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Sunday, March 20 • 12:50am - 1:50am
Jay Rock

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For a rapper to command your attention, it all comes down to the voice. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Public Enemy's Chuck D had millions of fans hanging on to every word of his booming baritone. In the mid-1990s, The Notorious B.I.G.'s steely poise and vocal precision led many critics and fans to proclaim him the best rapper of all time. Now, in 2006, get ready for the next rapper with a magnetic voice, someone whose pristine raps demand attention. His name: Jay Rock. Born and raised in Watts, California's notorious Nickerson Gardens Projects, Jay Rock got his first encouragement from his music-making relatives, who noticed the impact his deep, melodic voice made on song after song. They were like, you're hard. And you've got a voice for it, too. You've got a real cool voice to it, Jay Rock recalls. A lot of people started hearing me and they would tell me that my voice catches them. So, I started working it, working on my craft and got more and more confidence. Jay Rocks confidence led to a string of heated appearances on neighborhood mixtapes. The gifted rhymers clever phrasing, gritty realism, storytelling swagger and powerful voice grabbed the attention of Top Dawg Entertainment boss Dude Dawg. Once in the studio with an independent company backing him, Jay Rocks output increased and improved. For now, though, Jay Rock is focused on recording his debut album and ushering in a new era of hard-core West Coast rap. Jay Rock is thankful that Compton's The Game was able to breakthrough with his multi platinum, The Documentary album. Game opened up the doors for a lot of people, Jay Rock says. Game opened the door and Im running right through with my people behind me. Were trying to bring it back home, bring the West back. We've been down for a long time, so were trying to bring it back home. With production on his forthcoming debut album from such A-List producers as Justice League, Tha Bizness, DJ Quik, KayGee (Jaheim, Naughty By Nature) and L.E.S. (Nas), as well up-and-coming beatsmiths, 4th Quarter, Soundwave, Willie B, Tae Beast and Aqua (Jay-Z), Jay Rock is set to live out a dream that seemed to be destined to happen. His hard-working mother filled their home with the classic soul and blues music of such icons as the Temptations, Dramatics, Isley Brothers, Johnny Guitar Watson and B.B. King. She also had an affinity for rap, and enjoyed the music of such trendsetters as Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie. Her love for music carried over to her house parties. My mom threw parties damn near every weekend, Jay Rock recalls. Shed be stressing during the week, would come home and that's what they'd do, party all night long. Jay Rock soon developed an interest in playing keyboards and, at age 12, writing poems. And, as he grew up in the volatile Watts streets, gangster rap began to take hold. You couldn't go up the street without hearing Snoop, Dre or N.W.A, he says. Much as N.W.A and others reported about their surroundings, Jay Rocks early poems documented his feelings -- about a person, about Los Angeles, about his experiences. Jay Rock soon started getting into trouble at school, forcing him to attend a number of different schools. He also endured a harsh reality when cited and incarcerated for violating his areas gang injunction. I was hanging out with dudes I grew up with, dudes I went to school with, played Pop Warner with, he says. They saw us out there and took us down. They put me on it. I basically can't hang out where I live. I can't help where I stay. They got me again when I was hanging out of my own apartment, my own residence. Jay Rocks legal struggles have made him appreciate what he has already accomplished, turning his childhood talent for writing into a career as a major recording artist. Getting signed and being from what I'm from, that's a great achievement because nobody's really been signed from my projects, Jay Rock says. That's a big achievement for me. It's a blessing. It feels real good. I could be in the jail somewhere or in the grave, but I'm right here doing what I need to do. And it all starts with the voice


Sunday March 20, 2011 12:50am - 1:50am
Venue 222 222 E 6th St

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