Born and raised in South Los Angeles, Def Jam signee AUGUST 08, also known as Ray Jacobs, showcases an experimental R&B/Pop sound that smoothly blends the two genres. The former 88rising affiliate hoists a voice that immediately grabs the listener’s attention, which also goes hand in hand with his songwriting ability. The Multiplatinum songwriter turned artist’s writing/composing catalog includes Justin Bieber, Jhene Aiko, Sabrina Claudio Shawn Mendes, Wale, Giveon, Eric Bellinger, and many more. His portfolio was already captivating, but his first writing credit for a Billboard No 1 came in 2017 for DJ Khaled’s hit record “I’m The One,” featuring Lil Wayne, Quavo, Justin Bieber, and Chance the Rapper. Receiving an honor as such was all the confidence August needed to jumpstart his solo musical career. In 5 years, he went from supplying hits to some of our favorite artists in the industry to becoming one of our favorite up-and-coming artists.
After taking multiple meetings with major labels in 2017, he decided that the best fit for him at the time was to sign with CEO Sean Miyashiro over at 88rising Music. A studio session that included Pharrell and Rich Brian is where August realized he would ink the deal. Shortly after signing, he was gifted with an RIAA-certified Gold plaque for his contribution to Kehlani’s debut studio album SweetSexySavage. There were lots of people who questioned his fit with the Japanese media collective. Still, he answered the criticism by earning himself another RIAA-certified Gold plaque with the group on their 2018 single “Midsummer Madness.” His first single as a solo artist, “Funeral,” was released in 2018 under Red Bull Records and 88Rising Music. The passionate yet personal track was written, produced, and composed by August; in the song, he mentions receiving his love and flowers while he’s still alive and not at his funeral. August’s music has transitioned into a space where his sound has broken countless genre boundaries, making it hard to pinpoint him to one type of music.
On May 11th, August released 2018, his label debut EP Father under Red Bull Records and 88rising Music. Although his relationship with his father had been strained throughout his childhood, his musical name stems from his father’s birth month, August. His father left his family when he was only 11 years old, instantly affecting the young man. The feeling of abandonment and not being enough started to show, and soon after, he turned to the streets to give him the attention he was missing at home. This led to being kicked out of home and sent to his uncle’s house to live at the tender age of 14. August and his father went years without communicating with each other, but it was when August was already 21 years old when their relationship somewhat came full circle, and his father offered him a place to lay his head. The reunion between the father and son was short-lived because his father was unaccepting of his son’s budding music career. Transparency has played a significant role in his music. He has always showcased his thoughts and feelings, using music as therapy for his personal life. When you ask August which project/ep of his means the most, he mentions, “Father is a really special project; I produced the tracks and composed all of the music for each song.”
A follow-up EP titled Happy Endings With An Asterisk was announced months after Father was officially released. The first single for the project Simple Pleasures features the talented yet controversial artist GoldLink. On August 8th, 2019, the project officially became available to the public; the EP also has features from Smino, Duckwrth, and Wynne. Throughout his career, August has been known for his creativity, not only for music but for the visuals behind the music. This brings music to a higher level by putting a face to the name. Each song was unique and mind-blowing, but track 7 Good Girls featuring Duckwrth received the blessing of having a video recorded for it. The Mancy Gant directed visual was released on YouTube in 2019; the video has been viewed 239,008 times.
Since then, he has released two more projects, one in 2020 and one this year in 2022. His critically acclaimed EP Emotional Cuh release date was January 17th, 2020, and only holds two features, one from YNG WeBB on the song 21 and another from Barney Bones on the song Bussdown Your Soul. In the track titled 21, he retouches on his relationship with his father, as mentioned earlier, saying, “we just made up, was it, fake love?”. Overall the EP was very well received, and shortly after, August took time off from his solo career to pen/produce songs for other artists from 88Rising, EARTHGANG, Keshii, Kash Doll, and Wolf Tyla. During that time, he had many things transpire that played a significant role in his future musical endeavors. August took his talents from Red Bull Records and 88rising Music to Def Jam Records, a subdivision of Universal Music Group.
With the change in place, his first order of business was announcing that he would soon be releasing his label debut album for Def Jam titled Towards the Sun. It was his label Def Jam’s idea to release the album in installments instead of dropping it as one body of work. Two singles for the label debut were Keep Me Around and 500 Days. Towards The Sun was not released until May this year, and the only feature had none other than TDE’s Schoolboy Q. Just ten days ago, the highly anticipated second part of August 08’s project titled Towards The Moon was released to follow up Towards The Sun. This installment has six songs featuring Def Jam/Interscope’s own Jhene Aiko and 88rising’s own sensation Joji. Working together again for the second time, the musical chemistry between August and Jhene is magical, and their music speaks for itself. They collaborated again on the Pompano Puff, and Reako Hendrix produced track titled Water Sign. The duo released a music video for the song this past Friday, and the visual is already at 100,000 views in only three days. I got a chance to interview August 08 the other day; I will post the questions and answers below!
You have a unique style when it comes to your music, how you dress, and how you present yourself. What are or were some of your influences growing up?
“My influences were movies, man. I watched a lot of movies growing up. Me and my cousin Rico who just walked in right now, used to go to this 10-cent movie store every day down the street from the crib, so when other kids were listening to music and playing video games, we were renting out old ass movies. That’s where all my inspiration comes from. I got to see my first Wes Anderson film and others that eventually inspired the hell out of me”.
A Few weeks ago you broadened your musical discography with your debut studio album titled “Towards The Sun”. Can you describe the recording process, and why this project will be different from any of your other releases?
“To dig deeper into that process, it was me, Rico, and Barney Bones who was a part of the earlier stages. So I produced a lot of my own beats in the early phases of the project and pretty much just let my friends be a part of it. So the first part of it Is me literally me in my head sucking at producing for a long time and coming up with ideas until I found one that was worth recording”.
You have a few projects under your belt now, what would you say is your favorite project or EP of yours and why?
“This one might sound fake, bro, but honestly, this one is my favorite one, I would say Father EP, and then this one is my favorite. Specifically, because on Father, I wasn’t held down by trying to be something that I wasn’t. And as far as this project, I feel the same way, and I don’t have to be something I’m not. I can be creatively free, and that’s the best part to me. Father is special to me because of the process of recording it, there’s this NBA player named Javale Mcgee, and he happens to be a big homie of mine, so he let me use his recording studio for free to make Father. I was free to do what I wanted to do, and now I’m back in that same space of just being to create and nothing else. So niggas is creating, excuse my language“.
What’s next for August 08? What are some other ventures outside of music that we could expect from you in the near future?
“In the near future I want to do a campaign. I want to be on the cover of a Bass Pro Shop Magazine; that’s my life goal right now. Like that’s what I want to do really, really bad, no lie”.
What songs off the second part of your album do you think will be a fan favorites?
“On Occasion, Water Sign with Jhene Aiko, and What We Used To Be with Joji. Those would probably be my choice”.
Make sure you stay listen to his project Below will be a Spotify playlist of August 08’s top tracks. Stay up everybody!