Getting jazzy: Rapper Picket Fence’s new album draws from the ’90s



Picket Fence, born Jason Webb, started rhyming for friends in the mid-1980s while attending the predominantly white Northridge High School. It’s now 2024 and the Dayton-based rapper is still sharing his talents with people.

Webb recently discussed “Space God,” his killer new album created with producer Blue Buttonz from Johannesburg, South Africa. It was released on April 8.

Social media connection: “I met Blue Buttonz in a Boom Bap music group on Facebook. We were always talking about the same things and commenting on the same posts. We first connected years ago when I was doing that Eternal Legacy project. We used two of his tracks on the album. We stayed in contact. I wanted this one to be like early ‘90s rap with mostly jazz samples. Even before hip-hop, I’m a fan of jazz.”

Virtual collaboration: “Blue Buttonz was perfect for this. He also plays jazz bass, so we talked about songs. I’d send him some ‘70s jazz song, he’d chop it up and send it right back. Once he sent me all the tracks, I was ready to start recording vocals. I did all the rhymes, and this is the first time I sang all the hooks because I wanted to have control of everything.”

Finding inspiration: “None of the artists that were most influential on my style are rappers. People always had artists similar to me like Busta Rhymes or ODB but George Benson, Al Jarreau and Anita Baker influenced my style more. They always had this fluctuation in their voices, and I always liked that, so I incorporated that into the way I rap.”

Studio perspiration: “I usually work with Mike Cooley, but he took a break to focus on DJ gigs. I was in limbo for a while and that’s when I hooked up with Tim Woods, who used to work with Moe Beats at Razdabar. I did all my vocals with him. The first time I went over to his house I knocked out three songs in two hours. A couple of days later he said, ‘I think you’ve got something.’ So, I went in every couple of weeks and did three or four songs.”

Meeting expectations: “Tim mixed and mastered the album too. I only heard a rough mix of two songs from the first session. He didn’t let me hear the rest until everything was done. He wanted to work with it and do his thing. When he finally had it done, it sounded great. It was exactly what I imagined it would be.”

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