On Dec. 20, 2017, the hip-hop community mourned the loss of Reggie Ossé also known as Combat Jack. Ossé blazed a trail through the hip-hop industry that earned him pioneer status. Remarkably, his podcast, “The Combat Jack Show” carved out a considerable space for emerging urban voices to be heard and appreciated.
Ossé received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and earned his JD from Georgetown Law School. In the 90’s, he became a legal affairs intern at Def Jam Records and represented clients such as Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and DJ Clark Kent. Certainly, Ossé positioned himself among elite company within the culture he loved the most: hip-hop.
Eventually, Ossé grew exhausted from his role as a lawyer for a roster of celebrity clients. On Dec. 31, 2003, he permanently closed his law firm and geared up for a major transition. Alas, for his first transitional feat, he partnered with Gabriel A. Tolliver to produce, “Bling: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book.”
Hip-hop had influenced the attire, attitude, and lexicon of Ossé at an impressionable age. Often, his Walkman served as a tool for survival during trying times. Therefore, since hip-hop ran through Osse’s veins, his transition into the podcast world was smooth.
Flawlessly, Combat Jack transferred his skillset as a lawyer into a method by which he could gather information to garner significant insight from his interviewees. “The Combat Jack Show” featured loose banter that seemed like a closely considered version of barbershop talk. Furthermore, the sharing of common experiences through an unfiltered group of personalities created a resonant channel for avid consumers of hip-hop media.
Ossé’s compelling ability to create a well-rounded experience for his guests and his audience distinguished his efforts as host. Through a commitment to unique engagement, Combat Jack extracted candid sentiments from his guests with ease. Hence, his raw and authentic personality meshed brilliantly with the collective conscience of the hip-hop world.
Combat Jack never forced any questions or strategies that would make the interview feel anything less than genuine. His interviews circulated through the Internet through Loud Speakers Network, which he co-founded with Chris Morrow in 2013. Ossé was raised on hip-hop culture and sought a network to fully immerse himself. This venture filled a void in the marketplace of urban radio and bridged the generational gap between different hip-hop demographics.
One of his most impactful endeavors alongside Gimlet Media featured the miniseries, “Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty.” Ossé towered over his contemporaries and dispelled the assumption that internet radio only creates a niche for those of lesser talent or ability. His presence impacted the lives of many. May he rest in peace.
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