CL talked to Jax's wife, Lisa Thurston, by phone on Nov. 22. It was the day they'd planned to hold their wedding ceremony in Atlanta, though the couple had actually gotten married on paper about a month before, on Oct. 17. From the New York home of Jax's parents, Lisa talked about the first time she met Jax in 2004 and what their first date was like.
We met at a show in '04. Binkis, Mars Ill and, I think, Dropbombz were performing that day. It was at Echo Lounge. I walked in and he made this comment later that he noticed me because ... I was a girl and no girls go to Mars Ill shows.
Then I went to his merchandise table and I bought a lot of stuff. I bought like close to $90 worth of stuff. He thought I had some money, so he said he was gonna holler. But you know, I kinda fooled him 'cause I'd just gotten paid that Friday.
Our first date, I went to the studio with him and that's when he recorded "Everyday." Then we went to RuSan's for some sushi. But what attracted me to Chris, at first it was really weird 'cause he was a gentleman. And you don't see that that often in young men. He was a gentleman. He was raised so well by his mother.
I remember when we first met, I was calling him "Jax, Jax, Jax."
And he was like, "Naw, my name is Chris."
And that's how I've always addressed him, as Chris. He did not want me to call him Jax because that's who he was onstage but I was with Chris.
Despite his underground status, Jax had such industry connections as DJ Drama – Binkis Recs' first DJ. When Drama got arrested in Atlanta over his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series in early 2007, Jax's response was heartfelt even though years had passed since Drama's Binkis Recs days. Lisa recalls conversations they had about DJ Drama.
Chris had connections. I mean, he went to Japan with Phife. Bobbito signed off on him. Everybody knows DJ Drama, and that was their original DJ. And that's something that Chris didn't want to do: He did not want to do the name-drop. He never wanted to do that.
'Cause I used to ask him, "You know Phife, what's up?"
He'd be like, "Naw, I'm good."
Chris wanted to do it on his own. And I appreciate that about him. But he appreciates everything that Phife and Bob and Dram have done for him.
That's one thing that Chris would say, too, "I'm proud of you. I heard what you did or I saw what you did and I'm proud of you. Keep up the good work."
That's something that always came out of his mouth. That he was proud of you.
I think when Drama got into his legal trouble, I remember calling him. I was like, "Yo, Chris, Dram got arrested."
He was like, "Yo, why are you lying?"
He got mad at me. He thought I was lying. I said, "Chris, I'm not lying to you."
Then he finally heard it from a couple of people and instead of him saying, "Yo, dude deserved that," he was upset. Like, he started the "Free Drama" campaign. He was upset. Nothing bad ever came out of Chris' mouth about him. And I think that's something that I have learned to appreciate.
Chris would say, "Dram's a hustler. Dram's gonna make sure that he's able to feed his kids" – stuff of that nature. And that's how Chris put it. It wasn't like, "Drama was my DJ, he's doing this, he's doing that, why is he not looking out for us?" It was like, "Yo, Dram is a hustler. I'm proud of him. He had to feed his kids and that's what he had to do." So he never bad-mouthed Dram. Never.
She recalls how Jax demonstrated his selflessness through his relationship with protégé Señor Kaos.
One person who I think benefited from knowing Chris is Señor Kaos. To me, Kaos is phenomenal. I think just being around Chris that he definitely took some of his traits. Kaos is a hustler, he's hungry, he puts out a mixtape like every two days, and he has also some humility. And that's somebody I can tell you Chris looked up to. Chris was like, "Dude is 25, he got his own crib, he's doing this, he's doing that." And Chris said, "Dang, dude is doing it."
And I remember from some of our last conversations, when we saw the [November 2008] XXL magazine with the 10 new faces of hip-hop, I looked at it and I was like, "Yo, somebody's missing."
And Chris said, "Yo, Kaos." And he was like, "Lisa, I'm going to devote my time to make sure that next year Kaos is on this XXL." He even said to me that he was considering stopping rapping to push Kaos.