Last weekend, AllHipHop was at Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn, New York checking out several artists’ performances. One of those noteworthy was from singer Jesse Boykins III. Although he used to be based in Brooklyn (now he’s in Los Angeles), this Afropunk was Boykins III’s first ever. With powerful vocals, a euphoric band, and an energized crowd, Boykins III made his performance a gem to many fans that day.
I happened to run into Jesse Boykins III after his set, and was able to have brief conversation. While we were able to talk about the expansion of Afropunk, we were also able to talk about his latest endeavors. It seems like Jesse Boykins III alternative image and the Afropunk culture are very similar, going back to the days when artists like him, Theophilus London, and Melo X were originators of the culture in the modern age. It made his performance special. “It’s like a reawakening in a sense”, says Boykins “Bring more awareness to like self expression, creativity and independence”. He paused, but then added “…and love for self..”.
2 months ago, Boykins released a new project titled Bartholomew and took his soulful sound to a new perspective. His first part of the project, or “wave” features production support from Hudson Mohawke, the Silence Killer, and Soulection producer, Abjo. Boykin structure behind Bartholomew is followed by a sincere motive. “I wanna make music with my friends” says Boykins. “[Hudson Mohawke] and I have been friends for a very long time. Abjo is a friend of mine as well, and the whole Soulection crew holds me down.” The second addition to Bartholomew is to be released in (very) near future, with a new interesting feature that will attract fans of Boykins as well as new listeners.
Boykins also talked about the influence of his musical mentor, Bilal. Boykins personally chose him the two formed a close friendship. “He taught me a lot of things such as how self knowledge and how self worth goes.” The two also did a lot of activities together like meditation, which Boykins III remembered Bilal’s statement:
When you inhale, you inhale the room. When you exhale, you become the room .
When you inhale, you inhale the world. When you exhale, you exhale God.
It took Boykins a while to understand the statement, according to the singer. But he soon found the meaning and holds it dearly to him. Even when listening to his music, you can see the how Bilal helped establish a soul singer for a new generation.
Expect Jesse Boykins III’s new addition to Bartholomew soon, and if you haven’t heard it, you need to now!