JyellowL

Wise beyond his years, Irish hip-hop finally gets the intelligent voice it deserves.

 

Photographed for State's Faces by Leah Carroll

Tell us a bit about your background...

My background is so diverse and it’s because of that multiplicity, being able to have experienced so many different cultures, I have an informed perspective on certain socio-cultural phenomena. I’m an Irish Nigerian Jamaican, born and raised in Nigeria and England by my dad and grandparents who are Nigerian and Jamaican Irish. I then came here to spend the latter stages of my childhood with my mum and my stepdad. Growing up with my grandparents really helped me mentally develop at a very fast pace, made me a lot wiser and philosophical in my thinking and gave me a much more expansive understanding of the world than I gained even through school. In Nigeria we have this saying that goes; what an old person can see, even if a young person stood on top of the highest building they cannot see it with such clarity.  

 

Who or what inspired you to start making music?

I come from such a musical home and I would say the person who inspired me to start making music was actually my Dad. I would also credit the effusiveness of my musical ear to him also. Growing up he would wake my brother and I up to the soulful sounds of shalamar and Fela Kuti blaring out of the stereos. From hearing the likes of Fela, Earth, Wind and Fire, James Brown, Damien Jr. Gong Marley, Tupac, Eminem etc. I fell in love with music as a whole, music as entertainment, music as a form of expression and music as a vehicle to deliver a message. I realised the depth and the power of music at a very young age and that was what inspired me to start making music.

 

Was tackling important issues in your lyrics always important?

I’ve always been very responsive to things around and very quick to voice my opinion on issues to whoever is willing to listen to me rant, or not in most cases, and making music is my reflex action so whatever incites passion in me I translate it to music. Like I said, there is power in music. Music gives you the opportunity to communicate to the masses directly so I feel like it’s my duty to use that platform to create awareness on issues that are overlooked or passively consumed. With the slave trade going on in Libya at the moment how can I go to the studio and record a song about popping bottles in the club?

 

Is there enough of that in Irish hip-hop?

Everyone has their own view of music, some people just enjoy making music others can dance to while some like myself enjoy how liberating it is when you can encrypt your song with messages and metaphors that are open to interpretation or be blatantly uncensored with your point. The point is you should do what feels right for you.

 

What are your plans for 2018?

Total world domination if I don’t get rightfully chosen as King of the World.