Play it Loud is all about exploring Oklahoma music, and it features two main segments – a live performance and an interview with the artist.
This video series is perfect for fans of good storytelling. The full second season of Play it Loud is now online, and the featured artists will perform at Grand Casino and Resort on August 17.
The creative team behind this project chose artists from around the state, some with jokes to share, some with philosophies to discuss – and all with compelling stories. This season, the artists are The Imaginaries, Samantha Crain, Jabee, and Mike McClure.
Play it Loud is a captivating, intimate and sentimental video series from the mind of Chad Mathews, hosted by Adam Hampton. While each episode holds an entirely different feeling, an overarching theme remains through them all – there’s some amazing things going on in Oklahoma. We visited the Grand Casino and Resort to chat with Mathews about Play it Loud and the future of Oklahoma music.
Chad Mathews – the man with the plan
Play it Loud started when Chad Mathews, Marketing Director for the Grand Casino, noticed what was happening in Oklahoma music and wanted to be involved.
“It’s not hard for anybody who’s even remotely close to Oklahoma City to see that stuff is happening,” Mathews said. “We wanted to be a part of the momentum that’s going on in Oklahoma City.
Mathews is a member of Outsiders Productions, and independent film company based out of Oklahoma.
Mathews asked his friend, Adam Hampton, a founding member of Outsiders Productions, to be involved in the project as the writer and director. Hampton’s main job is to interview the artist and narrate each episode.
“When I started doing this, I wanted it to be Anthony Bourdain meets Austin City Limits.”Chad Mathews
In his interview with Adam Hampton, Jabee talked about his passion for hip-hop and the art of giving back.
Jabee struggled through homelessness at a young age, and, in 2001, his brother was shot and killed, which motivated Jabee to use his musical talent to help his family.
“There’s a guy here, part of a growing underground that wants to give a spotlight to something else – there’s more here, more voices to be heard,” Hampton said.
Jabee said he grew up writing raps, even started looking up recording studios by 11 years old. He wrote his first rap when he was 7, about a girl.
“My bookbag was full of raps, I had no schoolwork in there, just all raps,” Jabee said. “I probably had a rap for everything, from girls, to school, to the streets, to people around me dying. I had a rap for everything that I went through.”
When asked what the hardest part about being a rapper in Oklahoma City is, he answered, “that’s the hardest thing, just trying to be a rapper in Oklahoma City.”
“From the outside, people don’t look at Oklahoma and think it’s an urban city, or there’s even black people here,” Jabee said. “When I travel, no matter where I go, that’s the one question I always get asked – ‘are there any black people there?’ For real. Because the only thing they’re used to seeing are like you know cowboys, native americans, or the Thunder.”
Jabee talked about black history in Oklahoma, stories that sometimes get glossed over like Clara Luper, Ralph Elison, and Charlie Christian.
Jabee wants to tell those stories and others, the stories of anyone who isn’t heard, people living on the streets, struggling in OKC. Jabee isn’t just a rapper. He’s an activist, an entrepreneur, a father, a teacher, a radio show host, and a culinary aficionado.
“I’m from here, and I’m a product of my environment. In life, we just take and take and take, and it’s important that we give as well, and I want to be somebody who gives, more that somebody who can rap. I enjoy it. I love it. But I think that it’s important, as me, as Jabee, whenever I’m dead and gone, I don’t want people to be like oh he was a dope rapper, or he could dress, you know what I’m saying, that stuff’s not real, I want people to say he changed my life.Jabee Williams