FLINT, Michigan -- To his family, he is known as Jeffrey. To his five-year-old son, he is known as dad. To the community and the music industry, he is known as Jeff Skigh. Inside Wav Village Studio—his second home—he sits with long dreadlocks, comfortable attire, and possesses a relaxed attitude that adds to the infectious energy the studio produces and houses. He works tirelessly, amid being a father, to create new music for his supporters, offer assistance, and learn from artists who pop in and out.
Listening to his music, you’d assume Skigh is a down-to-earth, laid back, chill guy—and you’d be partially correct, but you’d miss his insane comedic humor and creative genius. Across slick groovy beats like 2017’s and 2020’s respective albums, Hotbox Music and Nimbus Music, from his label, Skigh High Entertainment, his deep husky voice is a staple exclusively to him. The combination can—reminiscent of low-fi Hip Hop trap beats—soothe any atmosphere and has earned him the moniker of spreading good vibes. But this calmness, he says, remembering his childhood as a TV show, is from “becoming the man of the house” to seven women, including his mother, after his father’s passing.
Skigh grew up partially in Beecher but mostly on Flint’s northside. His arrival in music started at a young age because his father was a singer. Trying not to cause his mother any concern, as a kid, Skigh was a part of the choir. In fifth grade, he picked up playing instruments and joined the marching band. Before a rap career emerged, he was a poet, something he recalls was in style back in those days because “being a rapper was chatty.” After graduation, he attended college, but that changed after a run-in with the police altered his life. The moment gave rise to take his talent for writing and recording music to the next level.
“I’m proud of my progress. I feel like I’m making the best music I’ve ever made.”“I was in my junior year of college, majoring in psychology, and I ended up getting arrested for weed. They put me in jail,” Skigh says with a laugh. “They were supposed to let me out to take my finals, but they didn’t, and I failed all my classes. I didn’t want to go back to school, and [decided] I might as well do music.”
The decision paid off, but his roots began by recording songs in a makeshift studio created in the backseat of a friend’s car. With a computer and a mic, they freestyled calling it, “lyrical cardio,” to practice, get better, and help in overcoming Skigh’s severe stage fright. That goal has elevated his music and influence to become one of the city’s most respected artists.
One unique vibe of Skigh’s music and videos is that it originates from continued love and respect for American cartoons, Japanese animation, and video games—a fact he boastfully admits. Watching Toonami on Adult Swim with shows like Dragon Ball Z and 1990s cartoons like Rugrats and Doug influence his musical style and fashion go-to’s. The result is strong and is seen on the covers of his 2018 singles Faded and Bruce Lee feat. Vyson and 2019’s Shikamaru.
Skigh remains humble and never forgets his roots.
A key element many don’t know is that his music videos come from his creative mind. With the help of longtime collaborators JerrickHD of NorthPotential, AYEHAB, and others, they bring his concepts to life, which is only a small sample of the ideas that go through Skigh’s head. He has plans to continue to release visual films on YouTube and write a show “based on me and show my dry humor.”
“I always try to show a little bit of what [inspires me] in a song. Usually, I come up with the concept for the video before I come up with a song,” he says. “I say I’m 58, but eventually, I’m going to do a competition and have people guess my real age.”
The intensity and focus he has to “bring the city and the people together” have become Skigh’s mission and, naturally, celebrate his peers’ success. These thoughts of wanting to bring fresh innovation—especially in Flint’s music scene—have brought success, which has seen him travel across the country. From the mountains and forest in Utah to sunny L.A., Skigh’s music and hilarious personality have taken him to new heights.
“I appreciate everybody who has been rocking with me. I feel like I’m making the best music I’ve ever made. I’m proud of my progress. I’m proud of everybody. I always knew this was going to happen. The talent has always been here,” he says with a smile. “Something I tried to do is consciously feature a lot of Flint people that wouldn’t normally be around each other so that we can establish that connection. ”
With a plethora of features with local heavy-hitters like YN Jay, Rio Da Yung Og, and Ace Gabbana, it’s given him an open-mindedness to learn about and become friends with people from all walks of life. It’s one of the many things he celebrates and is, at times, taken aback by the surreal feeling that “music is what’s making me do this and is taking me there.” For Skigh, this sets a strong example as a father and shows his son that dreams can come true.
“It made me get on my s--- to be honest. I had to step up, go hard,” he says, alluding to the transformation being a father has ushered into his life. “I have times where I want to give up, but how can I give up on my dreams and tell him to follow his?”
You can find Jeff Skigh on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can listen to his latest album, Nimbus Music, on all media platforms