The Break Presents: Jay 305
One of the newest rising names on the West Coast is Jay 305. With only three years of experience total in rapping, the South Central native—who has some connection to every camp in L.A. (Dom Kennedy, YG, Ty Dolla $ign)—he landed a hit record. "Youzza Flip" caught fire in 2013, a year after the original song was made. Unfortunately at the height of his popularity when "Youzza Flip" was remixed by Juciy J and Wiz Khalifa, the man born Jay Cummins turned himself in to police for a gun charge. He was released from prison in February 2014 and has been working to recapture the momentum he once had. Last November, he signed to Interscope Records and recently released the video for "Thuggin." Now he's gearing up to release his debut album Taking All Bets sometime this year. Get to know Jay 305.—Emmanuel C.M.
Name: Jay Cummins
Hometown: South Central L.A.
I grew up listening to: Reggae, Rap, R&B oldies for the most part growing up. I started listening to alternative but mostly rap and reggae. Rap was Scarface, Ice Cube, Suga Free, Too $hort, Pimp C, well UGK period, Trick Daddy, Cash Money, No limit. It’s a lot of them. Jay Z, Nas, Biggie even I caught some of the Rakim stuff later on as I got a little bit older when I was like 11 because my cousin lives on the east coast and they were older and used to play that. First rap tape I ever bought was JJ Fad Supersonic. First CD with a parental advisory I ever bought was a single, Apache “Gangsta Bitch.” R.I.P. Apache. Then when I got older State Property, Cam’ron, Dipset and then now there’s me, Jay 305 [Laughs]. [Reggae artists are] Red Rat, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer is my favorite out of everybody cause he was gutta and was just like Scarface, just the reggae version of it; Scarface one of my favorite rappers. Vybz Kartel, free him. It’s a lot of them. But growing up it was Bares Hammond, Bob Marley of course, Yellowman. Some of the songs I just know. Lady Saw. When I was growing up it was more of reggae than dancehall. I love reggae, more old school reggae. My mom is from Jamaica, my dad is from Barbados. There’s a little culture behind me.
How I got into rapping? I was playing around one day. I love rap, I love music. One day I was playing around making my song “stories” and I took it seriously but it was more like I’m doing it for my birthday and playing around. Then it just happened. Then I said I’m going to take it way more seriously and I made “Youzza Flip” and now I’m here. For me, man, I’ve been through a lot. I’m a little older so I look at things a different type of way. I don’t want the same thing a 20-year-old wants. A 20-year-old wants, especially someone that ain’t never had nothing, to get on and get jewelry. I already had that phase. He wants to get on and get a big chain; you give him a big check and he wants to run through it. You got to understand. You got to have some shit for the raining day. When I was younger it was just like ok today I got it, I’m going to try to blow it. Especially when you’re in the streets, it’s get it fast, burn it faster. That’s the mentality. But for me now I still burn bread, I’m still learning but that’s the little difference for me from them. Then just my stories, I’m just a real mothafucka man. The music I grew on plus I wasn’t raised on the internet. A lot of these cats were raised on the internet. They are raised by rap music, they are raised by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, all that shit. They see another nigga shining, they want to be like that cat. Back in the day when I was growing up, we looked up to the dope dealers. The dope dealers when it was time to put us on, not just the dope dealers anybody in the streets period that was getting money when it was time to put us on or started fucking with us they gave us the game along the way. They played us too because of course you got to pay the cost to be the boss. But they gave you the game. Now they ball in your face and say it's time to sell coke or dope but then they don’t tell you about going to jail for 20 years for 2 years of balling. That’s where my gap is.
Most people don’t know: That my mom is Jamaican and my dad is from Barbados. I have a Jamaican culture. My dad being from Barbados, my culture is just different growing up. Something else some people don’t know about me: “Youzza Flip” is my second song I ever made, ever in my life.
Another thing people don’t know about me is, I actually own a film production company. At that time, I just saw a way out of what I was doing before. So I had a little money so I tried to do something. But I liked that. I try to be creative. I already have the formula. I’m from the streets. I have stories. But now I know how to use my voice as an instrument and I know how to deliver. I know how to talk about stuff with the delivery.
Before I was even a rapper, I’m already hip-hop. Because that’s where you learned a lot about the rap game, the hard part of it. Like you see everybody back then to now. A lot of them dudes are not around, not relevant but their still respected. That’s what I want to be, I want to be respected. Respected as a legend. How High is a great movie too.
My style has been compared to: People compare me to Too $hort and Pimp C, Ice Cube and Ice T. I grew up watching all that. That’s what really gave me the real. There’s rapper out now that give you the real too but they really gave you all angles of life. Not just balling or I got gangs of bitches. Like Pimp C gave you game about common law marriage. They gave you game back then. Now it’s just a whole bunch of shit niggas just saying. That’s another reason why my shit is different. I try to spit game. I’m not going to give it to you all but I'm going to give you enough.
Standout records and/or moments to date: “Youzza Flip,” it’s the record that got me anywhere. Then the remix with Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and YG. But for the most part, “Youzza Flip” is the core that made me to a point where people would say, "Okay let me see what u got going on." It wasn’t fast. We went on tour. First I was performing “Stories” on tour. I had “Youzza Flip” in the cut but I just didn’t know. I was still learning at the time. Then one of my homies said you should do “Youzza Flip.” This was like the last leg on the tour. So I did it and the crowd was just turning up. Then I dropped “Youzza Flip” on iTunes when I was on tour. A year and a half later is when it started to break. In that year and half to two years is when everybody knew the song. That’s when it was remixed.
My goal in hip-hop is: Just giving knowledge and game and be real; I want to have the people’s ear. Just have the people respect everything I say. I’m not trying to be the greatest rapper, I’m not trying to be the biggest rapper and I’m not the best rapper by far. There are a lot of great rappers better than me. That’s not my goal. I just want to have the listener’s ear. When I say man it's time to look up, I want everybody to look up. I just want to have a movement. I feel like I have movement with my homies and the streets but I’m talking about touching different countries and different people I speak for everybody. That’s how I feel; everybody that’s going through the struggle or live the life.
I'm going to be the next: A lot rappers want to be the next rapper. I don’t think I’m a rapper, I feel like I’m a Blues artist. I bring my life into the stories and into the music. But I just want to be a legend. I don’t want to be the next legend I want to be a legend in what I do. By telling my hardship and telling my stories and the good and bad of life. It’s not always bad. You don’t always have to talk about the bad. You can have fun too. But that’s what I’m bringing to that party. Plus the rhythm, the snaps and the slaps, all that.
I may put a movie out but for sure my album Taking All Bets is coming out in 2015. Fans can expect gutta, slums and personal stories about me; fun, depending on what fun to you. Talking about my lifestyle, L.A. lifestyle, that’s what is fun to me, living life that’s fun to me. Get fly, staying fly, staying on and my name getting bigger and my process. I got Dom Kennedy on there. My homie Josh on there, he’s going to shock the world. Joe Moses, Suga Free. Producer wise Mustard, I can’t really think of them all but there are a few names. I’m going to really shock people creative wise. I’m real creative. I’m not just only with music. You can tell in my music, I try to get creative….You will never see me do the basics. I will always think outside the box.
I’m nervous and excited and it’s a scary thought. Put it like this, if you not scared of putting out your album or your dream, you’re not dreaming big enough. I learned that from Jeezy. Not even going to lie, there are times I be nervous. I’m confident but I’m not some super cocky nigga who thinks I’m that nigga. But I’m confident to know that people are going to enjoy it because I give them a little bit of everything. I’m not scared to bite my tongue. I say what’s on my mind at anytime and any place on record or off record. Some people when they write lyrics they say I can’t say this. Naw fuck that I’m going to say what I want to say. I think that’s why people love me, 'cause I’m raw
Standout: "Youzza Flip" + "Youzza Flip (Remix)"