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Uptown Weekly

April 20, 2018
 

Jamo Gang! Gang! but not the Same! Same! by DJ Layne Luv

2018 Hip Hop is full of experiments and hybrids but then there’s those (as TLC would call it) MTB type things…ahem Meant To Be! But Hip Hop culture has always had two conversations….what we used to do and what we’re doing right now. As Jay says “But time don’t go back it goes forward…” so people 30 plus must find different roads to happiness when it comes to being a fan of hip hop music..cuz you sure as hell ain’t gonna find it on the radio. So for the solution, we have groups like Jamo Gang buzzing around the hip hop snobs cool-table. It goes without saying that one of the attractions to the group is a west-coast lyricist legend from Carson California by way of Watts, that’s been in the game since 1996 that goes by the name of Ras Kass. However you’ve got this rapper that has been a part of the hip hop conversation for a while, as he spits “I’m not white…I’m red with a bar tan.” Lol and he goes by the name Everything Lacking Greatness Accomplishes Nothing Tangible but you can call him El Gant for short. Add in the fact that J57 (rapper/producer) is down, and now you have something definitely head nod worthy for the culture.

The group’s names actually derives from a night of studio creativity influenced heavily by a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. A little different from the average weed influenced stories right?…Riiiiight…lol.

My partner Avian sent me over a few links for research on the group and the first video I checked out was “Welcome to the Golden Era” . By examining the title, one may think it’s an ode to grumpy old men wishing for yesteryear, but it really is a tribute to a time that produced MC’s that were built to last. The video paints an even better story by having a Back-To-The Future time booth that some 2018 teenager stumbles across and as they enter, they go back to a young Ras Kass in a LA Dodgers hat and Loc’s (sunglasses). The video takes on a more educational approach as if to say “How can we get them to understand unless we show them?” visual.

When you listen to other songs like “All Eye On Us” , the hip hop head can appreciate they way the rap group embraces the hard core 8-mile gritty flow and the boom bap beats. Despite that, the group has said in other interviews, that they are not boxed in with back-pack-rap , however, it is their lane.

As these individual rappers zip across the country touring and performing, It’s very hard to get the Jamo Gang in the same place at the same time. So in the words of Ludacris, when they move I move…just like that. Ladies and Gents …Jamo Gang.

SOHH: The stories are always interesting on how supergroups get together. How did you guys form?

J57: We pretty much formed with El Gant and Ras Kass already touring together and doing different songs. I’ve known Gant since 2004. Now Ras, I’ve bumped into him a few times as well, but the most significant time was when I was doing a video shoot for the single I produced for Method Man, Raekwon and Inspectah Deck called The Purple Tape. I produced the beat and they asked me to be in the video. I was already kickin it with Ras and Gant on SiriusXM on a show I was apart of the night before, and I asked them if they wanted to come to the video shoot. After that, we went to the studio and made a bunch of records. So after that, we just started kicking around ideas to make more music, but it was DJ Premier that told us “Yo! you guys should really start thinking about putting this stuff out for real”…We all agreed and thus here we are.

SOHH: J, do you produce all the beats for the group?

J57: Yeah I produce all the beats, but I’m also an MC, but in this group I just really wanted to take a back seat from the mic to have two of the best MC’s on the planet just go all out over my beats and kinda just have me orchestrate the vision. Ras & Gant have a lot of input on the structure, but as for me rhyming, I just wanted to sit back and watch what they do.

SOHH: So Ras throughout your career how do certain rappers like yourself that come from California, end up embracing the raw east coast boom bap flow instead of the Ohio Funk that most hip hop listeners are accustomed to hearing from West Coast Rappers? and not just you, but rappers like Xzibit, The Liks, and Souls of Mischief.

Ras Kass: Well it was only one Hip Hop when it all started, and you know the history, it started in the Bronx. So back then, there was no internet or even Hip Hop media, so we listened to everything. It wasn’t until NWA & Too $hort came out did the music slow down to more of that funk you were talking about. But for me it was never a big stretch, to me it seemed like it was something the record companies wanted to market. The West Coast out of a void created Gangsta Rap but it was still influenced by Boom-Bap aka Hip Hop music.

SOHH: So Gant, as I researched you guys on the internet and listened to your sound, other journalist are saying that you guys embraced the 90’s style but are not bound to it. What does that mean?

El Gant: It just means that our eyes are open. We come from a 90’s era as far as influence is concerned, but we’re never gonna limit ourselves. We’re Artists. We’re constantly evolving. There are no perimeters to what we do because we’re independent, so we don’t have any rules.

SOHH: Who does the Jamo Gang make music for? What’s your demographic like?

EL Gant: It’s funny you asked that because we’ve just done like 15 dates and the crowds are really diverse. All ages, colors, cultures everything. Of course you’re always gonna have your Hip Hop purist at a show like ours, but then you get a whole other generation like a younger crowd inspired by the music. It’s dope and we’re really humbled by seeing all these different groups of people show up to our events.

SOHH: Last question. I can just tell in the tone of all of your voices you are optimistic about the culture of Hip Hop right now. Where does that optimism come from?

EL Gant: It’s the old adage, “If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life” There are ups and downs, peaks and valleys with any art. You’ve got 3 artists with three different experiences in this music business, but you don’t know pain without pleasure and vice versa. So when you start seeing the recognition for all of your hard work and then the new fans start coming out, you look at it from this standpoint….everyone in this group already had their brand, but this is a completely different brand… and to see it work…what more can you ask for?

@DJLAYNELUV @JamoGang

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