Recently I was invited to a “show” in the basement of a friends’ apartment, so it wasn’t a legit show, more of a low key get together to watch some guys play some music and rap a little. By the time of the second act this white boy stands in front of everyone gripping the mic with the look of confidence in his eye. I didn’t know what to expect from a white rapper in the basement of an apartment building, but I was sure intrigued by his confidence. After introducing himself and his first song, Jamison got right to it, exploding on the track with aggressiveness and composure. Although his flow seemed it needed work, and his lyrics were inconsistent, Jamison often showed his potential with his lyrics which were witty yet morbid, similar to old Odd Future. After the show I was completely convinced the kid has talent so I asked him to do an interview with me.
Who are you?
I am James Martinez, but all my friends call me Jamie. I am a 21 year old college student at the University of Kentucky majoring in Communications with a minor in Spanish. I am half Puerto Rican and half white, thus explaining my last name and which curly hair.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Seattle Washington, born and raised. I grew up in North Seattle in Northgate in a small neighborhood called Maple Leaf. When I was 16 I moved to Louisville Kentucky because my step dad got a job down here. I finished up high school at Ballard High School in the east End of Louisville. I got accepted into the University of Kentucky and moved to Lexington when I was 18. I enjoy living in Lexington, it is a great college town filled with endless debauchery that adolescents like myself can get into.
How long have you been rapping?
I have been rapping since I was seventeen years old. My older brother was the person to actually get me into it. During one summer when I was up in the Northwest back home on vacation, my brother and I were hanging out and he began playing instrumentals to which he convinced me to rap to. I still remember the first beat I ever spit to, it was an instrumental remix of the Scooby doo theme song from the 1970’s. As I continued I began realizing how much fun it was to try and build intricate rhyme schemes on the spot. It was with my brother’s encouragement on my free styling technique that got me into rapping as a hobby. I have been rapping just fro fun when I am drunk at parties, but this past year (with the insistence of my friends) I began attempting to write whole songs to beats that my roommate had made ( he is my producer). With each beat I try to encapsulate the vibe that the song gives off audibly and write something similar to what I hear. I’ve been diagnosed with ADD since I was 13 and was always getting in trouble for being the class clown throughout my early school years. I believe its my pleasure from entertaining others and my constantly racing train of thought that helps me to rap the way I do. Sometimes when I speak I stutter over my words and speak too quickly. This is because am thinking multiple things at once and want to make several points simultaneously. I accredit this burden to my fast rap technique, it translates very well when rhyming rhymes.
How long have you been friends with your Roommates/Producer?
We met in COM 101 sophomore year. He was roommates with a few friends of mine on Richmond Rd. When it came time to get a new place for Junior year I needed new roommates & so did he. I knew he made beats before then but I wasn’t really attempting to make music at that point. Once we moved in together we got the idea to make a mixtape because he had fire beats & I had a notebook full of rhymes I would jot down in my spare time.
Your rap topics remind me a lot of old Odd Future, do you derive any inspiration from them?
I am a huge fan of Odd Future. In fact one of my all time favorite rappers is Earl Sweatshirt. I actually got to see him in concert in 2013 in Indianapolis on Mac Miller’s Space Migration tour. Earl’s peculiar rhyme schemes and “buttery diction” as he has said are a few of the reasons why I enjoy him so much. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
Influences besides OF?
MF Doom, Slug from atmosphere, and Eminem. I admire Slug because his songs rely on his voice, similar to myself. There aren’t any filler gimmicks in his raps. The way he can paint a picture with his words is amazing. As most white rapper I was heavily influenced by Eminem. He is my definitive favorite rapper. To say I am obsessed with him holistically would be an accurate observation. I love Em for a few reasons. First his impeccable talent for being able to tell stories within his bars. Secondly is his use of alliteration in his rhyme schemes. The man has such a way with words he can make anything flow, and he does. When I am writing a verse I usually reflect on his best works for inspiration. I respect his apathetic attitude and how he will say literally whatever the fuck he wants no mater the repercussions. Eminem Show, Marshall Mathers LP Slim Shady LP are some of my all time favorite hip hop albums in existence. Basically every song on the Slim Shady LP I listen to for inspiration because his rhymes on that album are so brutal, clever and clean that it gives me goosebumps. I also admire him for the fact that he is a white rapper that worked hard to get where he is despite being antagonized for his race. It is a common conception that white people can’t rap, and Eminem was the first highly skilled rapper to really disprove that stereotype. I always enjoy before I am about to rap some of the looks I get because of my race. And I always enjoy the reception I get once I am done performing. It is enjoyable to disprove a stereotype.
Favorite rappers right now?
Eminem, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, Kendrick, Atmosphere. I like a good rhyme scheme. Rappers who impress me have complicated rhyme schemes full of alliteration that are insane but still tell a story or get a point across.
You said you’re working on a mixtape, any word on that?
Scattered Thoughts is the name of it. We have 14 songs for it. I’m going to release it in 2 volumes each with 7 songs. for the first volume 4 of the 7 are recorded. just saving up for more studio time at this point. Scattered Thoughts Vol 1 & 2 will be out by the end of summer.
Jamison doesn’t have a lot of content as he only has 4 songs on his soundcloud, but the young rapper has the potential and intelligence to succeed. My favorite song by him is called “Girl With The Green Eyes” in which he is most definitely on his “Drake shit” as he claims.
Be on the lookout for the Lexington MC in the next few months.