This months feature is an artist with a buzz reppin the city of oaks with lyrical sensibility…….lets check out Jamaal Matters
Mistajay: What is the story and conception behind your producer name?
Jamaal: I started taking music seriously in 2010. During that time, my name was Ripstar Da Truth. Around 2015 I changed my name to Jamaal Matters and it wasn't an easy transition because I didn't know my audience or sound. I chose the name Jamaal Matters because I always felt overlooked like an underdog in my city. Jamaal is my government name but in elementary I spelled it "Jamaal" because my pops named me after Lakers legend Jamaal Wilkes. The Matters is just a way of saying that I represent the outkasts in society, they matter too. My producer A.R.T's name is an acronym for Artistically Revealing Truth.
Mistajay: What area are you reppin? What is the hip hop scene like there?..
Jamaal: I was born in Raleigh NC, but I've lived all over the Triangle area. I would say I represent Raleigh. The Hip hop scene in Raleigh and NC has grown tremendously over the past decade. Currently we have a dope community out here. With venues like The Genius Party, The Pour House, and Dreamville Festival, artists from our city are getting more exposure than ever before. Sometimes I feel like our talent as a whole is slept on because we have so much of it here that people don't know about.
Mistajay: What are your overall influences of your music? And what inspires you?
Jamaal: I fell in love with Hip hop in the mid 90's so I was influenced by guys like Nas, E40, MF Doom, and UGK. I'm that kid that was tapped into every region of the culture. When dudes were calling E40 and UGK wack, I was digging the slang and funky sound they were bringing. I'm something like a hip hop gumbo pot full of all the game I soaked up from every coast. I would say life experiences, music, and conversations are the 3 main things that inspire my art. I try my best to keep my music authentic and write from a genuine place. I've always enjoyed retro black films from the 70's to 90's. I love incorporating those influences into my music as well.
Mistajay: Your record Unusual was played on the ATL Junkies live youtube, host Trife said one thing that stood out about the artist was his East coast influenced flow with a southern twang and smooth delivery. How do you describe your style of hip-hop?
Jamaal: I would say my style is definitely deep rooted in traditional hip hop culture. I'm very serious about making every bar count when I write. Also, I'm intentional when it comes to my delivery and how I pronounce my words so that you understand me clearly. Again, my style is influenced by every coast but growing up in NC we are located on the east coast so everyone gravitated towards New York emcees at that time. My style was built on that New York influence from day one but being born in the south, I always made the effort to represent my home instead of acting like an up north cat.
Mistajay: You have been dropping a single each month since March 2023. Official releases so far in order: Dior Cologne, Geen and Gold, Unusual, and World Premiere. In July you will be releasing 2 singles. Convertible Top July 3rd and Take yo Chain Feat.Tap July 7th. What is your best song recorded to date and why?
Jamaal: That's a hard question because my best song is always changing daily lol. Right now, I would say World Premiere is my favorite because my producer A.R.T created a vibe that reminded me of Big Pun "I'm not a player" from 1998. I love that mid/late 90's hip hop the most because I was in middle school around that time and it brings back so many dope memories. When I wrote world Premiere, I tried to channel that energy and bring it back in my own unique way. Alot of my peers say me and A.R.T did a great job at resurrecting that 90's vibe but keeping it fresh and new.
Mistajay: I f you could work with any other 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring, who would they be and why?
Jamaal: Easy, number one would be 38 Spesh because he's clever and witty with his bars like myself and he's also a dope producer. I feel that me and Spesh could do a fire project together and go on tour. Number 2 would be Nas because we all know he's the Goat! and last, Jay Electronica. Jay is one of my favorite emcees because his story is similar to my own from living in the projects with his grandmother to being from the south but heavily influenced by New York emcees.
Mistajay: A fan that discovered your music through Facebook quoted " I haven't felt vibes like this since Biggie's Ready to Die". How does that make you feel hearing that and how do you interact with your developing fan base?
Jamaal: That statement made me feel like I'm doing my job. All I ever wanted to do as an emcee was to make people feel the same energy as the 1st time they heard a Big or Jay album. I took that as a huge compliment.. not many emcees/producers can come together and deliver that nostalgic vibe correctly. I have a group text where I send my fans exclusive sneak peaks of music and visuals eventually merch. I try to keep in touch with them and interact as much as possible. They always show love and give me honest feedback about my music. Shoutout to the Matters Click!
Mistajay: A lot of artists/producers come into the game with a lot of ambition but don’t spend time learning the business side. How important to you is learning about publishing and royalties?
Jamaal: Learning the business is very important to me these days because for the majority of my 10 plus years as an emcee I didn't know the business. I recently started looking at my art as a business in 2023. I started over from square one and got my business in order. It's a lot of work because I'm the record label, artist,manager and more. It's definitely not for the weak but I enjoy the benefits of controlling my own situation.
Mistajay: Where do you see the hip hop going in 2023? How do you see yourself fitting into that?
Jamaal: I believe that Hip hop is thriving through 2023 and beyond. Especially on an indie/underground level because we have our own community that we are supported and embraced in. Our ecosystem may not be as large as major labels but in this day and time you don't really need the majors to win. I believe you just need a small fan base that is willing to pay you for your art and merchandise. I see myself being very successful within the next few years and creating a large movement with me and A.R.T's sound.
Mistajay: How has covid 19 situation affected your plans as related to music?
Jamaal: During Covid, I wasn't inspired to write or make music. I actually stopped for a few years because my pops passed away when covid began. I didn't think I would ever do music again but I started filming videos for artist's to get me out of my funk and that inspired me to film my own music videos and get back into creating music. I started at the top of 2023 and here I am.
Mistajay: What are your other future plans?.
Jamaal: I plan to continue dropping singles each month along with Short Reel style visuals for each song. Also, I'll be performing at The Genius Party on August 27th. This year I'm going to be doing a lot of interviews, features, Merch, performing and building my fanbase. I'm really just getting started because we're building the music from the ground up this year.
Mistajay: where can people find your music?
Jamaal: My music is on all streaming platforms. Follow me on IG @JamaalMatters
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