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03 Greedo is Back Home And Working on Building an Empire

03 Greedo is back home. After his return from a Texas county jail in January, the L.A. rapper released Halfway There, a 33-track odyssey replete with Greedo’s melodic flourishes. He followed it up by performing at South by Southwest in Austin and, in June, a two-night stint at The Novo in Los Angeles — a venue that marked a kind of homecoming. “The show was turnt up. Both sold out. A lot of rappers popped out for me,” Greedo explains. “The city hasn’t seen that for a while.” While in prison, Greedo, born Jason Jamal Jackson, remembers looking in the mirror each night, visualizing fans reciting his lyrics during a show like that one. He stayed current and tried his best to listen to what music was out in the wild while he was locked up. “From rap, R&B, and pop, I listened to it inside,” he says. “So when I was performing, I was locked in.”

Only if you go to Kevin Gates, Boosie, and the Almighty of male demons, Future, will you find artists with the kind of stark, hard-lived emotional resonance that 03 Greedo possesses. In the same way that Drakeo the Ruler infused the inventive and irreverent instinct of Ghostface with an L.A. lens, Greedo is something like a West Coast Drake — blurring the lines between rapping and singing, so much so that you wonder why the lines even existed in the first place. Like on songs like “Never Bend,” an anthem for caustic people trying to survive in a life parallel to hell.

Part of Greedo’s charm was in how he ran cold and icy to everything else in Los Angeles around that time. When G-Funk revival and DJ Mustard’s hot steel were en vogue, Greedo reached from his Louisiana influences to become Watts’s most popular entity since the Christmas parade. “I was in the era of making something that people could go back to. I wanted something for people to look at me like Lil Wayne or Gucci Mane,” says Greedo. “Because of how long his records are.” For example, 2016’s Purple Summer has 40 tracks. Greedo leaves much to chew on. 

He was arrested in 2016 for having four pounds of methamphetamine and two stolen pistols in the trunk of his car after Porter County Sheriff deputies had claimed they smelled weed during a stop. When he pleaded out, he did so to the tune of a 20-year sentence. He would only serve five. Being inside and in Texas — a state with a 3 million budget for its prison system — proved to be a seminar in the depths of modern American racism. “It was different from a California prison. It is harsher and very outdated. They got different racial politics,” Greedo says. “They are a lot more white people. You can’t eat with another race. The Mexican gangs are beefing. They can put you with someone who has a life sentence or someone who is coming home in two days.” 

He was laser-focused on business the entire time he was locked up. Now Greedo’s energy is directed towards being hands-on with his work and building his empire. Not to mention his daughter, who is seventeen, and now has her father back. “I like how Yo Gotti is running his team. Everybody follows Jay-Z. Puffy”, Greedo tells me. “Everyone who moves independent – or even security-wise. I am watching that. Trying to become a mogul.” 

I first noticed Greedo’s music around 2016 and was drawn to his feature work with Drakeo the Ruler, who was murdered in 2021 at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival. For a time, listening to both meant seeing change right in front of your eyes. Don’t get me wrong, Kendrick Lamar can rap as well as anyone. Still, Greedo and Drakeo upended all the conventional wisdom surrounding Los Angeles music, with Drakeo, in particular, dipping his hand into some of the Bay Area’s rap culture. (He often sounded like Suga Free if Free’s voice was hoarse from lean).  

Drakeo was an inventor, but Greedo’s music traveled better and was often released more consistently, despite Greedo going through similar troubles with the criminal justice system as Drakeo. Both men were symbols of change in L.A. rap; both men worked together; both men’s rise was mercurial, solid, and hater-proof. When I ask Greedo about Drakeo, he is clearly still affected: “I tried to keep it going, but it is devastating to a certain extent. He was the first man I made that music with. He went back to back against the city. It was the movies — when two villains link up”, Greedo says slowly. “We were a problem. We were hoping out of Benzes. 


Greedo has his memory of Drakeo, which might make him more ambitious and focused. In March, he released the 33-track Halfway There. It’s definitely a tad long, but “Buss Me a Script” with Maxo Kream is strong, as are “Picc It Up” and “Bacc Like I Never Left.” Soon, Greedo will drop an album with a legendary producer who he slyly declines to name. (I guessed DJ Drama, but he wouldn’t tell me). “That’s a secret,” he says while laughing. 

Greedo wants longevity. His plan: No self-help books (“They’re boring. That’s not me”, he explains:”), but trying to read between the lines. He read Mike Tyson’s undisputed truth and was affected by the stories of Tyson forgetting to train and getting high before boxing matches instead. He saw Kanye West’s struggles with his mental health, and he wondered whether he should play into the game of the music industry — a debate he still grapples with. “At some level, you do have to play the game. You have to do certain things. If you’re going to be one of those artists,” Greedo declares. “If you are like, I don’t wear that. I don’t do this; I don’t wear name brands — that’s wack because where I am from, everybody on that. Some people will settle with being your enemy if they can’t be your friend.”

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