The news from the groupchat hit me like a sharp pain in my chest. “Reggie ‘Combat Jack’ Osse dies from cancer at age 48.” I was outside and immediately found a bench to sit on and gathered my thoughts. I instantly remembered a time some years ago when I was living in Fort Wayne, IN as a radio jock up late in my apartment using some cat who was slippin WiFi and accidentally discovered The Combat Show through a music blog. Combat Jack was interviewing Radio personality Charlamagne Tha God whom at the time folks knew little about his personal background. Charlamagne told Combat Jack about his journey from a small town in South Carolina to become a co-host on the popular syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club. As much of radio employee/fan I was I didn’t grow up listening to a Howard Stern type style where there was no music in between talking but an hour had passed and not only did I enjoy the episode I craved for more. At the time Combat Jack and his co-host were new and raw type personalities as they would often cut a guest off in mid-sentence and laugh at their own jokes without explaining what was so funny while annoyingly reminding you they were from New York every 5mins like the dudes I went to college with. However, as the show went on Combat jack became a seasoned natural by making me feel as if I was in the room with him and the guest making me a dedicated fan. As episodes passed Combat jack would often reveal that his born name was Reggie Osse a former entertainment lawyer who worked with various artist in Hip Hop while once holding a position as a managing editor for The Source hence why the show had so many celebrity guests. Combat Jack’s storytelling of his days in the music industry was vivid and genuine with the ability to get legendary figures in Hip Hop and beyond to narrate their entire story with good conversation.
Each episode of The Combat Jack Show I begin to become inspired by his growth into iconic status. He gave me inspiration that revealed a hidden truth within myself during a time period when I was not satisfied with my current career status. I worked in traditional radio and it became harder with each breath to ask caller number 9 to call up for Kevin Hart tickets when I really wanted to talk about Trayvon Martin for more than 30secs. My passion for music hadn’t decreased, however; listening to the Combat Jack Show open my eyes up to a whole underground movement that was growing on the internet with people creating their own platforms of expression. Combat Jack would often tell stories of how he became emotionally drained as an entertainment attorney and decided to search for new purpose. Reggie Osse created the name “Combat Jack” when he first started telling industry stories as a blogger and later doing small audio bits on the internet which blossom into an opportunity to host his own show. His range of guests grew and became diverse from political figures like Angela Rye to new school leaders like J.Cole. Combat Jack passion and love for Hip Hop was always represented to the highest by showing that contributing to the culture is bigger than just rhymes on a mic. I hadn’t been this inspired by someone since I first learned about Diddy as a kid. Combat Jack had a gift where he could get celebrities (Minus Rick Ross) on his show to open up about their personal life to express their highs, lows, and highs again(literally). I was in awe of his vulnerability when expressing his personal experience with therapy and speaking out about the importance of mental health in the black community. I became a super geek to his infinite knowledge of Hip Hop history and rise up from humble beginnings. Combat Jack’s dedication to the culture did not end with his own show as he later co-founded the Loud Speaker Network that provides a platform for popular podcasts such as The Brilliant Idiots, The Read, Lip Service and a range of others. Jack also broke even bigger barriers when he produced and hosted a show about another legendary figure in the culture called Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty. Combat Jack’s work created a space for Hip Hop culture to store its archive and appreciate its priceless value.
Combat jack’s blueprint gave me the courage needed when I decided to make a personal choice to elevate my own offering to the culture that saved my life. He spoke on the importance of Hip Hop influence that became powerful hashtags with #ForTheCulture and #RaiseTheBar. Studying Combat Jack’s work helped checked all my fears at the door because there was somebody who showed that my love for Hip Hop didn’t have to stop at age 30 because true passion never dies. I never got a chance to meet him in person only privileged to be in the same area a couple of times and a few twitter exchanges (which I lowkey was super geeked about). Combat Jack showed me that I did not have to wait nor ask for an opportunity from big radio companies who hopefully will one day listen to my demo like a 90s rapper. I could create my own platform and do not need any validation to be a voice for my culture. Although I am deeply saddened by the death of “Combat Jack” Reggie Osse; husband, father, and Hip Hop pioneer, I will forever cherish the influential spark his work gave me that was needed for my own path and continue to raise the bar that he forever set.
“Dream them dreams then man-up and live them dreams, because a life without dreams is black and white, and the universe flows in technicolor and surround-sound.”
-Reggie “Combat Jack” Osse