Interviews 27 October 2016
Author: Jaik Fenton

GRM EXCLUSIVE: Jaykae on fatherhood, his hiatus, Depzman & Mist

Author Jaik Fenton
27 October 2016

Saturday sees the ‘Stand For Something’ Dr Martens show reach the midlands and enter Birmingham. Joining Birmingham headliner Paigey Cakey, JayKae will be heading to Mama Roux’s for a very special hometown show.

With this in mind, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with the man himself and touch on a few subjects both musically and personally.

The ‘Stand For Something’ Dr Martens show reaches Birmingham this Saturday, and you’re the main support. How does it feel to be representing your hometown?

It’s great to be recognised and to be able to put on a show for the fans in my town, so I’m looking forward to it. 

You’re a proud Brummie, how does performing in Birmingham compare to anywhere else in the world?

It’s pivotal for me, because the crowd have to know your words. It makes a big difference. You can get them on side a lot easier as you’re local and they know you very well. For example, when Eskimo Dance came to Birmingham, the MCs that came through killed it, so it shows.

Being one of the pioneers of the Birmingham scene, what position would you say it plays?

I think we hold a very weighty position. There was a time when London wasn’t really on this grime ting a few years back, and wasn’t really popping and we took control. It’s a big reason why grime stayed alive. At that time, there was only a few London MCs that were still on it.

Do you feel as if London’s prominence once again has pushed Birmingham into the background?

If you’re from London, that’s your city, you’re gonna rep it the same as any other place. Therefore you’re gonna gas your city up, it’s natural. The people who’ve been around for a while know and respect what we’ve done for the scene. The good thing is now we’ve kicked down a few doors, we’ve built an infrastructure here in Birmingham, which is positive. 

100%. Would you say that period helped to put your city on the map?

Definitely. We were heavy on Lord of the Mics. From LOTM 3 onward, we’ve had a big influence, so that shows how we’ve progressed and become foundations.

You took a hiatus from music. What would you say has changed in the scene since you were away and since you’ve come back?

I think social media is now playing a bigger part in it. If you know how to use it well, you can have a very successful career. There’s more importance on views, how many retweets and follows you get, how many people watch your SnapChat etc.

Definitely. Would you say the whole social media influx takes away from the talent that people possess?

I wouldn’t say so. I just think that YouTube is a big place and you can watch anything. One thing I’ve noticed that one day you can be something and the next it’s forgotten about. Therefore, you’ve got to keep your buzz going, and social media helps that.

Since your absence from the game, how would you say you’ve changed as a person?

Well, I’ve become a dad, so that’s just matured me and made me grow up and see things from a different perspective. Having someone else to think about changes things, and the music thing is very independent and selfish.

With all the things considered, what inspires to keep doing music?

Everyday life, really. Everything I say has either happened or can happen in my life. The people that surround me and all the things that go on continue to inspire my music. At the end of the say, it’s just real life, really.

Someone who was close to you was Depzman. Had he not unfortunately passed, where do you think he would in the scene today?

Stormzy levels if not bigger, I’m not even gassing. I think he was destined for it and at a such a young age. He died when he was 18, so all he had left to do was to get out there and blossom, become a man and go through certain things in life and have the chance to talk about them.

There’s a lot of youngers coming through in the game. Who are you tipping for success in both Birmingham and outside?

It sounds a bit bias, but I work a lot with K2 and Tana. They’re the two younger people around me that we’re looking out for, so those two. Outside of Birmingham, it’s a bit cliche saying now after what’s just happened but Dave. I’ve been listening to him for a long time and now he’s got a Drake remix, it’s mad. 

Staying on that subject, what are your thoughts on that collaboration?

I don’t understand how people can be negative. The guy is 18 and he’s just got the biggest collaboration you can get out there… Drake has remixed his tune, they all need to shut their mouths. I tweeted his lyrics the other day, and he appreciated the support, and then it gets remixed by Drake, it’s crazy.

The negative viewpoints seem to creep up from people a lot. What do you think of it all?

I just think you can’t make everyone happy, that’s life. Going back to the Drake remix, you can’t get a bigger win, you can’t get a bigger feature, so I don’t know why people are trying to turn their noses at it. By Drake doing, he’s putting a lot of Canadians and Americans onto Dave and the scene, which can only be a good thing.

In the last couple of years, the scene has elevated hugely. Do you see it potentially spiraling out of control with regards to integrity?

Personally, I feel like the real is prevailing. Conscious and meaningful bars are doing better now, people aren’t getting gassed by gimmicks anymore. Currently, it’s about quality over quantity which I appreciate and it means it’s going in the right direction.

We’re getting towards the end of the year. What’s the Jaykae master plan for the next 12 months?

I’m gonna drop an EP in the couple of months which’ll be called Where Have You Been?. I’ve got my headline show in Birmingham at the O2 on the 23rd of December. Also, I’m trying to get into the festival circuit for next year, so I’ve just got a booking agent. I just want to perform my music everywhere I can. After that I want to release more work.

Picture yourself in five years. What are your goals? And what do you see happening?

I’d hope to be financially stable to look after my whole family and friends to live a life we thought wouldn’t be possible. If I’m still doing music in five years time, I want to be at a big level. I’m not trying to be on some little man ting. I’m trying to take it to next levels and let the music open doors for me in to other areas. The internet is so easy to contact, so it’s hard to say where I’ll be in five years.

During the Rio Olympics this summer, you hit the papers with the swimmer Adam Peaty singing your praises. Talk to me a bit about the relationship between you two.

I’ve been speaking to Adam for a while now and I knew he was gonna smash it at the Olympics. He said to me that any chance he’d have to mention me, he would. I told him respect for that, but don’t be silly, go and do your thing. Literally, an article came out and he talked about how he listened to my music before he races and that. After that, my music started being played on Talksport and other places which was mental. Even, when my show went on sale, he bought eight tickets, so I’ve got a lot of love for him. He’s proper stuff.

Moving on to another friendship, Mist has seen a meteoric rise of late. What do you think of it all?

This time two years ago, me and Mist were in jail. I’ve seen him on a visit in jail and I wouldn’t have this all happen so quickly. Obviously, I’ve been doing music for a while now and he has too, but not really pushing it. He’s come out and absolutely taken over, he’s the biggest rapper in this right now, hands down, no arguments. That’s a big market to say that in too. It’s not knocking anyone’s accomplishments, but right now Mist is the biggest rapper in the UK.

Finally, what can we expect from Jaykae in the near future?

Apart from the EP, I’ve got a single called “Know” coming out, which will come with a video in November. Me and Dapz On The Map are working on something, so keep your eyes out. Finally, grab tickets for my headline show at the O2 Academy in Birmingham in December. 

Be sure to grab your tickets for Jaykae’s headline show on December 23rd at the O2 Academy in Birmingham.