Blessed with a resilient spirit, Jay Rock’s sense of self-worth has never mirrored the deteriorated conditions of his Nickerson Gardens projects. They confined this Bloods’ youth. His emphatic voice rings true to many who have endured similar living conditions. The controlled angst which kneads his voice, whispers of witnessing death, arrested development and hope. With this hope combined with Jay’s natural gift of rhyme, and ruthless work-ethic, Hip-Hop entrusts its sound into his very capable hands. Reinforcing the legacy of the left-coast, this New West MC is at the precipice of lyrical acclaim and adoration. Will Jay Rock solidify his presence in Hip-Hop’s Hall of Fame? Only time possesses the answer. However, right now, is when Jay Rock will reveal which five MCs are among his personal, Top 5 Dead Or Alive! We have a section called, Top 5 Dead Or Alive, now according to Jay Rock, which MCs make your list?


Jay Rock: I got to say Tupac— Tell me why you chose Tupac; why is he at the top?

Jay Rock: Why Tupac, why is he at the top; because he is my number one rapper! That’s all I used to listen to. I mean, ‘Pac, he was real. Plus, he says what the f*** he wanted to say! And he didn’t give a f*** who had something to say about it. You know what I’m saying? Do you have a favorite verse by him?

Jay Rock: My favorite verse is [begins reciting verse from “High Speed”] “…I live high speed / slightly disillusioned by weed / I breed thug muthaf***as even worse than me / when I bleed my enemies best to flee quickly, on me / My army, ni**az deceive swiftly …” You don’t remember that song? Not even a little bit.

Jay Rock: It’s all good. Then there’s another one. He had did a song with DJ Quik; that was crazy. It’s called in the “Late Night.” That was one of my favorite records, too. You know, so shout to Quik! Yeah, ‘Pac, he’s my number one right there!

SCARFACE And the next MC would be?

Jay Rock: Number two, I gotta say—I like Scarface! You feel me, Scarface is the one! I used to listen to Scarface! Man, he goes in; shout out to Scarface! I love you for that! He had me feeling long-faced when he was talking about retiring. But, what exactly is it about ‘Face—his overall delivery, the depth of his lyrics—

Jay Rock: It’s him! Just all around, his lyrics, he’s straight gutter/ghetto; he speaks from the heart. Every time he says what the f*** he feels; he’s real! You know what I’m saying, I like hearing that real s***, that real business. And Scarface is just that, real! I don’t know why, Scarface, doesn’t get mentioned in a lot of s***; but, he’s in my Top 5! He’s number two; straight up. Earlier this year he released, Dopeman Music, you got that s***?

Jay Rock: What, do I got it? This is the Dopman music! …It’s pitiful, how they got me doing time / for a crime that I ain’t never committed / the bottom line is I’m a black man / so my S-K-I-N is my S-I-N / and unless I win / I’ll be headed to a cell in the pen…[from “The Ghetto Report”]

Jay Rock: What, do I got that s***? I got that on repeat, man. This that Dopeman music that gets everybody high! Yeah, I know about that.

NAS Okay, and after Mr. Scarface, who’s number three?

Jay Rock: After Scarface, I gotta say, Nas. I like Nas. Nas, he goes in! He’s like a project poet; he represents the projects. When he spits his stories are so vivid. He is a poet and he paints a real picture. When he raps his lyrics, I can see the whole picture. He’s a real project poet. Have you had the opportunity to meet him?

Jay Rock: Nah, I ain’t never met him. But, I ran across him a couple of times. I’ve seen one of his shows, but I never met him. On that album with him and Damian Marley [Distant Relatives], he gave a shout out to my neighborhood [Nickerson Gardens in Watts, Los Angeles, CA]. I would like to thank Nas for that, straight up.

NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Who follows Nas?

Jay Rock: I would have to say, Biggie Smalls. Yeah, I love Biggie. He had that swag with him. He brought that swag when he rapped; especially, because he was a ladies man. When he rapped that s***, I liked [it]. That s*** go hard, you feel me. Which album by him did you prefer?

Jay Rock: I like the Ready to Die album. That album right there is real crazy. That’s the one right there, straight up.

BUSTA RHYMES Now, rounding it off, who is number five and why?

Jay Rock: Man, number five of my Top 5, I would have to say, my boy, Busta Rhymes. On some real s*** though, if it wasn’t for Busta, I wouldn’t even be rapping right now. Busta, really made me want to be a rapper, for real. On some real s***; because, Busta, brought that crazy delivery and that crazy new style. I did some research. I didn’t know that back in the day he was with Leaders of the New School and with A Tribe Called Quest—Native Tongue. You know, I had to do my homework and watch that [movement].

Busta, he’s the one, straight up! His delivery is crazy. When he came out with that,

“…hit you with no delayin’, so what you saying, yo / silly with your ice grilly what the deally- yo / when I be on the mic yes, I do my duty, yo / wild up in the club like we wildin’ in the studio / you don’t want to violate, baby / really and truly-o / my main thug villain named, Julio / he moody, yo / type of brotha that will slap you with the toolly, yo…” The way he spit—I got the chance to really meet him—and he said that’s how they talk. They way he was spitting, that’s how they used to talk. I was like, that’s crazy. Butsa Rhymes, that’s the one!

The Sidebar Is there anything that we need to look out for?

Jay Rock: Yeah,, look out for Jay Rock’s Follow Me Home, coming soon. Over the years of my career, I appreciate the love and support from! Straight up, man; I love y’all.