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'It was just written in the stars': Q&A with JayeDee

Following the release of his debut album, JayeDee sits down with Epigram Music to discuss making old school hip hop while living in South East England.

By Toby Barnes, Second Year History

Following the release of his debut album Just A Young Dream, JayeDee sits down with Epigram Music to discuss the making of his album and some of the broader trends in the rap world.

Epigram Music: New album just come out … Just A Young Dream. How do you feel about it?

JayeDee: ‘Yeh, initial reaction, from not having a mixtape out before, it’s been positive. Adding it to the playlist and that. That’s all I can ask for really, do you know what I mean?’

Epigram Music: It must be quite crazy having a year and a half of work and then you’re just putting it out on one day.

JayeDee: ‘Yeh, yeh, yeh. It’s all been building up to a certain point and then it’s just like a massive exhale. It’s just like all of that work, finally out and people can hear it, do you know what I mean? Cos I’ve been listening to the same songs, yeh – like you say, for a year and a half … but yeh, it’s exciting!'

Epigram Music: So, you made it over the course of a year and a half, do you think that’s had an influence [on the album]?  There are quite a lot of different stuff going on, a lot of different styles.

JayeDee: ‘Ok, so errr, slightly, maybe, but I’ve always got the same thing in my head. When I sit down to write, it’s sort of like … whatever I’m feeling at that moment, or whatever’s in my head. I don’t necessarily go into it thinking, ‘oh I want to get this sort of sound’, It’s just what happens.’

Epigram Music: The first two tracks [of the album] are ‘Intro’ and ‘Who would’ve thought?’ It feels like you have something to prove, would you say that’s fair?

JayeDee: ‘Yeh, definitely … I first wanted 'Intro' to be the self-titled track on the album and then when it turned into the track, I was like "it literally is an intro", it’s introducing me to anyone that’s listening to my music. And, definitely with ‘Who would’ve thought?’ - it’s that jumpy upbeat sort of vibe that everyone can feel what I’m trying to get across when I’m on that track.’

Epigram Music: Do you feel like it’s difficult for rappers in the South-East [outside of London] to make it?

Jayedee: ‘If you are an artist and you have the mentality of it being hard... I never had that mentality. I was just doing music cos' I wanted to do the music and it just so happens that someone I knew, knew someone they knew, and they linked me up. It was just written in the stars. But, in the South-East … yeh, because music isn’t a massive thing … well, you know where I live … I live in a village with old people in it, so there’s no influence or motivation. But, at the same time, having that lack of music around me, gives more of a drive. Do you know what I mean? To be that person that’s not like everyone else. I’m from the sticks.’

Epigram Music:  You say that in one of your tracks, don’t you?

JayeDee: ‘Yeh, that’s something that I sort of want to push. The kid from the sticks, it’s original.’

Epigram Music: Shout out to the old people.

JayeDee: ‘Yeh, too right, the old people in the village.’

Featured Image: Jayedee/Spotify

Epigram Music: The third song on the album, ‘Rap Life’, has a particular 90s old school hip hop West Coast sound. What influenced this?’

JayeDee: ‘Gheez, ok. So, let me tell you … yeh. The whole album changed due to the name. I had to change the beats, half of the beats on the album you hear are not what I had originally wrote the track over. So, ‘Rap Life’ was written over a snoop dog track, over ‘What’s my name?’ But [other than that], Nipsey Hussle off the top of the head. Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar and Joey Badass are my main. Obviously, one’s from the west coast, one’s from the east coast but they bring different things to the table. It’s just that deeper lyrical sense of meaning in your music, that’s what I fuck with the most.

Epigram Music: What’s your opinion on rappers coming up nowadays that don’t listen to some of the older stuff?

JayDee: ‘I mean it’s a touchy topic, because obviously they’re doing what they’re doing. But, in my personal opinion, if you’re gonna make music you’ve got to show respect for the people that paved the way before. It can come across as very arrogant if you don’t pay attention to those people. That’s where I found my love for music, that old-school hip-hop vibe. I never even listened to this new school stuff until I started making music. That old school hip-hop’s just real, you know? … No skinny jeans … No, I’m joking’

Epigram Music: Where do you want to go next?

JayeDee: ‘I’ve been speaking to someone that’s been listening to my music for a while now and obviously working on a body of work is important but … next I want to push singles and get that defined sound … I want people to know that I’m that guy that makes that sound.'

Featured Image: Jayedee/Instagram