The introduction ofcrack-cocaine,to American ,
ghettos in,thelate,1980s caused,.
Irreversible damage that has lasted for generations. That small, white devil ripped families apart, caused penitentiary populations to swell with black bodies and made zombies out of users whose only concern was chasing the next high.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, was the dealer. He had the fancy cars, glimmering jewelry and prime property. Saving grace from unemployment and poverty, the financial gains from the dope game made many into millionaires while destroying the lives of others.
Just as drugs provide joy and prosperity, they also cause as much destruction and pain. Those drug-induced highs and lows have run concurrent throughout the life of veteran Ocala, FL rapper Jack Diamond.
Growing up, both of his parents were hooked on crack, and his father died as a result of drug use. On the other end of the spectrum, nevertheless, he himself has profited from drug distribution in the past.
Now, Diamond channels his disappointments, heartbreak, agony and triumphs into his music with sentimental singles such as the openly honest “Free Love” featuring YFN Lucci, “Hatred” and “Richard,” a biting open-book about his deceased father.
“I make all my music transparent so fans can see we go through the same things,” Diamond explains. “I don’t hide my struggles. They saw me walking and they saw me driving in exotic cars. I’m the people’s champ in my area. I’m the underdog. They root for me because they know what I went through.”
Jack Diamond had to endure the most extreme pressures of life before he could shine like the exotic jewel that he is today. His story begins when his mother left the small town of Pelham, GA and relocated to Florida. She started using drugs after her father died and a friend introduced her to crack-cocaine and told her it would make her feel better. She was hooked from the first hit.
There in Florida, she also met Jack’s father, and she shortly became pregnant from the short-lived relationship. Over time, his parents’ relationship dissolved. His mother married Jack’s stepfather and had more kids. Much like the old relationship, this new union was marred by drugs and violence. “My stepdaddy used to beat my momma’s ass, giving her black eyes,” he recalls.
To escape the abuse, she packed up her children and returned home to Georgia. Jack was 11. “Georgia was nothing like what I was accustomed to seeing. All I saw was trees. It was like night and day,” he remembers. “I was in the streets in Ocala, going into different dope holes with my momma and having to sit in the car while she goes inside and do whatever.”
There in Georgia, Jack thought that life would be better. In contrast, it became much worse. “She went in more with the drugs when we got there,” he describes. “We were left with my grandma a lot over the weekends when she got paid, and we wouldn’t see her until Monday or Tuesday.”
Eventually, Jack’s father got married, had another child and came to get Jack. The young boy’s heart was torn from his chest to find out that pops was addicted to crack as well. “When I realized that he smoked dope too, it was a major disappointment. I thought I had made it out but I was back in it,” says Diamond.
“I never really felt like I wasn’t a part of his family but being a stepchild at times I felt like an outcast. I never was really in the house. I tried to stay out as much as I could. I was in the streets.”
In those streets, he learned to profit off the same poison that annihilated his family. “At a young age, I knew about the lifestyle. I knew about both sides of the crack game. My parents used to smoke, and I was a dealer on the other side of it,” he admits.
“I was trying to get money out of the streets. I wasn’t trying to accumulate a name for myself. My people smoke crack. I’m trying to make it better.”
During all of the ordeals that he underwent, the one constant in his life was the music. While waiting outside in the car while his mother got high, music was his escape. “Music always took me places other than where I was,” he explains. “Music has always been my crutch.”
Relying on music to escape the harsh realities of life, Jack began writing his own music around age 15. After trying and trying, he could never complete a verse. That began to change after his uncle wrote a song for him that young Jack Diamond performed in a local talent show. “After that, I was inspired,” he says.
Over the next few years, he would write pages and pages of rhymes along with a childhood friend who was also an aspiring rapper. During one of the times when he had to move back to Georgia, his cousin visited with some music from a new group that was taking over the Florida streets.
The music was from trailblazing central Florida rap group the Strangers. One of the members of the group was that same homeboy who had written rhymes with in the past. So when Diamond returned to Florida, he was willing to play any position that he could. He became a promoter for the group and ultimately became a member. Together, over the next three albums, they became regional household names.
Jack Diamond later launched a solo career and released highly popular album series Breakfast Vol. 1, 2 and 3. Unfortunately, though, his music came to a crashing halt after taking a hiatus from music to deal with personal issues.
Years later, after returning to his music, he came across another brick wall. “I had a lot going on that I had to deal with,” he explains. “So I had writers block… It’s frustrating, and it’s embarrassing because you got fans asking for new music, and I didn’t know what to tell them.”
Hoping to cure his lack of creativity, he started his label Skroll Music Group and signed an ambitious young rapper. Jack poured money into the artist and even allowed him to live in his home. That situation turned sour, however, after he caught the artist stealing from him.
So he went into the studio, did not write a verse and just freestyled his feelings. The result was Jack Diamond’s runaway hit “Free Love” featuring YFN Lucci, as well as hit singles “In My Feelings” and “Butterfly.” Since then, hits kept coming and coming.
“I know I have to make my music from an emotional standpoint. It’s more real. That’s what I can resonate with,” he points out. “Every song I make pertaining to my emotions are the ones people gravitate to. I can rap about any and everything, but the ones where I put my emotions in, they love.”