More About Jay RockFor a rapper to command your attention, it all comes down to the voice. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Public Enemy's Chuck D had millions of fans hanging on to every word of his booming baritone. In the mid-1990s, The Notorious B.I.G.'s steely poise and vocal precision led many critics and fans to proclaim him the best rapper of all time. Now, in 2006, get ready for the next rapper with a magnetic voice, someone whose pristine raps demand attention. His name: Jay Rock.
Born and raised in Watts, California's notorious Nickerson Gardens Projects, Jay Rock got his first encouragement from his music-making relatives, who noticed the impact his deep, melodic voice made on song after song. "They were like, ‘you're hard. And you've got a voice for it, too. You've got a real cool voice to it,'" Jay Rock recalls. "A lot of people started hearing me and they would tell me that my voice catches them. So, I started working it, working on my craft and got more and more confidence."
Jay Rock's confidence led to a string of heated appearances on neighborhood mixtapes. The gifted rhymer's clever phrasing, gritty realism, storytelling swagger and powerful voice grabbed the attention of Top Dawg Entertainment boss Dude Dawg. Once in the studio with an independent company backing him, Jay Rock's output increased and improved.
After shopping his demo to a number of major labels, Jay Rock and Top Dawg earned a deal with industry powerhouse Warner Bros. Records, also home to Lil Jon's BME Recordings, E-40, The Federation and Talib Kweli, among others. The Warner Bros. executives were impressed with Jay Rock's distinctive flow, his vivid lyrics and, of course, "voice". Already a star on the Internet, his always-updated myspace.com/jayrock page features three songs that have more than 100,000 plays.
One of those cuts is "LA S**t," Jay Rock's stellar reworking of Busta Rhymes' "New York S**t." "When I heard that song, I thought it was a hot-a*s song, so I wanted to get on my LA s**t about what we do out here," says Jay Rock, who has long been a fan of Busta Rhymes' phraseology. "I was paying respect to Busta and his song, and that's for the mixtapes right there. I want LA to get an ear for it."
LA will also appreciate the energetic "California Soul", which details the treacherous reality of California's streets. "Game produced the record and he gave it to me. I met him at the studio about a week later and let him hear it...he went crazy! He liked it so much he recorded the hook on the spot." On the smooth "That's My Word," Jay Rock asserts his status as a man of his word, while "To The Top" documents his ascent from project resident to his present day successes. "It was a struggle to get to where I'm at now," he says. "I'm talking about going from the bottom to the top, what I was going through starting off. I'm legal now. I'm signed. I started off at the bottom, made something out of nothing and am going to run with it until I get all the way to the top."
As someone who looks toward the past as he pushes toward the future, Jay Rock holds the soulful "Back In The Days" in high regard. "I just went back to when I was 6, 7, growing up listening to the oldies," he explains. "That song meant a lot because I always dwell on the past, for some reason. I always think back and wish that I was a kid again. I know that will never happen, but some times I just wish I could go back in the days when I was young."
For now, though, Jay Rock is focused on recording his debut album and ushering in a new era of hard-core West Coast rap. Jay Rock is thankful that Compton's The Game was able to breakthrough with his multi platinum, The Documentary album. "Game opened up the doors for a lot of people," Jay Rock says. "Game opened the door and I'm running right through with my people behind me. We're trying to bring it