West Coast Rapper Jallal shares what he's learned from Yasiin Bey, Lupe Fiasco and Loon while discussing his latest projectUntold Truth
Mentored by the likes of hip hop luminaries such as Yasiin Bey, Lupe Fiasco and Grammy winning producer Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, West Coast rapper Jallal is destined to become a forerunner in the realm of rap music. With his highly anticipated upcoming album Untold Truth, it’s apparent that Jallal is strategically positioned to reach the highest levels of success in the music business.
Allhiphop sat down with the rising Los Angeles rapper to discuss everything from freestyling with Yasiin Bey over John Coltrane, having one of Black Panther's bodyguards in his music video and why he initially didn't call Lupe Fiasco back.
How did growing up in the City of Angels influence your view of hip hop? Who are some of your favorite west coast rappers?
The city just lives and breathes hip hop. West Coast Baby! The city itself has its own rhythm, and its own sound. There are dark spots in the city which brings you to a deep dark emotional place and then there’s the beach and palm trees that gives you an overall happier feel. Some of my favorite west coast rappers would have to be Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Nipsey Hustle the list goes on. All the rappers from LA have their own specific style. Some days I'll be cruising down the 101 blasting YG, and other days I'm on the 405 bumping Snoop. LA definitely holds it down heavy when it comes to good hip hop, I am definitely spoiled.
Your mother introduced you to jazz greats like John Coltrane, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. How did they influence your sound or understanding of music?
Jazz is all about rhythm. Music needs that bounce it needs that rhythm, and your all good to go. I was driving around LA with Mos Def one day and we were just free styling to John Coltrane’s : A Love Supreme album. We freestyled the whole 32 minutes. Jazz is fun like that, you get carried away in the groove. For me it feels as if time is at a standstill and all you hear is the tenor sax on one side, the piano carrying it and the double bass giving you that feel in your gut. Jazz is just so natural and relaxing.
Tell us how Islam influences your music?
Islam keeps me honest, and that is one of the main principles of Islam amongst many other things. It makes me think before I spit something on a record. I want to tell the truth at all times, I do not want people to be led astray. I don’t want to be a negative influence on a generation of youth that's growing up so quickly and so fast. Kids nowadays are like a roller coaster without breaks. I’m one of them so I understand. Islam gives me purpose for living. It gives me balance and insight. It makes me admire the true meaning of wisdom. With that said it influences me to be the best person I can possibly be. So with music I got to put the best out. I got to put out what is right and most importantly what is dope.
You met Loon at an early age, what did he teach you about the music business?
He taught me that competition is an understatement. He told me Diddy would go days without sleeping. To me that says it all. The music business is one of the toughest industries to make it in. You really have to be strong and have a lot of will power to succeed. Those are some things that I’m naturally good at, but we all need to work on ourselves to be the best version we can possibly try and get to before anything. He taught me that its all about the hustle. I'm a natural born hustler. I've been this way since I can remember.
We heard Lupe caught you freestyling one time, gave you his number and you never called. Tell us what happened?
He is Lupe Fiasco, in my opinion he’s up there with the best lyricists of our time. I revere him and have mad respect for him, so after he gave me his number I did not want to make any sudden moves until I felt that it was right. When I was free styling that day, and I seen him come up behind me fist pumping. I stopped, but he yelled out keep going. So I did that. When I was done he grabbed the mic and said I reminded him of himself when he was younger. As a young kid that meant the world to me. To have props from the rapper I looked up to. It still gives me goose bumps every time I tell the story. It was so surreal. It was all Gods doing. You can’t plan that kind of stuff.
Your last mixtape "Off the Radar" featured a whose who in entertainment like Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Ne-Yo, T-Pain and Lil Wayne, and two tracks produced by Chad Hug of the Neptunes, how did you link up with them?
I give it all to God. It was by Gods design. Those artists to me are some of the greatest to ever do it. Period.
Tell us about the new album "Untold Truth" and what made you decide to do a solo album with no guest artists? What can we expect from this project?
“Untold Truth” is my autobiography. After listening to it, you will definitely have a good idea of who I am. My next music video coming out from the project is about to drop very soon. The title of the music video is called “The Heat”, its an ode to everyone in the music business and on the outside asking me to come with that heat. Well this is for you guys, but I do it for me first. Always. Oh and there might be a few guests, you’ll have to wait and see God willing.
What was the impetus to write "Without Drake, Mos Def and Lupe" ? Did you know it would take off the way it did?
I just woke up one morning and it came to me. Whets funny is the song title threw people off, they thought it was a diss to Drake, Mos Def, and Lupe, but its not . Actually without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. They paved a road for artists like myself to come in and kill the game. No I didn’t, but I'm happy that it did take off in the way it did.
Can you share any life/music lessons you've learned from Yasiin Bey?
Of course. Be true to who you are and never compromise your beliefs. Yasiin is a very complex and wise individual. When it comes to life lessons he always tells me to follow my heart and the signs God gives me. To pray, stay steadfast and the rest will figure itself out. His wise counsel has been invaluable to me and I treasure it beyond measure.
What inspired the new single "The Truth"? We hear there is a cast member from Black Panther who makes a surprise appearance in the video how did that come about?
What inspired my single “The Truth” was waking up feeling like absolute trash, I felt like I was down and out. Yes. Carrie Bernans is in the video. She’s part of the all woman warrior group Dora Milaje, the personal bodyguards of King T’Challa. She is an absolute fan of my music, and I am a big fan of her so the rest was easy. I was like yo I’m shooting this music video she was like bet lets get it. Pretty iconic, because Black Panther is definitely one of my favorite movies.
How did you hook up with producers DJ Moza and Killa J? and why did you decide to use them for your latest project?
DJ MOZA and I hooked up here in Los Angeles, he first reached out through my Facebook page and showed love for my music. He wanted to work with me on music. After my DJ at the time left to pursue other ventures, the position was open and thats when he became DJ MOZA. I decided to use DJ MOZA on this project because of his production work on Off The Radar, and his production on the single Rocky featuring Rick Ross.
As for Killa J he is a producer I've looked up to since I was 15 years of age. He and I hooked up 2 years ago when I came in to lay a verse for a project, and to my surprise he was working on the same exact project. Kills J understands me and most importantly understands my music. It just fits, I’m truly blessed and thankful to have him be a part of my life and my career.
What's next for you?
Next up is the music video release for my third single "The Heat". The song is a response record to the record labels and the people who never believed in me. I was always told, ‘Yo, come with the heat!’ I can't wait for fans to hear it and see the video.
Music Video "The Truth"