THE WHOLE 9 IS BACK! Today we take it to the Bay Area, and chop it up with lyrical miracle J.Lately. He recently released a new single Free, featuring HBK’s Azure, and Space Cadet. He’s shared stages with the likes of Zion I, Locksmith, and A-Plus of the Hieroglyphics. Check out the interview below, and for more on J, hit him up on his website.
the9elements: How did you hook up with Azure and Space Cadet for the “Free” record? How did the writing and recording process go down?
J.Lately: Space Cadet produces a lot of my music so we were sitting in the studio working on beats one night. We came up with this beat and I told him we should make a song to it right then. He started singing the hook and we kind of played with the words together until we liked it. Then I added my verse and the intro/outro parts.
I knew I wanted to get someone else on the song for the second verse, and Azure’s a good friend and an artist who I’ve worked closely with before and thought would fit the vibe perfect. His studio was right next door to mine so I just pulled him in a couple nights later and showed it to him and he was on board.
T9E: Who do you think is the most underrated rapper in Hip Hop and why?
JL: Tough question. I’m going with a completely biased answer, Devin The Dude. Amazing storytelling, genuine perspective, incorporated melodies before it was popular, longevity. But I’m sure there could be like 50 other reasonable answers to this question.
T9E: You do a lot of live shows. What is the number one most important thing you’ve learned from all your performances?
JL: Treat every show like your most important one. Some shows are obviously going to be more packed or more live than others, but you never know who is in the crowd each night or what future opportunity might come from a show. And even on a deeper level than that it’s just a thing of respect.
People have paid money and spent their precious time to come and see me, which is exactly what I want them to do, so let’s show them the respect of giving them my all. It seems only fair and logical.
T9E: What do you think are the pros and cons of the Bay as it is today, after a lot of gentrification?
JL: I think the beauty of the Bay to me has always been the diversity, and I don’t just mean racially. There’s literally like every single type of person in the Bay. People listen to all different types of music, dress all different types of ways, speak all these different languages, come from all different backgrounds. I just think it’s the type of place where you can feel at home because whether you feel like you fit in or stand out here there’s always a place for you.
With gentrification though a lot of different groups of people are being pushed out and we’re losing some of this diverse culture that’s so strong here. It’s just getting so expensive that unless you’re living a pretty specific type of lifestyle it’s hard to even afford anymore.
T9E: What line of yours do you think you should go down in history for and why?
JL: The first line on the first track of my last album is “I deserve a lifetime supply of peanut butter jellies”. Sounds like a simple line, but I just think it represents who I am. I speak my truth, I work my ass off, and I may not be there yet but I’m most definitely gonna get mine.