Everyone, listen out for Jallal. This young, LA based MC is owning a unique spot in hip hop - where conscious greets a wider audience, a place many a MC dreams of but merely any make it. Jallal is ready and able because he is pure DIY, no major labels are pushing him to water himself down to get 'the numbers', he has these completely on his own merit.
It's not just us who are championing Jallal, we have to give Chad Hugo and Jan Fairchild credit for the introduction and as the universe would have it, it turns out our homies Lupe Fiasco and Yasiin Bey have been a very, very good influence on Jallal too.
Alongside a growing list of MCs, singers and producers, many of whom have stepped to the mic for Jallal including: BJ The Chicago Kid, Ne-Yo, Yo Gotti, Lil Wayne, T-Pain and 2 Chainz.
Sarah talked to Jallal about Chad Hugo, FRATfax, lack of doubt and having some outstanding mentors.
We met you with Chad and Jan — you're keeping some seriously dope and talented company, how did you meet these guys and can you tell us the story of Toss & Turn, please?
"Yes, good times. I met Jan last year on Eid the holiday which marks the end of Ramadan, the muslim month of fasting. He called me in for a session to lay down a verse for a project he was working on. I will never forget that day. I met Chad Hugo at East West Studios in Hollywood, our first encounter was eating a kale salad. Toss and Turn came up at our main studio in Hollywood Hills, Chad came through in this GhostBusters Jumpsuit, stood outside the door of the studio mumbling a melody went in on the keyboard, did his thing and laced some classic Neptune drums and the rest was history. He is just a genius like that."
What did you know about Jan and what do you enjoy most about working with him?
"I knew Jan mixed some of Michael Bolton's best works, he is a Legend."
We've all witnessed it, but can you tell us how Chad literally brings that magic to a track?
"Chad is a very mathematical guy when it comes to music. He hears things in a way where we just can’t. He hears sounds and melodies in his head that no none does, aside from probably Pharrell. That's why they are the Neptunes. They are out of this world."
By the way it was awesome to meet by chance and realise we have some many friends in common. What do you think about coincidences and how life throws the right people at you at the right time? Have you got a good story when thinking about those kinds of scenarios?
"Super lit! Yes, I honestly feel like everything is planned out.We just live it out and take the steps towards the right path. Yes, I was invited to the VIP night of the LA Art Show by my homie Bryan who was exhibiting there. I ran into Seth Green who is like one of the greatest to do it in my opinion, and it was like a moment like ours because we had a mutual friend Yasiin Bey. They co starred in the movie Italian Job together."
You're from LA - if you chose one street that you feel totally sums you up, which one would it be and why?
"Fairfax Ave., aka FRATfax because its like the epicenter to the culture when it comes to the tie between music and fashion. Every store is always trying to exhibit the culture in the best way possible. That is what keeps it alive."
Tell us about how Lupe became your mentor? As you know Sally and I semi-adopted Lupe and he called us his (young) British Mums, so we're proud to hear he's been taking care of you!
"Lupe Fiasco has always been someone I looked up to as a youth. He literally just told me about the industry verbatim, all the ills and all the positives. Lupe has been through a lot when it comes to putting out music so he learned through his trials, and I tried to pick the good out of it. That was so cool, I remember the old Food and Liquor videos with Sway and him out in the UK could of sworn I seen you both in it!" [Laughs]
You released your first mixtape Semi-Casual Love at 16/17 years old. Who was influencing this kind of title? Haha! We're pulling your leg. Tell us about the lyrical content and what you felt was an important message to get across at that age?
"To be honest what influenced Semi -Casual Love was high school, it was that stage in life where everything was semi - casual, the whole phase of actually growing up and being professional but we were all semi we were half professional and half casual and laid back. Thats how love was portrayed and practiced in high school no one took it seriously. The lyrical message was trying to make the supposed un cool things cool, like social issues that were going on and environmental issues such as deforestation and Monsanto."
How did you link with one our other favourite people ever, Yasiin Bey?
"I linked with him after my release of my second mixtape Unwilling Fortay he was doing a performance and invited me to come through, we literally chopped it up about music. We met before in the past but this was our official hang out."
What drives you the most?
"Life, not being guaranteed tomorrow. Thats what drives me."
How do you handle any form of self-doubt?
"I don’t doubt. Doubt comes from the whispers. I tune the whispering out."
Can you tell us about your forthcoming mixtape?
"Yes, Off the Radar by Jallal is the hottest mixtape of Summer 2017."
How's DJ MOZA doing?
"DJ MOZA is doing great! DJ MOZA has produced six records on Off The Radar, including one of my favorite songs “Risk Zone”."
Interview: Sarah J. Edwards
Jallal's latest mixtape #OffTheRadar is now on SoundCloud
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