WE CHAT TO JAY ROCK ON THE EVE OF HIS FIRST AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Words by Sharen Samson
Jay Rock refuses to be pigeonholed. His body of work ‘Redemption’ is a full course meal of raw energy, modern soundscapes and hard-hitting wordplay—and we’re all eating. The West Coast rapper has landed on our soil ready to begin his Australian and New Zealand fete ‘The Big Redemption Tour.’
Released in June 2018, Redemption is a two-time Grammy nominated album sitting high on the Billboard charts, seeing Jay Rock champion his formative years in Watts, Los Angeles, and his early days with Top Dawg Entertainment. The mini documentary series ‘Road to Redemption’ accompanies the album, dissecting the rapper’s roots and trailing the evolution of his lyricism.
Accolades must be granted to the heavyweight rapper’s time in the Nickerson Gardens projects, with a strong influence on Rock’s flow. From his first mixtape Watts Finest Vol. I to his third studio album Redemption, Jay Rock admits these times have stimulated his sound. Despite the rapper’s presence in the scene for several years now, he is firm on his originality. When asked about the change in his creative identity since his debut studio album Follow Me Home in 2011, he lightly jokes, “I’m still Johnny, I still got the same style, even though I’m trying to find myself. I don’t want people to put me in a box.”
And while Rock’s upbringing is identical to his sound, he explains that “it’s not just for people in the projects, but for those with a cold upbringing. It shows people a positive light.”
The album is a 13-track compilation of crisp lyricism. “It’s something like poetry. It’s me, straight to the point, not going over your head, steady,” Rock says, unfazed. South-West Sydney rapper B Wise has been steadily carving a name for himself everywhere from Hustle Hard Television to Elefant Traks, and following his huge ‘The Code (Remix)’ featuring Kerser and Manu Crooks, he’ll be joining Jay Rock on his trip.