Very rarely, as a Hip-Hop journalist, do I get the chance to meet rap artists with real heart and love for what they do. I recently had the pleasure of having a sit down with the local Vancouver Hip-Hop artist known as Jay-kin, a young man who still treats his craft like a job. Very rarely do you meet a lyricist whom after years of plugging away still treats it with the same love and respect he had as on the day he wrote his first rhyme.
He not only has his heart in Hip-Hop, but he is also a very insightful and reflective individual who is trying to better himself with everything he does. He continues to open for big name acts, travels often, and is currently teaching others the power of the English language. He does all this and continues to make real music, all while staying on the humble.
Real name: Jaakan Weekes (No relation to former Canucks Goaltender, Kevin Weekes, trust me fans I asked.)
Occupation: Lyricist, as well as a T.E.S.L. Teacher (In Japan)
MVRemix: So tell me about some of the past shows you have opened for in the last three years...
Jaykin: For the Roots show we (Usual Suspects) opened up two-nights for two amazing shows, maybe one of the biggest show Iíve ever done. Iíve also opened up for Common, Mobb Deep, Souls Of Mischief and Devin the Dude. Iíve also opened up for Raekwon (three times) and went on tour with him to Kelowna.
MVRemix: When did you decide to get serious about music?
Jaykin: Iím thinking probably when I was 14, during highschool I got so caught up with it, and it started getting real serious.
MVRemix: The name of your new CD?
Jaykin: On the Humble. The sound of it is the same direction, but different producers, so different sounds, and types of sounds producers use that I wouldn't regularly use, but I am challenging myself, I am confident now that I can use an underground and commercial beat, and with this one you gonna get me, up to today. On this I feel I am way more confident. The reason this album is called ďOn The HumbleĒ is because I donít want people saying ďOh Jay is getting soooo cocky,Ē but everything I say is out of confidence and not cockiness. Itís gonna be short but good, 10 Ė14 tracks, and definitely a different sound from my previous LP ďNo Time To Waste.Ē
This CD is a lot more personal, Iíma be talking about things I went through in my early childhood, and things I havenít talked about.
MVRemix: To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe it?
Jaykin: [Thinking] It sounds like yesterday and tomorrow, like the golden era and the future, like itís not even today. My heart is in the golden era but my mind is somewhere different.
Jaykin: Jay-Z, Nas, and Wu-Tang.
Jay, 'cause he can get respect from the underground and make a great commercial song.
Nas, Ďcause he just got so much respect, something not a lot of artist today have, where they like ďOh you canít say nothing about Nas.Ē I also respect him for being himself and lasting this long and his storytelling ability.
Wu, straight lyricists, no matter how many CDís they put out you had to get it, when they were up in the Source mag or anything, once you see that golden "W" you had to get it, I just got a rush from them and I get a lot of influence from them.
MVRemix: Future plans?
Jaykin: I am heading to Japan for a year. I'm gonna go teach, as well as go make some music out there, I got a few connects out there, a male and female DJ and if I can get a studio, I plan on recording. It ainít gonna stop, itís still gonna go on over there.
MVRemix: Is Hip-Hop dead?
Jaykin: [contemplating] I was talking about it just the other day, itís at a state now where people are starting to wake up, especially when the same thing is being repeated for so long. People are realizing this and itís getting worn out. Itís not as strong as it was, people trying to go at it with the same formula, and that formula is eventually gonna be weak. It just needs to be taken in a different direction, I donít think itís dead, itís just dying, and Nas pretty much diagnosed it and should be given credit for making people realize it.
MVRemix: Why do you do what you do, what keeps you motivated?
Jaykin: First of all itís God, definitely my belief in Jesus, thatís number one. Then my parents, they always had me surrounded by music when I was young, especially my dad, with all his records.
And third, I just get a feeling from music, andÖ I donít know what it is, when I write, itís just crazy! [Excitement in his eyes] Itís such a challenge for me to write, because I am always challenging myself to step my game up. I never think I can get better, I never think that I can be at my top best. I donít like saying ďIím the kingĒ I know on the CD I say "Vancityís nicest" but itís just writing, itís always the challenge of it. Itís the challenge.
MVRemix: Do you still have to hold a job down to pay for studio-time and things like that, what do people not realize (the reality)?
Jaykin: Iím fortunate enough to be having free studio time, most of the time itís free. You canít expect so much right away, especially when you coming up. Itís really important to be humble because Iíve seen a lot of peeps expect a lot in return, and they give up Ďcause they hopes is so high, thereís a lot of finance you gotta put in it. You gotta promote, know what you have to buy and the CD pressing is super expensive. Itís good to get sponsorship or a distribution deal or you can even get it through a record label, itís a lot man. The come up is hard, and when you get in the door it can be even trickier to stay in there, you may have gotten in there but then you gotta work harder to stay in there. Itís a lot of mental and your wallet...money helps.
Jaykin: To my family, for supporting, everyone who has supported me in the few years I been on the scene, as well as to those that ainít support me, just keeps me goin' to get better, Web, Edge, Jungle, Roswell, Sugar Shane, Seko, Krispy, Marvel, Rico Uno, Seko, Heatwave, T Locc, Kutcorners, Bluntologist, and all the producers who helped me out and to all those that showed loveÖThank you.