David Jassy

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David Jassy
David Jassy.jpg
David Jassy
Background information
Birth nameDavid Moses Jassy
Born (1974-04-11) 11 April 1974 (age 45)
GenresHip hop, R&B
Occupation(s)Songwriter, musician, producer, rapper
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar, percussion.
Associated actsNavigators
(David Jassy and Andreas Avellan)

David Moses Jassy (born April 11, 1974) is a Swedish musician, songwriter and music producer of mixed Gambian and Estonian origin. With Andrés Avellán, he was part of a Swedish R&B hip hop duo, Navigators in the late 1990s. After split up of the group, Jassy went on to writing music and producing a number of international acts such as Ashley Tisdale, Sean Kingston, Eve, No Angels, Mohombi, Darin, Charice, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Heidi Montag and many others. He is the founder of Jassy World Entertainment, a music production and publishing company. He is currently serving 15 years to life for the murder of John Osnes.

Early years: Navigators[edit]

David Jassy formed, with Andrés Avellán, the R&B hip hop duo, Navigators.[1] They released first single, cover of Joyce Sims' song "Come into My Life" in 1998.[2] In the same year they released another single called "I Remember".

In 1999 they released their third and most successful single "Superstar"[2] that stayed 11 weeks in Swedish Singles Chart reaching number 20.[3] In the single "Superstar", Jassy and Avellan sampled bassline from Chic's classic "I Want Your Love". In the same year their only album Daily Life Illustrators was released,[3] reaching number 27 in the Swedish Albums Chart.

Musical production[edit]

Jassy co-wrote "Be Good to Me" and "Not Like That" from Ashley Tisdale's Headstrong and "It's Alright, It's OK" and "Crank It Up" from Tisdale's Guilty Pleasure. He also co-wrote "Goodbye to Yesterday" and "Back Off" by No Angels, "Love Struck" by VFactory", "Runaway" and "Karma" for Darin, "Body Language" for Heidi Montag and "Pyramid" for Charice.

Personal life[edit]

He was born in 1974 in Solna, Sweden[4] to a Gambian father and an Estonian mother. He has one son born in 1997 in Sweden.[5]

Murder of John Osnes

Jassy was arrested by Los Angeles police on November 23, 2008[6] after a confrontation with jazz musician John Osnes. Osnes was crossing the street at Selma Avenue and Schrader Boulevard. Witnesses told police that Osnes had banged on the front of Jassy's vehicle with his hands in response to Jassy's car moving into the crosswalk. Jassy got out, punched Osnes, and kicked him in the head as he bent down to retrieve his glasses. The coroner testified that it was either this kick or the resulting fall that broke Osnes's skull and caused his death. Jassy fled and while leaving the scene, his vehicle this time ran over Osnes. Bystanders and an off-duty Anaheim police officer tried unsuccessfully to detain Jassy. Osnes was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, and Jassy was arrested the next day,[7] and charged with one count of murder, along with an additional count of assault with a deadly weapon. He remained in custody on $1 million bail, facing a possible life-with-parole prison term.

Trial and sentencing

The trial began on January 13, 2010. Jassy's attorney contended he was defending himself, his girlfriend, and his vehicle from "an angry drunk." The prosecution countered that Jassy was the aggressor.[8] On February 1, 2010, he was convicted of second-degree murder but not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident.[9] On March 4, 2010 Jassy was sentenced to 15 years to life imprisonment.[10] He will be eligible for parole in 2024.[11]

Recordings under incarceration[edit]

The program known as Youthful Offender Program (or Y.O.P.) came about due to a change in U.S. legislation, allowing youthful offenders entering prison under the age of 22 that were supposed to go to level 4 high security prison for serving their sentences, were afforded an opportunity to be transferred to San Quentin prison which is a level 2 minimum security prison. Y.O.P. run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) also stipulated the creation of various programs to help in rehabilitation of offenders, with very positive results.[12][13]

This prompted David Jassy already in San Quentin to volunteer in a musical program launched in 2015. Jassy's project "Y.O.P. Mixtape Program" tried to help young inmates through his own songwriting and record producing experience to allow the youth enrolled to record their own music in a studio inaugurated in the prison.[14][15] Jassy explains that he grew up listening to rap and it effected his mood according to what rapper he was listening to. He encouraged the talented youth imprisoned on various offences to channel their feelings through music and lyrics they composed, thus serving as a rehabilitation and hopefully serve as a tool to help prevent other youth to fall into the same path through listening to a more genuine output of music from those actually incarcerated rather than the gangsta rappers they are accustomed to hear who just glorify prison life. Jassy also imposed a rule that in the recordings he would help in launching, no profanity would be allowed in the lyrics. From an initial mixtape project, the program developed into a more involved music mentorship program.[15] Jassy says the mixtape released has caught the attention of music industry celebrities like Common and DJ Khaled, who are now supporters of the program.

Band Contagious[edit]

Jassy is part of the hip-hop band, Contagious, one of four official inmate music groups at San Quentin that perform at various yard shows, graduations and events inside the prison during the year.[16] Jassy is the primary songwriter and front man of the band, that also includes convicted prisoners Paul Comauex (vocals), Lee Jaspar (on guitars), Kevin Sawyer (on keyboards) and James Benson (on drums). Contagious is under the supervision of prison staff and technician Raphaele Casale.[16]


In 2017, Jassy was invited to a special TEDx entitled TEDxSanQuentin. He performed during the event his own composition "Freedom" inspired by his own experience. Jassy wrote it when he was stuck in his cell during a lockdown at Solano Prison years earlier. Jassy’s son was in the audience.[16] The filmed event was uploaded on April 20, 2017.[17][18]


Jassy also worked on his own materials and released remixes including "Freedom" from The Game which he entitled "Freedom (Dreams Remix)".[19] He also created beats for the acclaimed prison podcast "Ear Hustle" producing music from an influx of younger men who came into San Quentin.[16]




  • 1999: Daily Life Illustrators (reached #27 on Swedish Albums Chart)

Track list:

  • "Come Into My Life"
  • "Superstar"
  • "I Remember"
  • "Get a Life"
  • "Something's Wrong"
  • "Dreams"
  • "All Over"
  • "Believe In Yourself"
  • "Blue Hill"
  • "Set Sail"
  • "Snakes"
  • "If You Where Here Tonight"



  • 1998: "Come into My Life" (reached #31 on Swedish Singles Chart)
  • 1998: "I Remember" (reached #46 on Swedish Singles Chart)
  • 1999: "Superstar" (reached #20 on Swedish Singles Chart)


  • 2009: "Exit"
  • 2017: "Freedom" (released 13 May 2018)[20]

Collaborations (albums / singles)[edit]

  • 2004: "Blah Blah Blah" (single by Vanessa Struhler featuring David Jassy)
  • 2007: "Be Good to Me" by Ashley Tisdale featuring David Jassy (taken from her album Headstrong)
  • 2007: "Body Language" by Heidi Montag (written by David Jassy)
  • 2008: Flashback (album by Darin Zanyar with six songs on the album written by David Jassy):
    • "Karma" (single written by and featuring David Jassy)
    • "Runaway" (single written by David Jassy)
    • "Strobelight", "Flashback", "Roadtrip" (other songs on album written by David Jassy)
  • 2008: "Outta Control" by VFactory (written and featuring David Jassy)
  • 2009: "Love Struck" by VFactory (written by David Jassy, Darin and produced by Swedish production team Twin)
  • 2009: Guilty Pleasure, an album by Ashley Tisdale – album co-produced by David Jassy
    • "It's Alright, It's OK" (single from same album – song co-written by David Jassy)
    • "Crank It Up (second single includes vocals by David Jassy)
    • "Watcha Waitin For" (written by David Jassy produced by Twin)
    • "Acting Out" (written by David Jassy and produced by Twin)
  • 2009: "What If", an anti-bullying song by Friends featuring Darin (written by David Jassy and produced by Twin)
  • 2009: "Got Skillz", "Pooltable","Okay" and "Match Made in Heaven" (Ilya featuring David Jassy)
  • 2010: "Pyramid" by Charice featuring Iyaz (written by David Jassy produced by Twin)


  1. ^ "Musikvideos, News & Interviews". MTV.de. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Navigators (2) Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Navigators – Superstar". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  4. ^ [1] Archived March 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Swedish rapper gets life for Hollywood killing – The Local". Thelocal.se. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  6. ^ John R. Stephens, Webmaster (November 25, 2008). "Swedish Hip Hop Artist Charged in Purported Road Rage Case". Da.lacounty.gov. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  7. ^ "Hollywood: Man, 55, kicked in head and run over". Los Angeles Times. February 8, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  8. ^ Harriet Ryan (January 14, 2010). "Swedish rapper argues self-defense in murder case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "WeHo News". WeHo News. Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  10. ^ [2] Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ [3][dead link]
  12. ^ CDCR Program: CDCR program improves young offenders’ chances for success
  13. ^ ProsonFellowship.org: ‘Youthful Offender Program’ provides hope, second chances
  14. ^ KingSizeMag.se: Svensk rappare sprider hopp för unga fångar med musikprojekt i San-Quentin-Fängelset (in Northern Sami)
  15. ^ a b YOP Mixtape Video - David Jassy
  16. ^ a b c d Liberatore, Paul (May 17, 2018). "Swedish musician's hip-hop San Quentin band offers friendship, escape". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  17. ^ TEDx Talks YouTube channel: Freedom | David Jassy | TEDxSanQuentin
  18. ^ kingSizeMag.se: David Jassy släpper låten "Freedom" från San Quentin-Fängelset (in Northern Sami)
  19. ^ Bettabopp YouTube channel - David Jassy - Freedom (Dreams Remix)
  20. ^ iTunes: Freedom - David Jassy

External links[edit]