Jesse Garba Abaga (born August 10, 1984), better known by his stage name Jesse Jagz, is a Nigerian rapper, music producer, and songwriter. He signed a record deal with Chocolate City in 2010, and his debut studio album, Jag of All Tradez, was released the following year. He voluntarily terminated his contract with Chocolate City in 2013 and announced the launch of his own independent label, Jagz Nation.
Early Life and Education
Jesse Garba Abaga was born on August 10, 1984, in Jos, Plateau State, to Chris and Lydia Abaga. He is originally from Taraba State, Nigeria, and belongs to the Jukun ethnic group. His mother is a gospel singer and a therapist, and his father is a pastor. He joined his church choir at the age of seven, and he eventually learned to play the drums on his parents’ drum set. His elder brother, Jude Abaga, also known as MI, is a musician.
Gospel Insanity, the band with which Jesse released his debut album, failed to gain popularity and disbanded. Eleven Thirty, a new band he formed, became an instant hit in Jos. In 2004, he collaborated with his brother M.I. to launch the Inner Hub Studios. By 2006, he had established a successful music career, with his hit song “Africa” spending months at the top of the Cool FM chart. Jesse’s three songs simultaneously dominating the top ten charts on RayPower FM, Cool FM, and Rhythm FM between 2006 and 2007 spawned street anthems in and around Northern Nigeria.
His other top hits included “Nobody Test Me,” “The Greatest,” “Sugar Cane Baby,” and “Bend Down Low,” and his record was selected for inclusion in the 2008 International Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) compilation. Jesse Jagz was chosen to represent Nigeria in the 2009 Sauti Za Busara Music Festival in February 2009, and his debut music video, “Pump It Up,” was also released that year in November. The smash hit “Nobody Test Me,” featuring his brother M.I and fellow musician Ice Prince Zamani, was a huge success.
Jesse Jagz has collaborated with Banky W, Ice Prince, M.I., Djah Djah (def jam poetry), Kel, Majek Fashek, Modenine, Faze, Tosin Martins, Djinee, Silver Saddih, Pherowshuz, Shank, Ruby, and Sasha, to name a few. He took a break from the music industry in 2011 and 2012 after releasing his first studio album, “Jag of All Tradez,” in 2010, before making a comeback in 2013 with a reggae-influenced sound.
Jesse Jagz’s music is predominantly hip-hop and reggae, but it also contains elements of other genres. In his music, he employs a variety of instruments, auto-tunes, and echoes. On May 29, 2020, Jesse Jagz released Garba, a 5-track extended play with the same name as his family’s traditional surname. He produced it with the help of Misty and Geekbeatz. The EP is a mix of Afropop, trap, hip-hop, and folk music, and features collaborations with Anchorman and Mr Murph. Motolani Alake of Pulse Nigeria gave Garba a 6.8 out of 10 rating, praising the film’s quality and saying it “beautifully sells Jagz’s narratives with natural honesty and storytelling.”
Jesse Jagz, on the other hand, came under fire from Alakefor letting the EP focus more on “lyrical brilliance and storytelling” than “an out-of-body aural experience.”
Jesse Jagz is the younger brother of M.I. Abaga, a Nigerian music artist and producer. He has a daughter with singer Ruby Gyang. In July 2020, he married his girlfriend, Tolu. A private ceremony was planned for the wedding in Jos, Plateau state.
Despite the fact that he left Chocolate City because he was dissatisfied with how the label was handling his career, Jagz has remained friendly with his former label mates. Jesse Jagz announced his departure from Chocolate City. In 2012, he founded his own music label, Jagz Nation. He later denied having an issue with the label, claiming that it was “just a business move.”
Jesse was charged with marijuana addiction and being in serious debt to the record label Chocolate City, according to an online source. According to reports, Jesse believes there is nothing wrong with using marijuana. “I don’t see anything wrong with weed, just like I don’t see anything wrong with money or women,” he said. I simply believe that anything done in excess is harmful. However, because I have never married, I cannot comment on whether marriage is right or wrong. It is about the life of someone else.”
He returned to the record label in 2015 to release his Garba EP, but left after a year.
Studio Albums and EPs
- Jag of All Tradez (2010)
- Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come (2013)
- Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company (2014)
- Odysseus (2017)
- Garba (EP) (2020)
- The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation (with Chocolate City) (2015)
- God on the Mic
- Bad Girl
- Nobody Test Me
- Pump It Up
- Wetin Dey
- Burning Bush
- Bend Down Low
- Sugar Cane Baby
- Pump It Up
- Nobody Test Me
- The Son of Abaga
- Murder Dem
- 3rd World War
- Body Hot
Awards and Nominations
- Most Top Ten Hits on Cool FM 2007.
- Best Dance Single – “Bend Down Low
- 2008 Producer of the Year (Hip Hop World Awards 2009)
- Producer of the Year (The Future Awards, 2009 and 2010)
- Lyricist on the Roll for “God on the Mic” 2014
- Best New Act of the Year 2010
He has an estimated net worth of $2 million.