There is a new musical movement rising from the city of Atlanta. The past two years saw the explosion of rapper K Camp with hits such as “Money Baby,” “Cut Her Off,” and “Comfortable,” and the 2015 XXL Freshman is bringing his SlumLords crew along with him as he infiltrates radio dials nationwide.
One of those Slum representatives is R&B vocalist Damar Jackson. The Louisiana born singer-songwriter worked on Camp’s Gold certified “Comfortable” along with producer Big Fruit. The saxophone player/drummer appears on the One Way cut “Stack Of Ones” as well.
Jackson has also released his own tracks such as the Baby Boy sampling “Crazy” which has already totaled over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud. In addition, his catalog includes the Joker Too Cold collaboration “Shoot Up The Club” and a remix of Johnny Cinco’s “Understand Me.”
The self-described “lab rat” has logged in countless hours in the studio creating new tunes, and Damar is planning to start off 2016 with a solo EP. Following that, listeners can look to Jackson, K Camp, Big Fruit, Joker Too Cold, Sy Ari Da Kid, DJ Genius, and the rest of the SlumLords to continue their run of taking over the ATL and beyond.
In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop.com, Damar Jackson discusses working with Camp and longtime production partner Big Fruit. Louisianans' current run in R&B and the DeRidder native's future moves are also part of the conversation. Get familiar with the up-and-coming FTE recording artist.
Can you talk about where you grew up?
I grew up in DeRidder, Louisiana. It’s a small town by Lake Charles off of I-10. New Orleans is a city everybody knows about in Louisiana, but I’m from a different part. It’s a whole different side of the Earth even though it’s the same state.
We got the same lingo, but we got Zydeco music which is a French Creole, Cajun sound mixed with Blues. New Orleans has Bounce music. I was heavily influenced by a lot of stuff.
Louisiana is a state full of music. I was raised in it. Some of my best friends were gangstas, but they were in the band growing up. That’s just how we live.
You have instrumental experience. How does having that background impact you as a singer?
It impacts me a lot. I produce a lot of records for Camp with my production partner Big Fruit. It helps me on the production side to understand placement sonically. We’re trying to out work other people by out thinking them, seeing what makes people feel a certain type of way melody wise and being able to understand how I can make people feel some type of way emotionally.
On the artist side, now I know what to sing as far as tone and how to relay that. It works out perfectly, similarly to a string instrument or playing a horn.
Do you also write for other artists?
I actually do. I wrote the hook on Nyemiah Supreme’s “No Questions.” I wrote “What It Takes Like?” for Nyemiah Supreme too. I’m on the end of [K Camp’s] “Marilyn Monroe.” We’ve been in a lot of sessions for other artists - me, Camp, and Big Fruit. We’ve been writing for a lot of people, but none of the records have come out.
How did you first connect with Camp?
I connected with Camp in 2010. We’ve been rocking ever since. I met Camp through a mutual friend Donald. Donald was always with me, J.R. - my CEO - and Fruit. We all lived in a house downtown, and he’d see me working in the studio. He would say, “You really gotta holla at my boy Camp. He’s really about to pop. I know y’all could make some crazy music.”
I’m in Club Miami by myself, and Camp walks up to me. He says, “Bro, my dog Donald told me about you. We got to work.” I took his number. After that Donald brought Camp to us. Now we’re signed on the same label FTE. Ever since then we’ve been rocking, before “Money Baby.” Every move, we’re together.
Louisiana R&B has blown up the last few years with Frank Ocean and August Alsina. What are your thoughts about the R&B scene in Louisiana now?
To be honest, around 2010 I moved to Atlanta. But before then, I was the biggest R&B artist in Louisiana. August was staying in Houston, and I don’t think Frank Ocean was in New Orleans like that. He was in LA. Regardless, they claimed the city, and we needed that.
Right now, I feel like it’s an opportunity, because they helped to open the door for more R&B artists. So I appreciate what they’re doing. Some people are inspired by other people, so I’m just excited for them. I hope they keep it going.
The music scene [in Louisiana] is actually crazy. Before those two, there wasn’t really any R&B artists from Louisiana besides my homeboy Cupid who had the “Cupid Shuffle” record. It did very well. Besides him, you got Luke James. He’s from New Orleans too. Shout out to Luke James.
You have an EP coming. What about releasing a full album or a mixtape?
The EP is going to be seven songs. I’ve been waiting for so long that I have two albums already done. I have to go through my music and see what we’re going to use. We have so much music. Every time me and Camp record, I put something to the side. I feel like it’s about timing.
Do you feel like your single “Crazy” is starting to get a lot of buzz?
It is. I’m surprised. It has taken off on Soundcloud. When I performed it at Campsgiving, people were singing the words. Every now and then, people hit me up and say “they’re playing it here.” I’ve seen the numbers, but I also feel the energy when I perform it. I’m going to continue to push it, because every time I perform it people never forget it. I got to keep working the record, because I believe in it.
I think that may be because the content of the song is relatable for men and women. A lot of people have been in that type of relationship.
I relate my music to real life. That's why I had to get rid of my YouTube, because I didn’t tell people who I really am. I was just doing these covers that don’t really tell who Damar is. I’m really a funny guy from a small town in Louisiana.
I don’t want to manipulate people to think this is how R&B is supposed to be. You can be whoever you want to be. If I want to curse in my song, say my girl’s crazy and she got some good… whatever - that’s how it really is with me. I’m just glad that people are rocking with it.
Purchase Damar Jackson’s music on iTunes.