[INTERVIEW] On The Table: w/ Brooklynite Jay Mula by @DJLayneLuv
When Lil Kim yelled “Brooklyn! Home of the Greatest Rappers” on her song “Lighters Up” she had every reason to echo that chant with bravado. When your borough shows and proves with a roster like Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Shawn Corey Carter better known as Jay-Z, Mos Def to Talib Kweli, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes and last but not least Brooklyn’s Finest…The Notorious B.I.G. you start to realize real quick that Brooklyn carries a weight of its own when it comes to Hip Hop. But that doesn’t hold any pressure on the one they call Jay Mula’s shoulder’s…..he gladly accepts the challenge to rep his borough to the fullest.
About ten years ago, Eric Sermon of EPMD predicted in an interview that Hip Hop would eventually come full circle, and rappers would be happy to go gold again, and the artists would have to go back to building a personal relationship with its audience. Well, that prophecy couldn’t be truer in the age of social media. However, Jay Mula welcomes the grind. His day may consist of going to Power 105 for a 2:30 am an interview or an afternoon in-store signing, then off to making an appearance in Miami at a who’s who party. It’s a never ending quest to stay in the public eye and keep the music relevant. All that, while still talking that “Get Money” talk.
When I caught up with the 26-year-old rapper, (same age as Jay-Z was when he blew), we had a lot to talk about in regards to the new industry eco-system and survival tactics in this current digital age we’re in. I must say, his conversation was anything but stereotypical, and his humility was refreshing and respected.
Ladies and Gentleman…..Jay Mula.
OTT: So let’s just jump right in Jay. Pause. What’s it like for a rapper to come out of Brooklyn these days in the age of this 2nd wave of trap music? Are people more focused on the historical glory days or are they embracing Brooklyn’s new style?
JM: They’re definitely embracing the new style. To me, it’s no pressure because most of the culture realizes the greats you mentioned come from an era that will never be matched nor duplicated. However, there are gatekeepers out here that make sure the music sounds right, and we don’t sound crazy by talking reckless out here. At the same time, we keep the same theme going by having fun and picking the nicest beats to rhyme to. Music is in our blood, so it’s nothin.
OTT: Your borough has been associated with a lot of music talking about activities on the block, similar to trap music. You’ve got Young M.A., Bobby Shmurda (Hold ya head), Uncle Murda, Maino, and a number of a rappers are talkin that street talk and many of them for good reason because they are really about that life. Is that the climate in Brooklyn right now?
JM: Well let’s put it this way. When you offer a product to sell, you cater to your customers right? Well, we as block artists cater to our listeners. The messed up part about that is that for people that don’t loyally follow our movement, may only know us for one or two particulars songs, but we can have so many ways we come at this music man. We talk about love, the everyday struggle, family…..but the climate you speak of is not just a Brooklyn thing….crime is everywhere….and people like me speak on that through music. I make music for everyone, but when I step in that booth, I’m going to spit it based on how I’m feeling in the moment.
In my music I can say…..down the street, I’m cool with these crips…up the street I’m cool with these bloods, then over here…I know the credit card swipers but at the same time they just respect me for being me, and I don’t even have to have anything to do with what they are a part of. But I’ve just always been cool, went to a good school, had good people around me and in my ear guiding me, at the same time still witnessing and seeing everything.
OTT: Your music tracks sound real mature, why do you choose to rock with samples over trap beats?
JM: It’s all based on influence man. Like, I rock wit older dudes like Mr. Cheeks and other rappers that paved the way heavy, so being around guys like that, they will develop your ear that stretches beyond radio, beyond Top 40, and that’s just what comes out in the music. I don’t force it, man. Whatever flows… flows and that’s what my audience relates to. But for me personally, growing up I listened to classic groups like The Whispers, The Isley Brothers and Teddy P.…real talk that’s timeless music and a true artist draws from that.
OTT: Considering you have Puerto Rican roots, can any of that be found in your music?
JM: Yeah man, I mean Brooklyn is a melting pot, so on our block, you will hear Salsa, Merengue, Reggae and Reggaeton and it finds it’s way into our music somehow. Outside of New York people are amazed by it, but to us…it’s just something we do. Anybody that’s been to a Brooklyn block party knows what I’m talking about.
OTT: Do you have any new projects out?
JM: Right now I’m working on a project called Rockaway Ave. Because that’s where I’m from. Not to be confused with Rockaway Queens, it’s Rockaway Ave in Brooklyn. 11233 is what I rep. I got a number of artists that showed me love on this project. My LB fam no doubt Uncle Murda, Murda Mook, and Ron Brows is on it so I’m sure that people will definitely feel it. There’s no release date yet so have your people continue to follow me for the singles. And once it comes out, I just need y’all to push it real heavy.
OTT: Where can people follow your success?
JM: They can catch me on dat gram at @IamJayMula for all the latest thing going on with me. I’ll tell em where to go to download my mixtapes. A lot of dem joints are on Datpiff.com I really appreciate the platform Layne and give me your info, and I’ll send you these joints as well. Tell ya people to go on Youtube under Jay Mula to check out all my interviews and video too. Muuuuuula!