18-year-old hip-hop artist represents him hometown Oakland, California very well in his latest offering. Today, we premiere his documentary that takes us behind the scenes of a very special day. After viewing his mini-doc of the days leading up to his concert with the iconic rap artists the Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Too Short at the Oakland Arena, we had to grab him for an interview. Check out the conversation below!
Why was it important to you to share this documentary?
It gives people who don’t know me an insight on who I really am. People get to see how I interact with my family, how I am before a show, and some characteristics that people may not get through one of my songs. Performing at the Oakland Arena was also a milestone for me. Coming from Oakland it is a place that every artist dreams of playing, so I wanted to document that moment and remember my first time performing there. It’s something that I will be able to look back at in the future and remember how hard I worked to get there.
Is there anything you wish you would’ve shared in the doc?
I wished I showed days leading up to the show. Like some of my rehearsals at the
studio, How I was feeling, the excitement leading up to the show. But besides that I think that it showcased exactly what I wanted. Couldn’t be happier with the turn out.
Was being featured on Sway In The Morning’s Friday Fire Cypher + Bedroom Bars something on your bucket list?
Most definitely. Sway is an icon and one of the gatekeepers of hip-hop so it was most definitely a dream come true. I used to watch rappers I looked up too all the time rap on his show from Tupac, to Kendrick, to Logic, so being able to be in that studio and rap for him and on air was surreal and definitely a goal on my bucket list.
You seemed very calm throughout the video. How did you not get nervous?
Performing is what I love to do. I’m in my element when I’m on the stage and is where I shine the most, so really I just got comfortable and was ready to rock. As shown in the documentary I was definitely nervous on the car ride to the show, but as soon as I got to the arena it was game time and my nerves slowly started to go away.
What was the best part of the entire experience backstage?
There were so many. Talking to Raekwon and Ghostface killah for a while was definitely a highlight. Also seeing Too $hort again and being able to introduce him to my family. That was dope. Really the whole night was dope. I loved being backstage soaking up so much game from all the OG’s around me. Definitely a reminder that I am going in the right direction.
In what ways do you plan on representing Oakland differently than other successful figures that came out of the city?
I just want to shed a positive light to the town. It’s a beautiful place and is so diverse and has so much powerful history behind it. When thinking about Oakland people automatically talk about the violence and how dangerous it is, but Oakland is so much more than just that. That’s really what I want to do. Show the world Oakland’s greatness and talk about the positive aspects of Oakland.
What is your largest motivation behind everything you do?
Making my family proud, putting on for my city, and being someone positive that the youth from my city can look up to. I want to be a voice for the people who feel like they don’t have a voice. The stories I tell can relate to so many different people, so healing people as well is what motivates me and pushes me to go harder.
What is next for Jwalt?
My debut album comes out May 15th titled Yours Truly produced by the legendary DJ Toure, I have a book coming out soon sometime this year that I am really excited about, always making music so stay tuned for that, and lastly I am headed off to college this fall at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU to study recorded music.
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