Having dominated the UK Charts, the rapper gets candid on his new track with Loski, creativity and new beginnings.

JAY 1 in white outfit
JAY 1 in white outfit

Within the last year and a half, we’ve witnessed the meteoric rise of 23-year-old rapper JAY1. From his breakthrough chart-topping hit “Your Mrs” to the fast-paced head bop “Mocking It”, the Coventry-hailed rapper has become a permanent fixture on any UK party playlist with his crisp menacing productions and cheeky lyricism. Continuing his reign, the rapper has teamed up with UK drill giant Loski for another confidence-drenched hit “TEE”, courtesy of UK heavyweight producers BKAY and AJ. With his trademark flow and bass-heavy vocals, the rapper exudes self-confidence anchored by Loski’s energetic and effervescent verse which he delivers at ease.

Having been nominated for Breakthrough of the Year at GRM Daily’s Rated Award and jumped on tracks with UK superstars AJ Tracey and Aitch, the rapper has become a staple in the UK music scene with his unique and addictive sound. We caught up with rapper breaking down his latest hit with Loski, rediscovering his sound and what’s next on the agenda.

Check out the interview below…

So how’s lockdown been for you, what’ve you been up to?
Lockdown has been good, I’ve been spending time with my family. When I became JAY1 I got so busy and I wasn’t really seeing my family much, so lockdown definitely gave me a good amount oftime to spend with my family. I’ve still been going to the studio during lockdown as well to try and polish some stuff, there’s been a lot going on during lockdown like the Black Lives Matter, George Floyd dying, it’s just been mental I can’t lie.

And how do you feel like it’s affected you, has it affected your creativity?
Yeah, I feel like it did affect me a bit because I was thinking I didn’t want to drop music during lockdown, I wanted to clear everything up first. There was a lot going on as well stuff with the Black Lives Matter movement, it wasn’t the right time. I wanted to do it when this whole lockdown thing was over but it’s made me feel like I’ve missed out on a lot because I haven’t been releasing music, I felt a bit isolated. But obviously now I’ve got a whole new plan and I’m just excited to release music.

Coming into a London dominated music scene, how did you navigate it? Did you find it difficult being from Coventry?
I felt like it was a lot easier to get noticed being in Coventry because no one has my unique sound in Coventry or in the West Midlands. So when I put myself out there online I feel like a lot of people were like ‘Woah, he’s unique, he’s representing Coventry’, which is another unique thing because at the time there wasn’t a lot of Coventry rappers doing their thing. Now there is PA Salieu, that’s my guy and he’s hard as well, but before there wasn’t a lot of rappers in Coventry, so I felt like if I put myself out there as this Coventry boy. It’s mad how everything worked out, it was God’s plan definitely.

I feel like as a musician you don’t have to move to London to make it, you can do it anywhere in the UK.
Most definitely, you can do it anywhere in the UK but I’m currently in London now. I’ve been in London for the past two months just working on my second EP. I feel like if I’m with the same people in a different environment then it’s calm, I can work with the same people I was working with in Coventry in London.

And you have a new tune out with Loski, how did this come about?
I’ve got a friend called Emmanuel who’s a massive fan of drill and he made the connection happen. I’m a big fan of Loski as well, he’s defo in the top three favourite drill artists of mine so to make a song with one of my favourite rappers is a blessing. Eman knows Loski’s manager and he just connected us together and we went to a session one day and it flowed really well, we made “TEE” and we just became friends from then.

JAY1 in blue outfit
JAY1 in bright neon tracksuit
JAY1 in blue outfit
JAY1 in bright neon tracksuit

And the song has got that drill-type beat to it, what made you want to jump on a drill-type beat?
Do you know what it is, I’m a massive fan of drill, I actually listen to drill and I feel like my voice matched the drill beat

The beats are really fast as well.
Proper fast. I wouldn’t classify myself as a drill artist but I will jump on a drill beat like Stormzy jumped on a drill beat, Dave jumped on a drill beat, AJ Tracey jumped on a drill beat, but I wouldn’t classify them as drill artists. I just wanted to mix it up a bit, I’m even thinking of moving on to doing garage next.

What inspired you to get into music? Who was someone you were looking up to?
I looked up to P Diddy a lot, Missy Elliot, Drake, Stormzy, Dave, Chipmunk, Biggie Smalls and recently I like Dababy as well. Two years back I didn’t know Dababy but recently I proper like his use of beats.

Who would your dream collaboration be?
Definitely Ed Sheeran or Drake.

Do you feel like that can happen anytime soon?
Do you know what’s mad, I went on Ed Sheeran’s playlist, he’s got a playlist called ‘Songs I Listen To In my Car’, and I’m in there! I’m one of the five UK artists that’s on there so when I saw he was listening to my music I was thinking this is insane

What’s next for you? Have you got an album on the way because your EP came out last year?
If we’re keeping it really real, I want to show everyone the real JAY1 because I feel like, when you do music and you go from being a normal person to a superstar, on the way up it’s easy to get lost. I’m not trying to sound big-headed when I say superstar but you know what I mean, being very known. It’s hard as a human being, it’s hard to take in. You can get lost into living the JAY1 life and I feel like on the way up I got a bit lost and my vision started to blur.

What triggered this?
Social media, getting a lot of followers and realising everyone’s following JAY1. It’s mad and I felt like I had to keep up with the latest clothes or try and fit in or whatever, but that’s not actually who I am. I’m just a normal person and I feel like right now I want to show people who I am now. I want people to get an insight of who Jason is and know more about me personally. I’ve done so many things I regret. I went to Miami, I spent like 50 grand in Miami just enjoying myself. That’s not acceptable, I look back and I think yuck, what are you doing? Why did you spend that much in Miami? That was me being lost in the sauce and I can’t be doing that.

When can we expect the new project?
Right now I’m still trying to structure the EP. I’m spending two months in London trying to plan it, but an estimate would probably be like late October maybe.

And after that do you think maybe in the future there’d be an album?
Yeah, that’s what I’m working towards as well, but I need to be prepared for that and mentally prepared.

Focus is a must for an album.
Trust me.

Dayna Southall

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