Jax inherited his creative spirit from his mother and his work ethic from his father, according to his mom, Alecia Thurston. From the interview excerpt below, it's obvious that he got her sense of humor, too.
Chris [Jax] was very insightful, wise beyond his years. When he was 10, he said, "You know, Mom, I feel like I'm a 20-year-old locked inside a 10-year-old's body."
I said, "Why don't you take that 20-year-old self and that 10-year-old self and take them into that nasty room and see if y'all can get it clean!"
I held him captive in his room [laughs].
What I mean by that is we kind of protected our son. Chris expressed to me one time that the reason he had nothing else to do but listen to music was because they could not go out in the street. We went as a family. They could not hang out. You know what I'm saying – two black boys, a black momma. I was not going to lose them to the streets, so we did a lot as a family.
He listened to a lot of music during that time. Chris was creative. He and I are sort of kindred spirits because he took a lot of the creative side from me and the work ethic from his dad.
Chris was the type of person who wanted to do it himself – a perfectionist – and until he had what he wanted to his liking, he wasn't going to tell anyone. Charles [his father] and I were guiding him. We were supporting him, but he was not revealing a whole lot. I would just have to ask, "Are you there yet? Did you blow-up yet, before I blow myself up? Are you there yet? [laughs]"
He would say, "Yeah, Mom, I'm doing fine."
I would say, "Well, your friends, your aunts want to know what you're doing."
And he would say, "Well, Ma, tell them I'm not in jail. I ain't got no kids. And I'm not on drugs."
And I'd say, "OK, I'll tell them that."
He worked like a Hebrew slave and I said to him, "It's time to get up off your knees. You don't have to suffer to be hip-hop, Chris."
He said, "Yeah, Ma, but when I'm suffering it makes me rhyme better."
And I said, "Look here, you need to get up off your knees, and find some other kind of rhymes that are not going to be skinning your knee."
I had great respect for what he did.
The only thing that I said to him was, because they were raised to respect the Creator and the Lord, I said to him – and I'm not a believer in organized religion because some of that stuff in organized religion is screwy – but I said, "Chris, you ain't gonna disrespect the Creator because you will be the only rapper on MTV on the stage with your mother with a microphone beating the 'hello' out of your head. OK?"
And he didn't. I heard one [song] with a profane word and I said, "No he didn't." And I said I've got to discuss this with him the next time we meet up. But he was not profane. He told stories.
In fact, a friend of ours was downloading his music and he said, "Did you hear that thing by Chris [called] "Jenifa Jones"? She's a fictitious person, but it is funny!...
I told Chris, "Hip-hop is a very powerful platform ... depending on how you use it. And you know what? There are a lot of guys and ladies out there in that genre that need direction. And bitches and hoes ain't direction. That's sellout, and that's not what you are about. So you use that platform well to teach."
So when he did "Jenifa Jones" and I heard and understood what it was about, that was Chris' way. He made it funny, but he knew that he was pointing out something that was not correct, it was something that he did not go along with.
When he did his rhymes, he did it to point out certain things. He did family, he did friends, he did what he knew was around him, but he did it always to teach something. When people heard it, they had to get a message.
I would always ask Chris how he was growing spiritually, because that is what we are here to do. And he talked about death. Death is a sleep you can't wake up from by yourself. But while you are here, we are supposed to use the talent that God gave us for a good. So Chris took a lot of the teachings that we taught him here and he put it to good use. He was being prepared to leave, whether he knew it or not.
I was telling my son that I did not like the way he looked in the face. I didn't like that, and it was like two years ago. Chris looked like he was maturing too rapidly in the face. Chris had a round face. Now you can lose weight but you don't have to look sick. Chris didn't look well and I was on his case to go get himself checked out.
Chris was on a mission and he was writing – according to what I heard, he was writing furiously.
When I was talking to Chris, you know you can feel. I said, "What's wrong with you, boy? I know you are getting married and stuff, and I love Lisa. That's not the point. I'm talking from the mother thing."
And he said, "What are you talking about Ma?"
And I said, "I don't know, do you think I'm bugging you?"
We used to have more in-depth conversations, but it was like a separation already. But I didn't pick that up as such. But he was already letting me know, but I didn't know. You know what I'm saying? And when we got the report that the medical examiner said basically it was natural causes, I said natural causes my foot. How do you drop a 32-year-old and you can't revive him? It's interesting how that happened.
But the blessing is that Chris left this earth doing what he loved. He literally died for the music.
He retired from the postal service after 30 years, ran his own landscaping company for about eight and worked at Home Depot for the last 14. Surely Jax inherited his appreciation for hard work from his father, Charles Thurston.
My oldest son, Cruen, he is five years older than Chris. And Cruen, I think, had a lot of influence on Chris, because Cruen kept up with the modern hip-hop music. My wife and I, we really listen to Gladys Knight, Temptations, Spinners, Delfonics and whatnot. And we played all different kinds of music in our house. So Chris really grew up with all different kinds of music. Jazz. I think his mother even took him to an opera one time, although he didn't particularly like that because it definitely was not the type of music he was used to hearing.
I think that when Jax went to Japan that opened his eyes to a different world because when he went to Japan and saw all of those people walking around with their pants down, with dreadlocks, it showed him the influence that hip-hop, as a music, had. It transcended race. And it was not somebody telling you – seeing it in person really inspired him.
I never sat down with him and listened to his music. When Chris used to come home, he would bring his iPod but he never said, "Dad, I want you to listen to this." But he would leave his iPod and when he and Lisa went out, I would put the iPod on and listen to whatever he was listening to – and he was listening to a whole lot of music.
I just loved to hear his voice. We've got his voice because of all the music that he made and anytime we want to, we can sit down and listen to what he had to say. So that is a blessing in itself.
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