It had been a minute since the hip-hop world had heard from Jay Rock so XXL got him on the phone to talk about the new project, making quality music and chasing after Grammys. In now-classic TDE fashion, Jay Rock has been keeping things under wraps for a reason. —Miranda Johnson
Jay Rock: Music, music, music, baby. That’s all. Just rebuilding, that’s all I’ve been doing.
How are you expressing the growth on your new songs?
Basically, just trying to reconnect with my family, which is the fans. Just getting back in touch with them. I haven’t dropped an album in three years. Getting back in touch with the family and giving them that Rock. It’s been a long time that they’ve been waiting so it’s about that time for me to give them what they want.
Top Dawg said that you were up next [after Ab-Soul]. Are you releasing a project this year?
When can we expect it?
It’s going to be real soon. I don’t want to give it a date right now. It’s best to just wait on the CEO, Top Dawg. Anything can change during the process, but it’s coming for sure. I’m just working and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.
Why did you wait three years to drop your second project?
Business, stuff going on with the business side. I just had to sit back and stay in the game a little bit more. It’s the rebuilding process for the Rock. I’ve been hearing what a lot of people been doing and what a lot of people been putting out musically, I’ve been listening. I’ve been just reconstructing my craft, that’s all.
I’m the OG of the crew. I’m the oldest out of everybody in the camp. I’m the OG, the big brother, and the enforcer. You can say that’s my role.
Do you find a lot of TDE coming to you for advice?
I mean, yeah, but we all look to each other for advice. If there’s something that we’ve got questions on, we always ask each other. I might go to ScHoolboy Q for advice or Q might ask me. That’s how we operate. We look up to each other.
You told us recently that the TDE crew is looking for Grammys. What was the camp’s initial feeling when Kendrick got snubbed this year?
It’s all good at the end of the day. We’ll get 'em next time. Everybody knows what it was with that. Kendrick, he worked hard to get there and I’m sure next year it’s going to be even crazier. If something happens again, then you know what time it is. We ain’t even going to speak on it, just going to keep grinding.
How do you feel when people compare TDE to Snoop and Dre and Death Row?
I appreciate the comments but we want to be the ones to step out; we want y’all to start comparing people to us. We love the compliments because we studied them when they were on their come up. I think it’s just back then they made that good quality music; you could tell they weren’t just putting out anything. On records they took their time and made a masterpiece. That’s what we’re doing. We just take our time with it 'cause it’s our art.
[Laughs] I mean, we never left baby! We been here. A lot of rappers were influenced off the West Coast, even from the East. It started off in the East but a lot of them were influenced by West Coast rappers. That’s what I’m going to start pushing now-a-days. The West, we ain’t back. We’ve been here, we ain’t never left. We just got the torch, passed down from the older homies and now we’re giving it to the young niggas. Just going to keep that good quality music going.
Now, I need you to tell me a bit more about this album. Who are some of the producers on the album?
I’ve been working with a lot of different producers. I’ve been working with my in-house producers, Sounwave, Tae Beast, Willy B. and a lot of other producers. There’s this producer from New Zealand I’ve been working with. A lot of people have been sending me beats, I’ve just been getting it in. With my day one producers too. Some producers that were on the first album, they still in there. It’s coming along real nice.
Do you have a concept yet?
Yeah, I’ve got a concept. I don’t really want to go too in-depth. I want it to be something special when it drops.
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