Reginald Joseph "Combat Jack" Osse'July 8, 1964 ~ December 20, 2017 (age 53)
Attorney * Author * Cultural Historian * Podcast Pioneer
It is with profound sorrow that we honor the life of beloved son, husband, father, brilliant legal mind and steadfast preserver of hip-hop culture Reginald “Reggie” Ossé, also professionally known as Combat Jack.
Reggie was born and raised in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. He was the only son of Haitian immigrants, the late Max Ossé and Beatrix Jean-François.
After graduating from Xavier High School, he studied the arts as a student at Cornell University where he joined the Kappa Xi chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. His internship in the legal affairs department of Def Jam Records placed him squarely on the path to becoming a student of business and contract law. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Cornell, he was accepted to Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned his Juris Doctorate.
Over the course of a 12 year tenure as an attorney, Reggie represented hip-hop luminaries and companies, including: Damon Dash, Jay-Z and Roc-A-fella Records; DJ Clark Kent, Nice & Smooth, Capone-N-Noreaga, Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, Ski Beatz and many others, advocating for creative and entrepreneurial visionaries like himself, who were all bound by the cultural fabric of a burgeoning global hip hop industry. When Reggie decided to establish a law firm with his late partner Ed Woods, Reggie’s father-in-law Grammy Award winning Teddy Vann, who was himself a proponent of intellectual property ownership as a recording artist, secured prime office space in one of his Manhattan office locations for Ossé and Woods. The firm quickly became a formidable player, brokering deals and partnerships for clients.
After many years of success in the legal field, Reggie closed his chapter as an attorney, turning to another passion: writing. He served as Managing Editor of The Source from 2010-2011. He co-authored BLING: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book with Gabriel Tolliver (Bloomsbury, 2006). A decade into the new millennium, Reggie saw a void for storytelling and preservation of hip hop history in the digital space. He filled it first with his own voice via his Daily Mathematics blog and website, then with the voices of other influencers on The Combat Jack Show podcast in 2010, and in 2013, a collective of podcasters as co-founder of Loud Speakers Network. Reggie amplified the brilliance of the genre’s culture bearers as a laserlike, unflinching interviewer—and as the narrator and producer of the acclaimed miniseries Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty, which cemented his place as an iconic figure in digital media.
In addition to all of his wonderful achievements, Reggie’s children were his pride and joy. His eldest son Chuma, writer, producer, and performer is a junior at The Clive Davis School at NYU. Chi, a sophomore at Chapman University, plans to transfer to Reggie’s alma mater Cornell University to study business and restaurant management. Kai, a sophomore at Friends Seminary, is already a tastemaker in the fashion, sports and music industry. Kara Sky, his francophone princess, is a dancer, model, violin and piano player whose favorite subject is mathematics and is interested in coding. He loved his children more than you can imagine.
An architect of the modern hip hop industry who leaves us with a powerful legacy, Reggie was known for his deep love of family, fierce client advocacy and generosity of spirit across his many overlapping personal and professional circles. After a valiant and public battle with colon cancer, Reggie made his transition on December 20, 2017 at the age of 53. He used his platform to bring attention to the disease with the trending hashtag #CombatCancer. A devout Buddhist, Reggie is survived by his mother, Beatrix, his wife of 20 years, Akim Vann Ossé, and their four children: Chuma, Chi, Kai, and Kara Sky, and brothers Max and Frantz and five other siblings; He will be greatly and eternally missed.