The Sounds of the City with Soul

More than Words.

Rising to fame in the aughts, Jackson-bred David Banner made his hard-fought mark on the world of hip-hop and beyond. While many artists are choosing to take a more socially-conscious stance today, Banner has been doing so for over a decade. From testifying before Congress about the racism and misogyny in the hip-hop industry and playing an active role in Hurricane Katrina recovery, to his latest project, THE GOD BOX, in which he tackles hard subjects head-on. Banner has parlayed his notoriety into an avenue for having important conversations, serving as a beacon for change in both his industry and society.

For Our Soul

As the cradle of the sounds and legends that have defined the blues and soul genre, Mississippi’s musical history is storied and prolific – and in the City with Soul, the story continues. Since 1968, Jackson-based Malaco Records has been a hotbed for soulful talent, turning local talent into music legends like Bobby Rush, Movie “Mama” Burks, and the Mississippi Mass Choir.

Marching On

In the South, it’s not a secret that football is a way of life. But, at Jackson State University games, it’s not just the game that draws attention. Come halftime, you won’t find the crowd leaving of concessions  or twiddling their thumbs. You’ll see them rising to their feed as the 250+ members of the Sonic Boom of the South storm the field. Dubbed “Hollywood’s Band of Choice,” the Sonic Boom blows the lid off of what it traditionally means to be a marching band. The drum majors are not just drum majors – they’re the Jackson Five. The band members are not just drummers, flutists, and trumpeteers, but are also dancers, performers, and history makers. Their innovative, joyful, and even raucous performances showcase that in Jackson, our city’s soul  makes itself known, and all you have to do is listen. But we also understand if you can’t keep from dancing a little, too.

Then and Now

DJ Young Venom spinning at Off Beat records in Mid Town neighborhood. Photo Credit: Tate Nations/MWB

In the era of segregation, the Summers Hotel was one of the few places black musicians could stay in Jackson. At times, the hotel lodged greats like James Brown and Nat “King” Cole. In the late 1960s, the owner, inspired by his guests, opened a jazz club in the hotel’s basement.

Over the next several decades, the Subway Lounge became an embodiment of the Jackson music scene: soulful sounds drawing crowds late every night – crowds filled of every race, every age, every interest.

While the Subway Lounge’s story ended when the building was demolished in 2004, the tradition continues.

With its stained-glass windows and a hint of Art Deco embedded in its architectural features, Duling Hall was once a school but now serves as a venue that brings local and national talent to the stage in an intimate setting, allowing Jacksonians and visitors to experience new sounds in an up-close environment.

Around town, Jacksonian Phillip Rollins – better known as DJ Young Venom – finds that deejaying provides him with an outlet to share happiness with others by simply spinning the right song at the right moment. Then and now, the Jackson music scene is bringing people of all interests together.