In 2017, the six-episode podcast Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty, a Spotify and Gimlet original podcast,debuted to widespread critical acclaim. Narrated by Reggie Ossé, better known as Combat Jack, the series told the story of hip-hop through the life of one man, who managed hip-hop heavyweights like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, and more. Ossé admitted in the first episode that he was all about getting fashionably fly, and so was Lighty, which is why he was drawn to his story.
“In some ways, me and Chris lived parallel lives,” he said. “We both grew up in New York City around the same era. Chris in the Bronx, and me in Brooklyn. Like so many city kids, we fell in love with the hip-hop culture that was starting to take shape around us. We dedicated our lives to this.”
Ossé’s dedication to hip-hop was what made him so relatable. As a former entertainment lawyer, he worked diligently behind-the-scenes and earned the trust of his clients. As a blogger and host of his podcast The Combat Jack Show, he was an intelligent hip-hop curator that spoke in our language. For any of his guests, he treated them like family, asking them the right questions that created more robust conversations.
Since Ossé’s tragic passing in late 2017, his presence has never left the hip-hop community. Earlier this month, friends and fans alike celebrated his birthday, sharing memories and his iconic words to the world.
Now, Ossé is being honored again. On July 31, Mogul will return with a tribute episode focusing on the life of Ossé and how he took his passion for hip-hop and turned it into a profession. In the special episode which is narrated by Complex alum Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins—who will be the host for the new season—listeners will hear from Reggie’s colleagues, friends, family, and even himself. Everything from his early days working with the late Ed Woods and creating their law firm Ossé & Woods to hanging out at Diddy’s house in the Hamptons is all here. For the general audience, the origin story of his name Combat Jack, his emergence as “Combat, the Podfather,” and his influence on current hip-hop podcasts is explained with thorough detail to better understand his importance to the culture.
In an exclusive clip Complex is sharing today, hear Reggie reflect on losing his biggest client, JAY-Z. As he explains, JAY-Z and Dame Dash signed a distribution deal with Freeze Records and Priority Records to release his debut album Reasonable Doubt. Dame wanted him and Hov to get a gross share of the royalties.
“We didn’t get those terms,” he says. “You know, it’s a small label with somebody taking a chance on them, you can’t really negotiate that. And then when JAY-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt became a success, I got left holding a bag. I got blamed for the deal.”
The full episode is now available on Spotify.