JPEGMAFIA is mid-way through watching a 5-hour cut of Watchmen as he picks up the phone for our conversation. A few joints down, he expresses a slight anxiety about his first UK interview - not that any nervousness showed through the course of an hour-long chat that touched on politics, celebrity, success and his military past.
The Los Angeles rapper's new album Even God Has A Sense of Humor steers towards jazz, soul, and a search for self-knowledge: “I made some of these songs, and these songs in turn grew to teach me about myself and the world”
“I listen to Deftones a lot. I like Nirvana. I fuck with KISS. I really like KISS. Ever since I looked them up on the internet I fucked with it.”
“There’s definitely two sides to hip-hop, and I’m blessed to be in the camp I’m in. In another world I could be having to rock skinny jeans, leather jackets and a Goyard purse. That’s not really me, though.”
Today’s most vital artists cross genre lines, moulding elements of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, punk and soul to create sounds which defy expectation and confound categorisation. In the late seventies, The Specials were doing the very same thing.
Yung Mal has a lot on his mind. It’s September, and up until now, rapping is mostly how he’s processed a year in confinement: several months in jail, and now house arrest. In his first interview since coming home in January, the rapper spoke to BRICK about his musical process, where he’s headed next, and how his support system has helped him navigate incarceration.
Durk’s latest album, The Voice, isn’t celebratory in tone. Much of it is a poignant look into the pain, loss, and tragedy that have surrounded his ascent. “I always found my lane was to be soulful, to speak to my past,” he tells Atoosa Moinzadeh.
Going five years back into the BRICK archives for a discussion with the 2022 MOBO Album of the Year winner from Edition 04.
"We’ve experienced a lot of life in the past year. We’ve grown up a lot, very quickly." In BRICK's Edition 05 cover story, BROCKHAMPTON reflect on their rise, before all jumping into a freezing cold pool for our photoshoot.
“I'm from Atlanta, this is embedded in me. It's in my veins, that style of music. That's why I ain't silent.”
In just four years, Lil Baby has attained all the signifiers of modern rap excellence — hyperproductivity, a heavy presence on the charts, and a growing list of successful neophytes — and it only took him about half as long as it did for his predecessors.
“Some people don’t want to improve; some people don’t like to be pushed. But I do. If I’m happy to stay at the same level and make another album like Stillness in Wonderland, I could have done that in no time. But that’s not growth to me, that’s not evolution.”