do that in life.”

Though, admittedly, Jade’s come up story hasn’t always been pretty, she’s had to endure her own fair share of hardships – one of which being a six month jail sentence. When it’s time to sit down (serve time), some people grow weary in their faith, while others may grow closer to their passion, but in Big Jade’s case, she ushered in a new outlook on life that would catalyze her grind going forward. It’s one thing to have momentum, but you must remain consistent in your efforts, no matter how uncomfortable the “now” may feel. Those moments of uncertainty are what promotes growth, or as Jade says, “that deciphers who the f**k you are.”

Big Jade is hellbent on rewriting the narrative behind success as defined by effort: she’s not trying to outwork anyone other than her old ways. She possesses a unique sense of mystique coupled with enough confidence to move at her own pace, unhurried, which subsequently led to securing a new bag with New York-based Alamo Records. While on a path of self-sufficiency, Big Jade invites listeners to follow her down a road less traveled, one that embraces ugly truths, a hustler’s ambition, and growing pains.

Big Jade! Let’s start our conversation here, how has remote learning been working out for you as a parent? 

First of all, I can’t stand it, I’m finna send her (Jade’s daughter) ass right back to school. She skips school right in my face, doing stuff she ain’t got no business doing, making noises, going to get a snack real quick — I don’t like it, she skips in my face. How you beat somebody’s ass for skipping in your face? She got to go! I want her out my house and back in that school. I don’t care if she gotta go back in a goddamn bubble. If I gotta go up there myself I will. It’s hard for me too, because I find myself just tracing her shit.

Personally, would you say that you’re better at doing hair or making music? 

That’s two totally different lanes, but I wanna have the same effect. When I finish somebody’s hair, I want them to feel good about themselves, you feel me? And when you listen to my song, you should feel good about yourself and be able to relate to it (music). Which one I do better at? Music, cuz I take more time in my craft when it comes to music. With hair, it’s just not that serious. I’m tryna do better, I took some classes and stuff, but I’m getting the backend off hair right now! What’s revenuing me more money?Hair. Yeah, can’t let it go. 

When you think of the word “hustler”, what comes to mind?

Me, my mama, women, my homegirl mama, my homegirl. When I think of hustlers, the first thing that comes to my mind is women because my family not filled with a lot of men. I ain’t meet my daddy until I was like 16 or 17. I came up under some down ass women, some women that just be hustling. The females in my city get it on too. I see women online selling clothes, doing hair, getting it on, like the women are going crazy right now. 

Talk to me about growing up in Beaumont, TX.

I feel like I had fun. I don’t really remember too much supervision, because my mama was doing her thing. All the kids used to be there, and somebody like 13 or 14, so we would be good. I wasn’t born in the projects or nothing, like I was in the neighborhood, on Magnolia and Trinidad. I don’t remember all this crazy stuff that’s going on now: kids was outside playing on bikes, hooping, trampoline, stealing out the store, I had fun. As long as we together, all the cousins, brothers and sisters, it was fun fasho. 

How would you best describe home?

Well, my mama, she would always have a nigga, so it really wasn’t no single-parent home. Now, was the nigga the right nigga or right example, hmm, it felt like it to me though, at the time. She always had a nigga there, on God. For the nigga not to be my daddy, I was always aware. It was always another man in the house, but I didn’t see them. I didn’t see them as being a father figure or man in the house. I would see my mom, just her. It kinda felt like she was damn near single and shit. She broke up all the time and had a new nigga all the time, so shit, I’m seeing shit from a different angle, shit affecting me differently. I’m growing up knowing niggas ain’t shit cuz I ain’t got no daddy, so every time my mama going through it, I’m going through it with her. I’m nine years old, gotta be crying with her about this nigga: my other brothers and sisters can go to they daddy house, but I gotta really be there and go through shit with her. I’ll beat the nigga up, fuck the car up, all that shit: every emotion my mom ever felt, I felt it too. 

Everything that I’m learning, I see everything from a different light. All these different niggas you’d let cheat on you and shit: I know that no matter what a nigga do, you still gotta be able to stand, cuz that shit ain’t forever. You gotta be able to live how you wanna live without a man, that’s what that shit taught me. Jade always gotta have some money, no matter what this nigga got. No nigga is promised, I went through that shit wit my mama as a kid. To know you can be all in with somebody and that shit ain’t shit, cuz when you break up, that nigga ain’t gone take care of you. 

Do you feel like that period of time in your life made you a more strong-minded person? 

I won’t say it made me more strong-minded, it made me more self-sufficient money wise. It taught me uglier ways. When I get mad at somebody, or the nigga I’m fucking wit, I would say some mean, nasty shit, because that’s what my mama would do. When we break up, we gone kill each other before we leave. I’m just now learning that when things don’t work out with somebody, you can walk away from them with your head held high knowing that it just didn’t work out, it ain’t for us. 

How do you find the balance between your rap career and being a mom? 

My mama helps me with everything, so I get the luxury of doing both. I really don’t gotta miss out on nothing. Anytime I gotta go somewhere and come back home, my daughter right there, because I moved my mama out the city and now my mama out here with me. It’s really good, I ain’t got no complaints, I’m able to move how I wanna move. She got older brothers and sisters, so me having my daughter didn’t stop anything out the gate. My baby daddy baby mama always had wanted my daughter for whatever the fuck her reasons were, and her kids wanted they sister, and I got my mama: it takes a village to raise a child. I got a whole village helping me, so at the drop of a dime I can leave and go do what I need to do for this shit. Sometimes I’ll get a lil sad cuz’ I can’t just be with her like that, but I know when I go home, she’s there, and that’s my biggest thing: I just need her to be home when I get back or I won’t ever get to see her. 

Personally, at this stage in your life, would you say that you’re happy? 

I’m grateful, but I don’t settle. I’m not finna settle for this shit. Like, yeah it’s all fine and dandy: I’m thankful, thank you Lord, I gotta deal, I’m doing better than I’ve ever done in my life, but I still want better for myself. I’m happy and I’m grateful, but I’m still uncomfortable, I want that hit song. 

What did jail do for your work ethic: did you come home with a plan or did you have to reset and start over from scratch?

In jail, everybody gets close to the Lord and start to see things differently and all that, so I told myself when I come home, I done wasted 6 months of time, prior to how many years I wasted with my daughter’s daddy. When I came home, it’s up now, period. I ain’t letting nobody get in my way.  My boyfriend ended up getting killed and that was a sign, it’s my season. It’s my season to take back everything the devil had took from me, and I can’t do that if a nigga in my way. I told myself I will respect myself more, my body more, to try and be a better parent, daughter, cousin, all that. Whatever for me, God…I’m ready to do it: if you want me to tap in on the corner and sell bonnets, I’m with whatever. I’m at the point like what I’m supposed to do Lord. So, coming home to a deal 6 months later, he (God) letting me know I’m gone get that platform, and I’m gone do what the Lord wants me to do. I know how to make people listen to me, I knew how to make a whole city drink water. I know how to make people listen to me, I got my clarification, what I’m supposed to do, and that’s what it was. I’ma do whatever it is that the higher power want me to do. 

How have you managed to remain resilient in your efforts to succeed despite everything that you’ve been through? 

Sometimes I get down. Sometimes I feel like fuck man, what am I supposed to be doing, shit ain’t working out, I ain’t getting no bread off this shit. Everybody got they times, know what I’m saying, but that deciphers who the fuck you are. I ain’t no weak ass bitch, so it’s like hustlers, I think of a women, so when I get down and start thinking like that — my mama had four fucking kids — so, it’s like nah, I can’t think like that. Doubt it the devil, I can’t let that shit take over my mind. Everyday I get up, I’m tryna be productive, that’s what makes me wanna go so hard. People seen firsthand all the stuff I went through, so when I get that, people gon’ know that this shit possible, on God. Don’t nobody fail from working hard, I’ve never heard that. You work hard, you get the prize, so that’s all I see. No matter how long it takes. Her way ain’t go be my way, his way not gon’ be my way, my way gone come from blood, sweat and tears: I know that cause I was born in this shit. I was born living in Beaumont, Texas, where nobody has ever done anything or made it out. 

Do you feel like you’re rewriting that narrative behind what it means to make it out of Beaumont, TX – like you’re the first of your kind, stylistically? 

Yeah, because all I ever wanted to do was make music comfortably. I’m doing that now, I ain’t worried about shit. I’m chasing my dreams and a lot of people don’t get the chance to do that in life. Other people have in their head what the fuck making it is to them for me, but in my head I already made it: what the fuck I gotta deal wit these people in Alamo, they based in New York, like how the fuck they seen me? In my head, I already made it. To me, anything from this point on, it is what it is. Niggas still out here rapping, dropping shit, but ain’t nobody hearing that but us nigga. 

Signing with Alamo Records, I know that has to be a gratifying feeling, considering everything that you’ve been through. What does this new deal mean for Big Jade?

That means that I gotta chance to chase this shit with no excuse. For me to get this deal made me know that this shit is possible. Getting a deal is unfuckingbelieveable bro. Now that I’ve done that, that gave me the clarification that what I want is possible and I can go get that now.

About the Author

Derrius Edwards
Derrius is a music industry professional with experience in content strategy and editorial writing, sharing relevant and resonating stories as a conduit for hip-hop culture advancement.

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