New York based Jay Eff Kay, has had a pretty unique trajectory for a rapper, from a Wall Street Broker firm, to working a stack of demo's of his new album, American Suicide Notes, Vol 1, from his kitchen table. Even before it's release, he'd garnered a Billboard Magazine Award for his Katrina observations. He's a rare, unique and uncompromised voice. We caught up with him by IM - in his NYC apartment late at the end of a hot August night
OL: Let's start here: "America: Suicide Notes Vo.1." What label is it on? Where can people get it?
JAY: This is entirely self-released. People can get it by going to my site, www.jayeffkay.com.
OL: What are your goals with this album?
JAY: My goals with this album - - and in life - - are twofold: (1) never go back to work and (2) bone and impregnate Brazilian supermodels and MTV VJs.
OL: Where are you? What are you doing now?
JAY: I am in my small NYC apartment, going through the press cycle with this album...emailing and calling people, begging for reviews and interviews. I hate it. Someday I hope to have an army of slutty, liberal-arts-educated PR girls with Long Island accents to do this stuff for me.
OL: Tell me about your background. Most rappers want to end up on Wall Street, you have a stranger trajectory.
JAY: Yeah, I worked for a huge law firm on Wall Street and left to be a rapper. Don't think it was glamorous just because you hear the word Wall Street. This was not Gordon Gekko shit. The truth is I was just a grunt. I could have been working in any cubicle in any office park across America. I usually specify Wall Street so people know that I'm not just some deadbeat who bitches about things because he can't succeed at them. I've done everything right, went to all the best schools, I just still think there is something deeply wrong with this country and what it offers to people my age...and I want to talk about that. Plus I want to grab underage girls out of the audience and hump onstage them like Akon does and you really can't do that kind of thing as a lawyer.
OL: Folks have said you sound like Eminem. Are you tired of the way people, perhaps lazily, always compare white rappers to Eminem, the Beasties Boys, or ICP?
JAY: Yeah, but maybe all us white rappers do sound the same. Maybe this is just how we rap. Get used to it. All Asian people look the same and I don't complain about that.
OL: I don't care what you say, I'm not using that.
OL: You have likened yourself, at least humorously, to Springsteen.
JAY: I'm not kidding. If you listen to Springsteen's early work, he's just cramming descriptions of the world around him into his verses. That's what I try to do in my stuff; make a time capsule memorializing all the fucked up shit in America today. Listen to the song on this album "Welcome to America" and you will hear what I mean. Springsteen is also one of our best songwriters and I consider myself more of a songwriter than a rapper. I mean, I don't even give a fuck about rap. I could just as easily be in a death metal band.
Outsideleft's free download gives you a chance to hear Jay Eff Kay in full effect.
Download Jay Eff Kay's 'Welcome To America'
OL: "I don't give a fuck about rap" - Can we really use that? I don't want to get you excluded from the urban community or whatever.
JAY: Use it. What I'm saying is that I consider myself more of a philosopher, entertainer, and just...rtistic mind...han anything else. Rap works for me as a medium because you can convey a lot of your opinions in a small space. Plus it engages me musically and I'm damn good at it. But I have no intrinsic reverence for rap or it's history. I couldn't give a shit about hip hop's roots, for example. Fuck 'em.
OL: You've also said Black Flag are an influence. Do you think there are many rappers referencing Black Flag?
JAY: If you want to listen to a song that is the perfect balance of what I aim for in my music, listen to "TV Party" by Black Flag. It's probably the most fun song ever written, and is perfect for shotgunning beers and punching holes in walls to...but there's also also a strong message about modern society in there.
OL: You've said that you like to "pepper" yours songs with political nuggets.
JAY: Right. I spend probably 50% of my waking hours thinking about one social or political issue or another. But, who wants to hear a whole album of that shit? I try to at least win people over with something funny and enjoyable before I inflict that on them. If I'm going to about the government, it's probably gonna be in the middle of some lyrics about a strip club or maybe banging a starbucks barista on top of the cream and sugar station or something. The only exception on this album is "Den of Rats." That's pretty much all political.
OL: What is "Den of Rats" about?
JAY: I worked on this huge case at my law firm where I was doing profiles of board members at various corporations. And some of these men and women were on the boards of like, ten major house-hold-name type corporations. And you realize that there is a very small, incestuous group of people who basically run this joint. Musically, I wanted it to sound like a Pink Floyd song.
OL: In my life there is little I loathe more than Pink Floyd.
JAY: You hate Floyd? WTF? I spent a good portion of my youth metabolizing THC and replaying The Dark Side of The Moon... It is the American way.
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