New York rapper Jay-Z released the Black Album in 2003. Slated as his retirement album at the time, hip hop and music fans alike were left wondering what had brought this abrupt ending and “what would happen next?” As a result the hip hop community gave Hova (Jay-Z’s other alias) an early induction into the Rap Hall of Fame as one of the GOATs (Greatest of All Time).
On our side of the world, we have another rapper, “J”, in the form of JahMaine who released his maiden project entitled Black. Unlike his American contemporary, Jahmaine‘s aim with this “coloured” title would be to mark his genesis in the game to epic status. Particularly, as both rappers‘ names refer to deities (though loosely on Jay-Z‘s part), which would signify destiny in the mark that the colour black ultimately meant the continuation of making music. As the saying goes; an artist’s job is never done! We spoke to JahMaine about his musical origins, the making of the Black project, his opinion of the local music industry and what he considers as “good music” (another Jay and Rocafella music link)!
Lavatory Records : Who is JahMaine and is that your real name?
JahMaine: JahMaine is a dude from Central Western Jabavu (CWJ), in Soweto. A rapper and a person who loves Hip Hop… Nah JahMaine is not my real name.
LR: How did you get started in music as a career?
JahMaine: It started in primary school when we had to write a song about AIDS. Since then I would I would just write in my spare time and that’s how I developed the hobby. Later on I met Simz, Kid Mac & Yung Lee, we then formed our own crew, Young Blood, and Kid Mac was our producer. Along the road the crew failed but apart from that the experience was fantastic. We then formed another crew comprised of myself, Simz, Kid West Raiders (who was a producer) and Payne (who was also a producer and an artist). We called ourselves Wardse7en. That also fell apart. Soon after I met Sketro and we worked together up until we joined “Crè City Music”… and that’s when the love of music grew stronger
LR: What style of music do you do?
JahMaine: I’m a Rap artist. I like to describe my sound as “good music”. In most of my songs I tell a story so that even if the song is recorded on a trap beat, there’ll be that certain thing that will keep you chained to the song! So that’s the reason why I call my sound “good music”...
LR: Which artists do you consider as your musical influences and why?
JahMaine: Meek Mill, Drake, Big Sean, Xavier Ömar, Sy ari da kid, Phora, J Cole & 6lack. The list is long but these are the first artists that I would mention anytime I get this question. The reason why I listen to these artists is because they tell stories I can relate to and the things that they mention in their songs, are things that happen in our everyday life and that for me is Hip Hop.
LR : In your opinion what are the advantages and disadvantages of the South African music industry?
JahMaine: The SA music industry has grown and that I can say is an advantage cause now our Hip Hop is getting recognised in other countries. Musicians from other countries are into our African sound and that is an advantage for every artist in SA. Our Nation is also out there shining bright..
Disadvantage: Aight. On the disadvantages I don’t have much to say but one thing that is a disadvantage for the SA music industry is “piracy”, which is really damaging and destroying our artists.
LR: Your latest project is titled Black. What was the recording process like and what can people expect from it?
JahMaine: The recording process was extremely complicated that it took me two years to record a mixtape of 5 tracks, because I had problems with equipment and beats. Some songs were recorded but left unmastered until I told myself that I will get my things together and actually record my mixtape. I finally did and the tape is fire . I have worked with different producers such as Eli Sketro, Yung Lotha & Mac Flex and on the tracks I have worked with Kay Jay a song we did is Called “Born For This”. I have also worked with Radical Chief on a song called “Sum More”, so working on the tape was fun and thrilling. The tape is Good and I know for sure people will like it!
LR: Which artists would you like to work with on your next project if the resources were available?
JahMaine: I would like to collaborate with Drake & Sy ari da kid. I am more into USA hip hop rather than SA hip hop.
LR: What are your other interests away from music?
JahMaine: I would say acting and advertising. As I always say to my n****s that the day the numbers come along, I will make sure I get that qualification and kill the big screens one more time.
LR: Do you have anything else lined up that you’d like people to know about?
JahMaine: Well yeah. Definitely. I have a few singles coming and another mixtape which is called “Come Alive”. The tape is already recorded and almost ready to hit the world! The release date is not yet confirmed but yeah a lot is coming from me, food for ears!
LR: Anybody you wanna shout out?
JahMaine: I wanna send shoutouts to my team “Crè city entertainment”, Mac Flex, PurvGang, Lavatory Records & my homie Sihle, who’s been checking out my music and everyone who digs my stuff and show love to me…
The love and support is much appreciated.