Jayo Felony represents San Diego California. I aint got his first album but i got his second which is tight. He is currently on Def Jam but who knows how long he will stay there for. He featured on Above The Laws album "Legends" and has been on various peoples albums this year includin E-40-Charlie Hustle(Jayo Felony also features on E-40s previous album Element of Suprise), hes also on Eastsidez album this year as well as Kurupts album "Streetz is a mutha". Jayo Felonys second album is tight and worth listening to. I will review the album on this page soon.
Ive not done my interview yet but here is something ive jacked until i do
Jayo Felony. The name itself evokes images of negativism. What's with the last name anyway? Is he glamorizing a lick he pulled or some crime he did time for? Critics of the genre labeled "gangsta rap" would contend that Jayo Felony is simply another in a line of lyricists here to spread the message of mayhem.
But we must remember that Africans in this country have a history of taking negative situations and flipping the script, making them positive. And this is what I see in Jayo Felony, as well as some other artists in this category. This is a young brotha, coming from what many call deprived environment, who is doing something constructive with his life- making music. I sat down with Jayo in San Francisco to discuss, among other topics, his music, his view on women, and those tryin' to hold back "gangsta rap."
4080: Is this your first time up this way (Bay Area)?
Jayo: Naw, I've been up here befo'. It's cool out here. I've been havin' a proper time, doin' my thang. They been givin' us alot of support when we go to the record stores. Autographs and stuff, doin' little shows. Rollin' with the Source Van, just havin' fun.
4080: How'd you hook with Jam Master Jay and Def Jam?
Jayo: I put out this tape called "Livin' For Them Fo' Thangs." He heard one of the tapes and then he wanted to hook up. So we just hooked up and started makin' the bomb music. From there on, it was on.
4080: You being on the West Coast and him being back East, how did y'all hook up?
Jayo: He came out here and we hooked up.
Jam Master Jay (joking): The nigga came my house, where my moms live.
Jayo: We met this nigga in L.A., man. That's where we met. All that other shit ain't nothin'. I didn't see you at your house, nigga. So it don't matter. I saw you in L.A. for the first time.
JMJ: It ain't too many niggas from the West Coast been to my mom's house. But I didn't hear the tape until I was in L.A. type shit. I heard the tape and I was like, "Yo, this shit is the bomb, man..."
4080: How did you get your name?
Jayo: My name came from when I was locked up, when I was young, about when I was fifteen. I was in Juvenile Hall, I seen it [the name] carved in the desk. I got it from there. I made my name from there. Like Jayo came from Just Against Y'all Officers. It's just some underground thang. But my name on the street is Bullet. That's what they call me in [San] Diego. I just put it down like that from when I was younger. And I just kept that name with me, Jayo Felony, throughout the years.
4080: So you had some run-ins with the law? You were in Youth Authority?
Jayo: Yeah. I did like two years. I went back a couple times after that for little violations and whatever. Then after that, I just got out, and I was on the run for like a year. After that, I turned 21. Once I turned 21, I was off everything. They couldn't lock me up no more. It was cool, it was over. They couldn't catch me. They was tryin' to catch me before the year was up, but I just laid low.
4080: When did you start rappin' and how did your experience of being locked up affect your music career? Did you spend alot of time writing when you were locked up?
Jayo: I used to write all the time. When I was locked up...I wrote alot, but it seems like I got better when I got out. Cuz I wasn't hearing everything and keepin' up with the time. You don't hear as much as you can on the streets, as far as being locked up. You gotta order it, wait for it and all that. I got better when I got out.
4080: Do you think it helped you to shape your own style by not listening to alot of other artists?
Jayo: Yeah, it helped me, but I thrive off others too. If you got some bomb shit, it's the bomb. Bottom line. Ain't no way around it. And I just try to make mine that much better or that good. Other rappers keep me goin' too. From them comin' out with the bomb, and I just keep comin' out with bomb.
4080: What other artists do you listen to or follow?
Jayo: I listen to whatever, man. I don't really have no one tape, cuz I don't really got no tapes really. I listen to all kind of different rappers. As long as you got flow and you bumpin', I'll just pop it in. But I really don't even go to the store and buy tapes, you know? I'm broke man (laughing softly). I just bootleg. Naw, I don't be bootleggin'...
4080: We were bumpin' your tape on the way here and I have to ask about the sherm (PCP), cuz alot of brothas up here (Bay Area) ain't really into that. I here it comin' from your part of the state. Is that y'all shit down there? Indo ain't cool no more?
Jayo: You ain't got to be into it to enjoy the song ("Sherm Stick"). You ain't got to smoke it to enjoy the song. It ain't like the tape gon' come out and kill you and shit and make you high. Just listen to the song, enjoy it. I just do what I do. I don't even fuck around like that. I just do what I do, and just tell you what happens when you go through it. How you might feel if you do it. So you might be like, "Naw I ain't tryin' to do that." And don't do it. I ain't tryin' to say, "Yeah, go do it."
4080: I was trippin' off somethin' you said in "Can't Keep A Gee Down." You say "If you dissin' gangsta rap/ You get the pipe/ It ain't time to preach fool/ It's time to fight." Who are you talking about fighting?
Jayo: Whoever got beef with what we tryin' to do. Whoever's tryin' to hold us back and keep us down. It ain't time to be out there tryin' to tell another man how to live his life. It's about tellin' 'em about what's really goin' on, what's really happening in the world. If they against that, and against us tellin' people how we feel without us holdin' back our tongue, then it's aimed at them. Whoever. It's not just aimed at one particular system. Just everybody tryin' to downgrade us. You got fake preachers out here that's tryin' to get publicity off us and build their own career up by tryin' to smash our tapes (referring to the infamous Calvin Butts media event). We black just like y'all. Why try to smash somethin' positive that we doin' with our life? They are the ones bein' violent, goin' out and smashin' tapes. That's a violent act. Bought the tape, then you smashed it. That's way out. That's just tryin' to build somthing off us. I got it against them too. So it [the lyric] refers to alot of people.
4080: What do you think of white kids buyin' and listening to hip-hop? Are they just fantasizing momentarily through the music what it is to be black, since a large number of rappers are black? Or do you think they're trying to relate to it?
Jayo: I say like this: They can buy it all thay want to. But we gon' keep speakin' it real. So if they buyin' it, then more power to 'em. We ain't tryin' to make music just for them. We just doin' what we doin'. It's for everybody to buy. It ain't like, "Everybody black but this and nobody else but it." We just make the music and try to make it the bomb. You don't have to be a particular color to like the music. It's just music. We just sayin' what we feel. So to me, they can buy it all they want to. But it ain't no fad and we ain't tryin' to be gone next year. We just doin' what we got to do. If they don't publicize it to them or it don't get to them, we still gon' sell millions of copies. It's still gon' be the same way. Underground, like it was.
4080: You also speak about gangbangin' on the album. Speak on your experience and how you relate to it now.
Jayo: Me I ain't trippin'. I'm down with my homies, but I'm makin' music now. I got somethin' else other that just hangin' on the block everyday. But if it wasn't for this, I would be. I definitely would be, fa sho'. But I ain't tryin' to go that route. I'm tryin' to make life better for me, my family. If it wasn't for this [music], I'd be doin' that. But thanks to this, I'm doin' the right thing for me. It's just going to open bigger and better doors for me in the future.Ê
4080: I think that's a problem with alot of people that criticize hip-hip. Instead of viewing it as a way of doing something positive, they'll say, "You could go get a job, you could go to school," instead of rappin'. But alot of times, it's just not that easy.
Jayo: School is over to me...ain't no school. I done learned all the schoolin'...
JMJ (interjecting): You still in school, nigga. You learnin' today...
Jayo: I'm not learnin' in a school though. That's gone.
JMJ (jokingly): I'm Professor Jam Master Jay, you act like it man! (laughing) Naw, school is everyday. You learn everyday...
Jayo: I learn on the streets, youknowhutI'msayin'? I'm on street school.
JMJ: Until you a millionaire, man, even 4080's learnin'. A nigga could say, "Yo, why you doin' 4080 man when you could be goin' to school to be a doctor..."
Jayo: Go to school and get a job. Well, this is my job. That's what I got, a job. It's just like playin' basketball for ends. They doin' somethin' they like to do, they know how to do, and they gettin' paid for it. They practice hard, they work everyday to have that position in life. That's what they like to do, and that's what brings them their big house, and their money, their ends. And that's a blessing.
4080: What do you think about rappers' views on women and using the word "bitch" and "hoe?" Your view on women and their relation to hip-hop?
Jayo: A woman ain't no bitch, a bitch is a bitch. A woman is a woman. Carry yourself like a bitch and you a bitch. If you a woman, you're a woman. That's the bottom line. If you a slut or a hoe, then that's what you are. If you ain't no slut, no hoe, and you ain't scandolous, then you ain't no bitch. If you scandalous and down and dirty, then you's a bitch. If you ain't, then more power to you and do your thang. It's bitches out there and there's good women. They know the difference. That's why women listen to the song and they don't get offended by it. Cuz they know it ain't them. They know they ain't no bitch. So if you get offended, it must relate to you. You must be a bitch then. You must be scandalous like a nigga be talkin' about on the record. If you gettin' offended by it, you must be doin' it. That's how I feel.
4080: How is the East Coast receiving your music?
Jayo: They like it. They givin' me love out there. I got songs that they relate to. So it's like a mixture of both. And they give me love out there, you know? Cuz they know I got lyrics for dat ass...
Date Last Modified: 20/10/99