December 4, 2023

To: Jackson – From: CJ

Christopher Joel ‘CJ” Gibson was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi — Presidential Hills, to be exact. A true Jacksonian, graduating from Callaway High School and onto Jackson State University, where he majored in Accounting. Aside from academics, CJ was a part of The Sonic Boom (WT), where he met Cortez ‘Tez’ Bryant, who was managing, the biggest artist in the world, Lil Wayne. On CJ’s JSU graduation day in 2007, he flew to Miami (same day) and began assisting in the management of Lil Wayne, by way of Tez. Shortly thereafter, Drake was next in line and CJ took on tour managing duties, making himself and Tez, two Southerners (Mississippi and Louisiana) an integral part of two of the largest artists in the world.


(CJ Gibson – GettyImages)

“CJ has always credited his success to his upbringing in Mississippi. His calm, Southern
demeanor and Jackson grit has served him well in the music industry. This goes to show that if
you stick to your roots, you will get blessed,” says Keith French, attorney and business partner to
CJ Gibson. “It’s amazing to see what CJ and Tez has accomplished. Youth in Jackson need to see
and know that someone from Jackson helped the career of their favorite artists. Tez and CJ’s
accomplishments are a testament that you can achieve anything, no matter where you come

Drake’s appearance on December 20th, at 4th Avenue, was quickly and strategically planned. In classic Drizzy style, The OVO Jet landed around 10 PM and was out by 2:30 AM. After filming in Atlanta during an after party in the early part of last week, Drake mentioned visiting Jackson to CJ and within a few days, CJ made it happen. “I don’t know anybody who loves Jackson more than that man,”  French speaks, in reference to CJ. “He did this on his off day and he doesn’t have too many of those. He never wants or asks for anything. He is extremely selfless. Drake always knew CJ wanted him to revisit Jackson. The team has begged for years because we know the city would love it and the city deserves to see big name artists. It was great to see it happen again. It’s somewhat as big as when Tupac performed at Tougaloo.”

(Martini Room – Jackson, MS – 2013 – ExclusiveAccess.Net)

Tupac in the 90s

It’s easy to see why Drake’s appearance can be compared to Tupac’s in the 90s. Tupac Shakur and Grand Puba performed at Brown Lee on the Tougaloo College campus in the 1990s. Tougaloo Alum, Felix Lawson pens, ” In the spring of 1993, on the campus of Tougaloo College, a historically black institution, students in an African-American Women in Psychology class jokingly asked their professor (Dr. Safiya Omari) to use her connections to have legendary rap artist Tupac Shakur perform on campus. As a result of this outlandish request, the entire class erupted in laughter. The Professor responded by saying: “All I can do is ask!” A couple weeks later, the Professor announced in class that Tupac Shakur would be coming to campus to perform. So on a lazy Friday evening, about 200 students patiently waited for Tupac and his entourage to arrive on campus and finally two hours later an old beat up Volkswagen van entered the Historical gates, escorted by campus security.”

Just like Drake, Tupac had already visited the city, in 1988 with Digital Underground. When the news broke, speculations took place instantly, that’s why only 200 students made it to see Tupac, subsequently, the floor caved in at this event. When the news broke on last week, social media could not believe it until Drake confirmed on his Instagram story. No floor caved in during Drake’s visit but a young lady did pass out and had to be escorted via stretcher. The “fandemonium” was real. The only difference with the visit of two of the Greatest Artists of all Time, is today’s social media and camera presence. There is only record by word of mouth and disposable cameras with Tupac. Thanks to the digital age, there are countless videos and photos with Drake. And don’t forget the connections of Chokwe Lumumba (who served as Tupac’s attorney) and Tupac in comparison to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and Drake. Both Lumumba’s have been in the presence of Legends.




CJ Gibson, Keith French and Matthew Mayberry operate a Non-Profit called “Progress
Mississippi” which aims to host activities for inner city communities and create leadership
development programs for inner city youths. Particularly they are interested in developing
programs for creative youth, specifically those interested in music. Music mogul, Cortez Bryant,
who has adopted Jackson as his second home, is ready to fully support them. They speak on it
constantly. Keith and CJ are business partners and wants to bring more entertainment and
commercial development to the city. They believe the city has to continue to develop to expose
Jackson’s unique music and art scene to the world. Although CJ spends most of his time traveling
the world working for Drake, he is looking for partners to team up and make that vision come
into fruition.


(CJ Gibson, Matthew Mayberry, Keith French – FullOFlava Photography)


Drake loves Jackson, Mississippi and Jackson, Mississippi loves Drake. Back in 2013, he was pictured rocking a JSU jacket when he hosted CJ Gibson’s birthday party at The Martini room and his 2019 visit was nothing different. ‘The Boy’ was seen wearing the #BYWAYOFJACKSON collection by Matthew Mayberry, better known as Yayo The Drummer (One Man Band), a fellow Callaway graduate and Lil Wayne’s talented Drummer.

“Never Know When This Will Happen Again!”

Drake and The OVO Team flew into Jackson wanting an ‘Authentic Jackson Experience’ and
there was no better introduction than the Southern Soul Food cooking at Bully’s. They were
happy and “full off” Remy, Bully’s and family fellowshipping, the real Mississippi hospitality way.
“I think Drake appreciated the Mississippi hospitality when he landed. Even though Drake was
here for a short time period, he made sure local businesses and entrepreneurs could benefit from
Drake’s presence in the city,” added Mayberry.img_1128

The city was ready, lined up on the outside, packed up on the inside. There were several highlights of the night, hosted by Teezy Thomas with DJ Pretty Ricky on the music duties. As Drake entered, the DJ dropped Jackson’s Own Dear Silas’, ‘Skrr Skrr’ followed by some Hollywood Luck classics, such as ‘Pole In My Pants,’ for ‘The Boy’ to stroll to through 4th. According to friends, CJ always plays Jackson music around Drake and his team, which is why they were singing along to Jackson’s music.  The crowd was intimate and Drake wasn’t shy on the Mic, giving praises to CJ and even performing.

The ultimate shot of the night was captured by photographer Imani Khayyam (@I.khayyam), as he perfectly snapped The Mayor presenting Drake with The Proclamation to the city. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has always been jokingly called the twin of Drake and social media took no time with making their own captions for the now infamous photo: “Drake Vs Drake”



(Drake shows love to local photographer, @i.khayyam, by posting his shot on his Instagram page)

Thank You, CJ!

This was a major win for our city. It is great to have something positive to brag about. The man behind it all and the man behind-the-scenes, CJ Gibson, is one loyal man to his city. We appreciate his dedication and for being a model example of never forgetting where he came from and without him, the most epic night in Jackson would not have been possible. CJ gifted the city on his birthday, that’s truly selfless. He represents his family, first and foremost, secondly he represents Mississippi, Jackson, Callaway, JSU, The Boom and so much more, with humbled pride. He is a living legend who seeks to motivate and inspire his loved ones and community. We are honored to be represented by him. Looks like Jackson needs to mark December 20th as CJ Gibson Day. Sounds nice!


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SIKA, 31, a Delta native (Clarksdale, MS) gained her penmanship at the historical Tougaloo College, where she became a writer. An invested member in the music scene of Jackson, she is also a music artist, event/platform curator, and an artist developer. IG: @_iamsika_ FaceBook: Sika Noxolo

2 thoughts on “Exclusive: How Drake’s Longtime Friend CJ Gibson Coordinated Drake’s Surprise Visit To Jackson, MS For One Night Only

  1. I was at the Tupac/Grand Puba concert. Yes, the floor caved in. Tupac got upset because his music was cut mid song. I’m not sure if it was because he was cursing or because he had a large amount of beer on stage with him. It didn’t matter to me, I was mesmerized. I loved both entertainers but Tupac always has and always will be my heart. I remember watching him walk in. He was wearing a large jean jacket with himself spray painted on the back. When Grand Puba performed I remember people kept looking at me and my older cousin whispering and staring. Well, I turned around and Tupac was standing directly behind us. Like, less than an arms length. He looked at me and my cousin and smiled and nodded his head. I almost fainted. After the concert he was in a white van outside near a tree. It was dark but I saw him like a flashlight in the dark😂😂😂. He saw me staring and of course my cousin pointed at me. He told me to “Come here”.
    He asked me how old I was. I was legit like 12. My mom surprised me with the tickets because she knew my heart. I told him I was 12. He asked how I got to the concert. I said my mom…he was shocked. He couldn’t believe a little girl from Jackson, MS convinced her mom to let her attend a Tupac concert. You know… T.H.U.G. Life, gun toting, woke forever TUPAC! He hugged me and told me be great.

    Single handedly best day of my life💚

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