It’s not uncommon that we see creatives juggle a number of career paths, and this has become a reality for Jack The Plug, who is famously known for owning the chain of Amsterdam coffee shops by the same name. After the well-known cannabis establishment expanded to other cities, such as Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Dubai, Jack began to liaise with an array of big names in the music world, and it wasn’t long before he and music engineer Sean D, who is also a childhood friend of his, combined their efforts and decided to start a new venture; resulting in their record label, The Plug Records.
Jack struck gold with his creative endeavours after exploring his hobby, tapping into his musical creativity and producing one of the biggest collaborative rap albums we saw in 2019. Plug Talk birthed a string of iconic Trans-Atlantic artist collaborations, which had never been heard before, and undeniably generated a new wave of music. With an array of notable collaborations under his belt, including artists such as D-Block Europe, Chip, Yxng Bane, Offset, Roddy Ricch and Lil Baby, to name a few, there seems to be no limitations to what The Plug Records can put together.
Now, back by popular demand, Jack has been in the studio cooking up some long-anticipated tunes and after recently dropping his new track with Jay1 and Blueface, we caught up with him to talk about the creative process behind his debut project, what he’s been up to this year and what we can expect from his second album.
So, “Curvy” just dropped – how was it working with Jay1 and Blueface?
“Jay1 was really easy and he was good to work with because his mum and my mum live like a road apart from each other, so we grew up in the same place. So, it was nice to work with someone who’s from my area and that I know. Blueface – him and his team are really good people, they were really quick and were supportive in every way possible, so to be honest it was really good this time.”
You’re known for bridging the gap between UK and US music and bringing together a never-been-heard before range of rap artists, what made that first come about?
“Well basically, the relationships I’ve built with the UK and US artists is through the coffee shops. They’re always coming over when they’re on tour, so it kind of gave us the opportunity to connect. “
Your first album, Plug Talk, has done insane numbers for a debut album – it has reached over 200million streams since it came out last year. Were you expecting this kind of outcome when you started making the album?
“Honestly nah, not like that. When you’re doing something new, you never know how it’s gonna go or what people’s reactions are gonna be like, but the public fully supported us, you guys supported us, everyone showed us a lot of love. So thank God it went really well – better than expected.”
There’s definitely a huge audience for the music you create – what do you think it is about your music and collaborations that separates you from the other music out there?
“First of all, there ain’t really no one doing the collabs in the first place, so that makes it unique, and secondly the people we put together create a sound that everyone wants to hear. Everyone loved Gunna, everyone loved Huncho and Nafe so to put them all together, it was always gonna go off.”
So, your record label came after you started your popular coffee shop business – as a CEO, which one of your businesses feels more like your baby? Do you have a preference?
“My everyday life, like my day-to-day is obviously the shops and the brand and stuff like that, and the music was always like a passion/hobby but it’s turned into something more serious. So maybe the shops, because that’s where it all started, and without that we wouldn’t be here. But then also the music because it’s my passion, and it’s like something that I’ve always loved – it’s difficult you know, that’s a good question.”
“What’s crazy with anything I love or I’m passionate about is that I’m trying to turn it into a business, so my life’s not work but it also is. Like, I’ve opened a trainer shop this week with all like Supreme and exclusive Jordans and all collectable trainers, but that’s a hobby of mine as well. So, what I’ve come to realise is if I’m passionate or I care about something and I’ve got that much interest, I’m then trying to benefit from it at the same time.”
Has the current coronavirus situation put a pause on making music/getting artists in the booth, especially working with international creatives?
“Yeah. So like when the first lockdown happened, a lot of the album had already been recorded, so I was waiting for videos to be done, but certain things just never happened because of lockdown. So it definitely put a hold on things, and made things difficult with the travel restrictions and stuff, but there’s always ways around it.”
You dropped “De Aqui Pa Ya” this summer with a Spanish artist and a French artist – did you find that your music process was different when adding different languages in the mix?
“To be honest, the French artist, Lacrim, is a really big artist and he’s like one of my good good friends and he’s always at my shop or at my house, and the Spanish guy, Morad, because I’ve got the shop in Barcelona, I’ve known him for years as well. Both of their cultures are like Arabic – Moroccan/Algerian, so people really wanted that to happen in that culture and that sound, so that was more of a personal sort of thing.”
It’s been over a year since Plug Talk dropped, should we be expecting a Plug Talk 2 anytime soon? And what we can expect from your next project?
“There’s something coming, some big names on there, a few things that are a bit different and hopefully [you can expect] for it to be bigger and better than the last one. Just [for people to] appreciate the good sound and the hard work that goes into it because it’s a lot more than just throwing two people on a track .”
Are there any artists on your bucket list that you haven’t been able to link up with yet that you want to get in the studio?
“Of course, there’s loads, like Trav, Drake, a few UK ones as well. I wanna do something with Post one day if it’s possible. You know, there’s quite a lot so we’re still working hard and hopefully one day we’re big enough that they’ll wanna work with us too.”
It’s evident that the blueprint for The Plug’s overall success is to be steered by the passion in your hobby, which he has done in abundance. As a dedicated creative, it’s not hard to see how Jack has managed to elevate the bond between UK and US artists, as he fuels their musical common ground and continues to gift fans with nothing but quality in his tracks. His latest joint with Aitch, Lil Pump and Mally Mall, titled “Goyard Batman”, is only the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect from The Plug’s upcoming album, which is on its way soon!
Keep it locked on GRM Daily as always for all the latest developments.