Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
Hidden towards the end of Drake’s second album ‘Take Care’ is the song Look What You’ve Done, the saddest moment on an album full of sad moments. While Drake rhymes about a lover’s tiff hinging on the stress of aiming for the stars, in the background – muffled, as if being played in the next room – is an achingly poignant, heartbreaking piano loop with a male voice skitting soulfully over the top. That voice belonged to Static Major, the Grammy Award winning rapper, singer, songwriter and producer who was responsible for penning multiple hits for Aaliyah, including Try Again and Are You That Somebody, Ginuwine
“I gotcha,” echoes Drake, picking up on Static’s words
“A little old school playa never hurt…RIP Static,” said
Haywire: Second Edition (Tuesday May 6th, 2008)
Lollipop: A Hard-To-Swallow Reality
By Jonathan Hay
This is a blog about the bittersweet reality behind the major hit single, “Lollipop” by Lil’ Wayne, featuring Static Major. This infectious single is currently the top song in the country, but sadly, where there is triumph there is often tragedy.
This tragedy really hits home for me. Static Major, known back home as Stephen Garrett, is from my hometown of Louisville, KY. We went to both Westport middle school and Waggener high school together. Although we attended the same schools, had some of the same classes, and hung around some of the same people, I wouldn’t say that Static and I were really close. Nevertheless, I remember him as being very outspoken, funny, and entertaining. We had the same business class together my freshman year of high school and I remember Static was always entertaining the class – either by rapping or singing along with our classmate Troy Dudley, while rhythmically tapping the desk to emulate a drum pattern, or joking around with his friend, Glen Woodrum.
Static went on to do major things. The tipping point began in 1996, when Static wrote a song for Ginuwine, called “Pony” (produced by Timbaland), that exploded, hitting #1 on the Billboard charts. He then followed with another smash record “Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah, spinning his career into a snowball of success. He went on to write song after song for numerous major artists, inspiring our hometown and infectiously motivating the entire city. I remember seeing him in the Mall at St. Matthews walking around the food court, just after his group Playa released their critically acclaimed debut album Cheers to You on Def Jam Records. As I watched from across the food court, star-struck fans ambitiously swarmed around him, vying for his attention, like kids in a candy shop fighting for the last lollipop. He is truly a hometown hero.
I was planning to reunite with Static when I made it to the top — and I always knew I would see him at the top. So, it was around February when I had just heard his promotional duet with Lil’ Wayne called “I Got My” and I knew that he was also featured on the first single “Lollipop” from Lil’ Wayne’s upcoming album, Tha Carter III. I was actually in the process of contacting him for an interview with one of the hip-hop publications I am writing for when I received the devastating call from back home, “Stephen Garrett is dead.” I was shocked. “He can’t be dead!” I thought, he was way too young and his impressive career was about to really take off – 2008 was sure to be the year of Static Major.
I guess I didn’t realize at the time that “at the top” would be so literal – as in, heaven — when we all stand before the Lord on judgement day. But anyone who knows Static knows that he loved God and he was a believer. I know that Stephen Garrett is with the Lord now, because like it says, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” (Isaiah 57:1-2).
Many years ago, Static touched so many people back home when he sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” at his own sister’s funeral — now we are having a hard time saying goodbye to him. It has been officially reported that Stephen Garrett died February 25, 2008 at Baptist Hospital East (St. Matthews – Louisville, KY) of complications from a medical procedure – A failed medical procedure?! What?! Many people were enraged at the hospital when he passed away, “His death and illness are not related. His death was attributed only to the malice of the hospital,” says Smoke E. Digglera, friend and band mate of Static, on his MySpace blog.
Baptist Hospital East is right around the block from our former high school and only a block away from where I am sitting at this moment writing this story, as I am at my old Kentucky home for the Kentucky Derby with my family. I have decided I’m going to take it upon myself to take a closer look into this tragic and unfortunate situation and uncover the truth of what really happened on February 25th at Baptist Hospital East. Whatever I find will be reported right here exclusively at the Haywire blog. If someone is indeed carelessly responsible for the death of Stephen Garrett, then they should be held accountable and it should be brought to light.
If anyone has any information, please contact me directly at (310) 402-6949 or on MySpace.
I realize that the world loves Lil’ Wayne and Static Major’s “Lollipop” song, but personally, it’s hard for me to listen to. It is such a great accomplishment to have the #1 song in America but, man, the tragic events following this song are a hard reality for me to swallow, leaving a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
Stephen “Static Major” Garrett, cheers to you.
Shout out to the original St Matthew’s stomping crew: Mark Holzheimer, Jason Eisenmenger, Cody Johnle, Adam and Kyle Degener, Dennis Martin and Daniel Baldwin.