For ten years, Jayo Felony has been San Diegos fire-starter. As one of Def Jams first California artists, he dazzled a cult audience with his delicate wordplay and driving delivery. As respect was divyed to some of his peers, Jayo developed a heavy chip on his shoulder. This attitude brought about Bullet Locos fierce criticism of Jay-Z, Daz Dillingers abilities, and even Snoops street reputation. As the records got harder, the profile faded, and Jayo laid lower than ever.
Almost five years later, Jayos back and coming out with his hands up. The MC wants to reclaim his lyrical crowns, and put the diss records to bed. In a discussion over these changes, Jayo talks his new record In The Trenches , declares his vendetta on anybody who can rap, plus calls out his new enemy the New York conglomerates that want him out.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your new peaceful outlook in relation to Snoops organization of the West Coast late last month?
Jayo: It had a lot to do with that. The bottom line is, Snoop is a motherf**ker thats not caring what everybody else thinks. For him to go in front of everybody and the whole world, that he dont got beef with me, Kurupt, and Suge. Its definitely a positive step towards the future. The Dogg Pound is back together. All the problems that me and Snoop had are squashed. Its just time to get this money and have fun like the rest of the world is doing.
AllHipHop.com: You were the bad guy to a lot of people. It takes a lot of manhood, on your part, to speak on an agreement that he initiated.
Jayo: Basically, me and Snoop was gonna holla a couple years ago to get passed our differences. But some things happened with his camp, with people I was close to and fell out with them. Its just been up in the air. Its all of us being bigger men than the bulls**t we dissin each other for. The thing is, its just a step for positive. Already that Im on his page, Im seeing a lot of doors open to me. Im one of the main motherf**kers thats gonna benefit other than Kurupt. We two of the tightest rappers out here and motherf**kers been cuttin us out of the limelight because of our associations. Now with me, motherf**kers hate on me because Im not from the Dogg Pound or Death Row. Im always in the middle of the talk.
AllHipHop.com: What doors have opened, specifically?
Jayo: Theres a whole bunch of funny ass politics in this game, man. Im getting movie offers, Ive got a label now.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned being affiliated with Kurupt and Suge. I know you were spending a lot of time in the studios at Tha Row. What was happening?
Jayo: The bottom line when Kurupt didnt have the Snoops and the Dogg Pound and all that, it seemed like not to go all back into it that mothaf**kers was dissin me just because I was f**kin with Kurupt. Regardless of all that, I still got a deal with Universal. Im back in the game.
AllHipHop.com: Now you, Kurupt, and Prodigy dropped some mixtape material as The Riflemen, whats going on with that?
Jayo: The Riflemen is definitely going down. When it goes, a lot of motherf**kers is in trouble because theres not too many groups thats like that. We got a bond. We just working through the red tape to make it official. This whole thing made it a lot easier.
AllHipHop.com: Theres plenty of people who will not believe in this olive branch, or that itll last. Tell me why it will, sincerely.
Jayo: It has to last for us to even exist. To make it happen and make it real, if everybodys eatin and benefittin off this music, they gonna continue to cut us out of the circle of the industry. They fear us. Everybody in the industry is portraying our way of life. Its a Catch 22. Everybody got in they mouth, Awe, the West Coast fell off. In all reality, you wont see one East Coast motherf**kin artist without a palm tree in their video, or a t-shirt, or a lowrider. Dont say we played out!
AllHipHop.com: Are you saying people are at fault though?
Jayo: Its not the peoples fault at all. Its the corporations and the politics that be. Motherf**kas are pullin these strings. When they see Suge and Pac start riding and getting money and puttin it back like its supposed to be. Pac started talkin like, If all these mothaf**kas that buyin my records run out and vote for me, we can throw these mothaf**kas out of power! Once mothaf**kas start talking like that, them crackers is like, Hell no. We about to shut this s**t down. We gonna keep lettin these mothaf**kas in the game that arent a threat, thats not tryin to be political, they just want to get they money, drop a d**k out they ass, and keep pushin. What comes around, goes around. People are tired of that fake ass Gangsta Rap. Its time for real motherf**kers to surface. We have nothing to grasp on to.
AllHipHop.com: With this moment of clarity, for lack of a better term, how do you look at an album like Crip Hop where you had so much poison for Jay-Z and all the negativity?
Jayo: At that point in time, I was going up against a lot of politics. The artists I was dissing was on a political level. The buyers of music were actually telling me that if I put these [diss] records on my album, then they were only going to buy certain amount of numbers. You see the dilemma? I wasnt going against another rapper. I was going at a whole corporation. When I was beefin with Jay-Z and they was playin Trud Up, Def Jam would call the radio station and say, If you keep playing that record, were gonna pull all our artists from your station. I knew all that, and I still went up against it!
AllHipHop.com: So no regrets?
Jayo: Not at all. I spoke my mind. I still sold damn near 50,000 records on an album that had no promotion at all. At the end of the day, it probably sold over 100,000 because the f**kin label I was signed to, wack ass AMC, actually bootlegged my own record. At the end of the day, I spoke my mind the streets loved it, and Im back on a major label. The album I got now is a new ballgame, not me gettin and frustrated.
AllHipHop.com: Jimmy Henchmen was very instrumental to the last record. You still rollin with him?
Jayo: We go back. He was the one who gave Trud Up life. He pushed it, and got it played in New York, and had me doing HBO s**t and lotsa other s**t. He fell out with a lot of motherf**kas that he was cool with, because of that record. He still pushed. Its much respect and love for that. Ill never forget it. He kept my name out without a deal.
AllHipHop.com: Artistically and personally, how have you spent the last four years?
Jayo: Studyin the music game, studyin the rappers that the world thinks are best. I read a lot, I study a lot. At this point in my career, I feel like it aint too many artists that can compete with me. I didnt fall off like people think. Just cause Im not in the public eye, dont mean Im not working at my craft. Now that Im back, Im ten times better.
AllHipHop.com: What are you reading?
Jayo: Man, I read a lot of books. I dont wanna scare the s**t out of nobody.
AllHipHop.com: Very little known fact Jam Master Jay helped your career immensely. Arguably, he discovered you. Tell about that.
Jayo: He was a good person. He taught me it a lot. Me and dude was real tight. On my first album, he made a lot of the tracks with my boy, T-Funk and showed me how to make songs like he did with 50 Cent. Jay had a good ear for music. He was the core for Run-DMC. To be able to be discovered by Jay, he really believed in you to go take you to Russell Simmons or put you on The Show Soundtrack, he really believed I had skills. He looked past all my [gangster lyrics] to peep the flow out.
AllHipHop.com: Thats a good example for what A&Rs need today. They need to get past what were used to.
Jayo: Yeah man, but the tables are gonna turn. Because when I was with Jam Master Jay, we used to be at the studio [all day]. Hed sick me on every n***a that thought they could rap in New York. Whatever dude thought he could rap, I would s**t on them! Its gonna happen again. Im about to go back to New York and s**t on every motherf**ker I see! Whoever think they can f**k with Jayo Felony, bring it to the table! You think you battle rapper? Show me any cypha or circle, Ill destroy all of them. Im gonna do it.
AllHipHop.com: Lets keep it gully. Ten years ago give me a name of somebody you served.
Jayo: It wasnt nobody around that was famous. It was lil motherf**kas like Joe Sinista [later known as Mista Sinista, formely of Xecutionerz]. The cats tryin to get deals.
AllHipHop.com: You reminding me of the intro on the first Westside Connection record though. We got a big New York audience. When you gonna be there next so rappers can get a shot at you?
Jayo: Right now, I dont know the next time Ill be performing. But Ill be up there heatin up the streets. The thing I love about New York is, if you know how to Rap, they dont give a f**k where you from. They the creators of this s**t. When I go out there, Im going out with all my [lyrical] guns cocked and ready.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me some details about the album to close.
Jayo: Me and Scott Storch is working together on a couple records. One of the records will feature Game and Snoop. The other, we tryin to get T.I. and Yo-Yo on it. Its definitely a big project. Im looking forward to it. The outcome will be ridiculous.