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Bay Area Hip-Hop Artist Jwalt on His Debut Album ‘Yours Truly,’ Sway Calloway, Logic and G-Eazy

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Young, talented, and wise well beyond his years, Bay Area hip-hop artist Jwalt has just released his triumphant debut record, Yours Truly, an eleven-track compilation of some of the best beats and rhymes he’s written in his young life. Still only eighteen years of age, Jwalt came flying out of the gate in 2017 when he gained nationwide recognition for his participation in Sway’s Universe Domsday Cypher, a celebration of hip-hop which brings together some of the best young artists, all spearheaded by the legendary journalist and DJ Sway Calloway. Sway has been a significant mentor to Jwalt since they first met, with Sway taking him under his wing and helping to executive produce Yours Truly.

Even at such a young age, Jwalt is already capable of standing toe to toe with the best of the genre, thanks to his lyrical prowess and storytelling skills. Each track on Yours Truly engages with the listener over serious topics like mental health, family, relationships, and emerging within the difficult confines of the entertainment industry. You immediately get a sense of what kind of person Jwalt is and you quickly realize that not only is he a bonafide talent, but he’s also a very intelligent, thoughtful artist. Jwalt has already shared the stage and gained the respect of many well-known rappers such as Quincey White, ANoyd, FVRTHR, and Pro Era’s Nyck Caution.

With such a bright young talent, it was a no-brainer to hook up with Jwalt and ask him a few questions about his artistry, his debut record Yours Truly, and how he first gained Sway’s recognition.

You must be absolutely thrilled that Yours Truly has now been released. How would you describe the album to a new listener of yours?

Jwalt: “Yes, I am extremely thrilled that Yours Truly is out! I have been working on this project for over two years, so the fact that it’s finally out is surreal and relieving. To a new listener, I would describe this album as true, vulnerable, dope hip-hop from the perspective of a young man. If you enjoy storytelling, songs with a message, and lyricism, you will like this album.”

It’s quite an accomplishment to already have a debut album out at only the age of 18. How recently were these songs written? Do the origins of some of these rhymes or verses go back to your earlier teenage years?

“A lot of the songs on the project are two to three years old, and the most recent song I wrote is ‘Elevate,’ so the songs on here definitely go back to some of my earlier teenage years.”

Somewhat related to my previous question, what age did you start to rap and at what age did you really start to realize that you actually had some talent to do this as a career?

“Before becoming a rapper, I started off writing and performing poetry when I was eight years old. I fell in love with hip-hop music and rap culture at eleven. My freshman year of high school was when I started to take it more seriously and realized that I had a powerful message.”

Artwork for ‘Yours Truly’ by Jwalt

Being a lot older than you, my first exposure to hip hop was perhaps the golden age of rap, which was the early to mid-1990s featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Ice Cube, etc… I’m curious as to what artists you were first exposed to when you first started listening to hip-hop…

“I was exposed to different kinds of music growing up. My parents love music and both are huge hip-hop heads. I grew up listening to Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Tupac, Biggie, Common, Jay- Z, Michael Jackson, Lil Wayne, early Drake, Aaliyah, The Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Janet Jackson, KRS-One, and of course Bay Area artist such as E-40, Mac Dre, Keak Da Sneak, Too Short, Hieroglyphics and Souls of Mischief.”

To help you record and produce Yours Truly you hooked up with DJ Touré. How were you first introduced to Touré and how did he become involved in the album?

“I was first introduced to Touré by a family friend. He invited me to his studio about four years ago for a meeting. Touré asked me to play him my music. He loved the fact that I was a young cat who loved hip-hop and was about bars and lyricism. I also found out that he went to school with my mom back in the day, so that was a dope connection as well.

A couple months later, I went back to his studio and we created our first song called ‘The KID.’ We had great chemistry and worked well together. After that session, he said he wanted to produce a project for me which became my debut album Yours Truly. It was definitely a dope experience being able to work with a veteran like him. It was so surreal because I grew up listening to Hieroglyphics, so being able to create an album with a member in their studio was really dope.”

Yours Truly was also executive produced by Sway, whom I’m familiar with from being a frequent SiriusXM listener. Tell us about how you first gained the attention of Sway and how he became involved in this album.

“Sway has known me since birth and it’s been a blessing to have him in my corner. When it comes to my music, he’s always given me honest feedback and holds me to high standards which has helped me become the MC I am today. In the early stages of Yours Truly, he came to a few studio sessions and listened to the project. He loved it so much that he offered to executive produce it.”

You’re already a very accomplished lyricist. Is there a way or a method you typically write lyrics? Or do rhymes just come to you and then you scribble them down?

“I freestyle a lot. Either out loud or in my head, and that’s how I start to write my songs. Ideas are always floating around in my head as well, so whenever I think of a bar, a chorus, or lyrics I always just write it down, and come back to it when I am about to write a song.”

Logic and G-Eazy are among the well-established hip-hop artists who have offered you mentoring and support. What’s the best advice you’ve taken thus far from people who have been in the game now for a while and know what they’re talking about?

“Some of the best advice I got from Logic and G is to always stay true to myself and always be willing to learn.”

Who are some other really talented, young rappers who we should start paying attention to?

“There’s a lot of talented young rappers coming up right now. You should check out Ajai Kasim, BigTreeSteve, and Babygirlnai who are all from the Bay Area, as well as John Tr3 Pritchett and Niko Brim from the East Coast. All of them are different and make dope music.”

Congratulations on your album and all you’ve accomplished thus far. I think you definitely have a bright future ahead of you. I know there’s uncertainty right now with regards to touring, but what do you have planned for the rest of this year?

“Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. I was really looking forward to touring and playing festivals this year, but I have a few visuals I’m working on. I’ll also be releasing a book entitled, “Ahmad’s Song” which is actually available for pre-order now. Plus, I’ll be heading off to New York City this fall as a student at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.”

Hip-Hop/Rap

Dave Luv – “Some Days” [Song Review]

Dave Luv drops “Some Days,” revealing the frozen-in-time sensation of pervasive sorrow fused with a nomadic melody and insightful storytelling.

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Dave Luv “Some Days” single artwork
Dave Luv “Some Days” single artwork

Chicago-based rapper Dave Luv recently dropped his new single/music video, “Some Days,” a track exploring the emotional mutability of being human.

Luv explains, “Life happens one day at a time, and each one is different.”

According to Dave, “Some Days” was designed to convey melancholic feelings, feelings associated with those days when we’re especially vulnerable and sad. Simply because life is made up of variables upon variables, and no one is always cheery.

“Some Days” follows on the heels of “Gunfire,” featuring Reo Cragun, released last year. Where “Gunfire” was more of a party banger blending savors of hip-hop and R&B, “Some Days” rolls out on a moody piano riding a thumping kick drum. Luv’s melodic, rapping flow imbues the rhymes with a poignant singsong flow reminiscent of Post Malone.

The video, directed by Nicholas Jandora, depicts Luv at work, ensconced in a toxic blue office. Wearing a glum clown face, he googles ‘how to be happy’ and consults a self-help book entitled be happy! At home, he moves listlessly, sinking in the quicksand of heartbreak. Kitschy smiley faces materialize throughout the video, underscoring Luv’s absent serenity.

“Some Days” reveals the frozen-in-time sensation of pervasive sorrow fused with a nomadic melody and insightful storytelling.

Dave Luv, photo by Nas Bogado

Dave Luv, photo by Nas Bogado

Run Time: 3:58
Release Date: February 5, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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Hip-Hop/Rap

Rapper Formz’ Music Video Pokes Fun at “Keyboard Warriors” Ahead of Manchester Gig

Rapper and Content Creator Formz takes aim at “Keyboard Warriors” in his new music video. Check it out here…

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Formz by Alex Adler Photography
Formz, photo © Alex Adler Photography

Hotly tipped UK rap newcomer Formz has quickly emerged through social media where he has
gained over 900K followers with his high energy and relatable music, freestyles and football
related content working with the likes of Google, Pepsi, BBC, The FA and Amazon as well as with some of the UK’s most exciting producers, including Nastylgia, R14 and Roddy Beatz.

His recent single “Keyboard Warriors” is a tongue-in-cheek drill track that pokes good-natured fun at internet trolls. Formz wrote the track after an appearance on Sky Sports to do a summary rap about last season’s Premier League lead to a torrent of abuse on social media.

His natural response was to channel his reaction into his music, so he hopped in the studio with R14 (whose credits include Potter Payper, Clavish, D-Block Europe and Nines) and wrote “Keyboard Warriors”, a shameless flex on people who hide behind their computer screens to troll others.

Check out the music video here:

Off the back of a sold-out debut headline show at London’s Camden Assembly last year, and a nation-wide schools tour, Formz has announced a headline show at The Deaf Institute (The Lodge) in Manchester on February 21st, 2024. The north Londoner, will also be returning to the capital the following month, to headline the O2 Academy Islington on March 14th.

Embodying the message of “Keyboard Warriors”, Formz is currently on a national wide schools tour, talking to thousands of children about his experiences of being an influencer, online abuse and music.

Tickets for the Manchester gig are available from here. For more information, head over to Formz social media here.

Formz ‘Keyboard Warriors’ Single Artwork

Formz ‘Keyboard Warriors’ Single Artwork

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Hip-Hop/Rap

Dom Rivers & Dre Taylor Release New Single “Looking For Love”

Dom Rivers and Dre Taylor, have dropped their latest single, “Looking For Love”. This single, marks a significant comeback for the duo.

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Dom Rivers and Dre Taylor "Looking For Love" single artwork

The much-anticipated collaboration from the dynamic duo, Dom Rivers and Dre Taylor, is finally here with their latest single, “Looking For Love”. This single, which premiered exclusively on Vents Magazine, marks a significant comeback for the duo, breaking the silence and setting the stage for their upcoming album.

“Looking For Love” is an ingenious blend of classic and contemporary sounds, creating a musical time capsule that resonates with both nostalgia and modernity. It’s a marriage of the shiny suit era of early 2000s hip-hop/pop collaborations with the introspective and innovative vibes of contemporary bedroom pop. The single artfully combines the reminiscent sounds of Frank Ocean and Drake‘s ”Passionfruit,” channeled through the creative lens reminiscent of Kanye West‘s pre-Graduation era.

The song presents a unique juxtaposition of summer warmth and winter chills, perfectly encapsulated in its icy, downtrodden vocal hooks and fiery lyrical delivery. The duo traverses the theme of unrequited love with a backdrop of snapping snares and lo-fi interludes, creating a soundscape that is both sharp and spicy, yet smoothly melodious.

As the track progresses, listeners are taken on an auditory journey through highs and lows, with each verse and hook designed to evoke the best memories of a bygone musical era, while firmly planting its roots in today’s sound. The result is a song that’s far from the typical sappy love track – it’s a sharp, incisive hip-hop piece that demands attention and repeat listens.

Dom Rivers & Dre Taylor have once again proven their versatility and ability to push the boundaries of genre, creating a song that’s both reflective and forward-looking. “Looking For Love” is a testament to the duo’s artistic growth and their unerring knack for blending diverse musical elements in production that is pushing the envelope.

Don’t miss out on experiencing “Looking For Love.” The single is available for streaming and download across all major platforms. Be sure to check out the media kit for more information on Dom River & Dre Taylor and their groundbreaking new release.

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