Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome strives to prove himself as a rapper. The 26-year-old actor discussed his music aspirations and high standards for rapping in a sit-down with AllHipHop’s Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur.
“As an actor, I think I do work that is pretty strong, some pretty heavy-hitting stuff,” Jerome told AllHipHop. “So, I knew when I wanted to be an artist, I had to meet that caliber somehow. And I think meeting that caliber requires really thinking about what you write and what you say. I could, right now, go in the studio and for 15 minutes, come up with four songs and say whatever the hell I want to say. And it’s going to go, I think. It’ll be a vibe. I think my voice will sound cool, and the beat was hot, and ‘Hey, this is it.’ But for me, I’ve been blessed to be in the industry in a way of, ‘Well, the work is important.’ So, for me, the music has to be important.”
He continued, “My mentality when it comes to a record, even if I want to dumb the record down a little bit, I want to make sure there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. And that there’s some sort of story or some sort of message. I think that’s so critical. And the only problem is it’s hard.”
The star of Amazon Prime Video’s I’m a Virgo traced his reverence for storytelling rap to the legendary Slick Rick. Jerome said Slick Rick’s “Mona Lisa” was the first song the actor/rapper fell in love with as a Hip-Hop fan.
Jerome hopes to create his own songs capable of leaving a lasting impression on listeners. He intends to accomplish his goal with tremendous effort and craftsmanship.
“I write, I’ll sit there for hours,” he said. “I sit there for hours trying to figure it out. I’ll record it, it don’t work, move on, try again. I care about the wordplay. I got to say something funny, I got to try to figure it out. And I’m only trying to get better. That’s why I’m excited right now. I am the best I’ve ever been and the worst I’ve ever been at the same time. I am sharp, but I still got so much left to learn.”
He added, “So, right now, I’m putting the music out, not for the streams, not for the ‘Look, I’m the next Drake. Give me the Billboard plays.’ I’m not here for that, I’m here for the respect … I’m here to implant that in people’s minds. And then I think that’ll open up doors for me to work with people who can teach me more and bring me more into this game.”
Check out AllHipHop’s conversation with Jerome below.