The Come Up: Jay 305 Is Finally Ready to Make His Proper Debut
Can you believe it's been five years since South Central, Los Angeles rapper Jay 305 dropped “Youzza Flip?” The regional anthem became a national hit and was supposed to plant Jay as a central figure of the new West Coast movement alongside ScHoolboy Q, YG, Ty Dolla $ign and Vince Staples, among others. But everything went sideways.
305, born Jay Cummins, turned himself in for a gun charge at the height of popularity for “Youzza Flip?” and from 2013 to 2014, he was in jail. Just like that, his momentum was cut short. While he was behind bars, the record got remixed by big names like Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and fellow West Coast native YG.
After being released in February of 2014, Jay 305 put all his focus into music. By the end of that year, he signed to Dom Kennedy's Other People’s Money and Interscope Records and the following year, he dropped his Inner City Hero project. Then he announced his debut album, Taking All Bets.
The album took two years to make. His first single from the LP, “Yuck It Up,” dropped last year with an accompanying music video. He followed that up with “When You Say” featuring Omarion. His promo for his upcoming LP has been pretty unique along the way. While the West Coast rhymer was at Interscope Records for a meeting in May, he invited strippers to dance on the table while playing music for label executives. The video went viral.
Last weekend, after putting out his new song “All Around the World” featuring YG, Jay 305 debuted the cover art, tracklist and release date for Taking All Bets. This has been a long road but Jay 305 is finally giving fans a proper debut on July 14.
While in New York City, Jay stopped by XXL to discuss the viral video, Taking All Bets and how his Caribbean background helped him expand his sound.
XXL: Tell me about the viral Interscope stripper video.
Jay 305: When did I think about the idea? The night before. I just thought I had to bring them to my world. [The stripper] just came in and hopped on the table and started dancing. The reaction was more, “What? Okay, it’s going up.” It was different people in there; some people were shocked, some people were happy but they were loving it. I had the stripper dance on the table to the record I have with Travis Scott, “Why You So Nasty?”
Did the stripper come in regular then changed or did she come in already dressed with a long trench coat on?
Nah, she came into the room with a stripper outfit on, a little purple thang [laughs]. She did it real classy though, heels on, didn’t touch anybody. We really made it an experience.
Your music is an experience. It’s very much a "Let me bring you into how I see things coming out of South Central, L.A." vibe.
That’s one thing I’m going to give you is me. I have a song called “That’s My Bitch,” and I was thinking about it earlier today that the record is hyperactive spa music.
What does that mean?
[Laughs] It mean you can play it in the spa but you can play it anywhere else where you fuckin’ to set the mood.
Describe Taking All Bets.
It’s just showing you the difference. It’s showing you the artistry of Jay 305 but also the lifestyle. I have a lifestyle in my music that a lot of people don’t understand or they do understand but they don’t live it. So they can’t talk about it. So I’m bringing you the fun, the lifestyle, the good times, you know what I’m saying?
The title has been out for a while now, right?
Yeah, it’s been out since I’ve been out of jail. We’ve just been prolonging it but at the same time crafting it. So now it’s time for it to come out. We had Inner City Hero between there. Some of the songs that was originally on there we took it off and is on Taking All Bets. We just had to get this right.
People don’t know that you’re Caribbean? You can hear the accent and patios come out subtly on some of your records.
My mother is from Jamaica and my dad is from Barbados. I have Belizean somewhere in there and Trinidadians are in my family. So it’s a lot of Caribbeans. That’s how I learned harmonies and melodies ’cause the first record I listened to was reggae not rap. Rap was around me but I didn’t have it in my household at the time until my uncles came from Brooklyn and brought East Coast rap over.
My other cousins that were in L.A. listened to more gangsta rap like Scarface, N.W.A, Ice Cube, Eazy-E and the collective of both… Me listening to reggae music just helped me. As I got older and got in tune with melodies, that’s when I really understand now, I always had the melodies and harmonies and the struggle and the stories. I used to work at [a music store] in L.A., people don’t know that neither. I used to listen to all the underground. Even before I was working in the music store, I just loved music. That’s what made me want to work at a music store. I just wanted to listen to music all the time and study it all day.
What do you see yourself doing this year with the project?
Visuals, touring. It’s about just having fun and staying blessed.
You ever think about putting out a reggae or dancehall album?
Not dancehall but reggae for sure. I love dancehall but I was always big on reggae. More than dancehall, oldies vibe.
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