We recently connected with Jamal Jordan for an interview, the 28-year-old school teacher from Oakland, California. Known as Oakland’s hottest rapper, he was born and raised in the bay and grew up in the height of the bay area music scene. Infused by his parent’s love for music, Jamal has risen to the top of the hip-hop industry by putting together several high-quality projects. His latest work, titled “The Cost Of Living” is one of the most authentic pieces out right now. Be sure to grab the EP and read our interview to find out what makes this kid so special. Also, keep an eye on his upcoming work – he’s highly underrated!
RMR ‘s Jamal Jordan Interview
*This article was edited and shortened for clarity*
Respect My Region: When did you start rapping?
Jamal Jordan: I first started rapping when I was 11 years old. At that point, I was just getting my thoughts out and being expressive. Then when I was 19, I started recording music. I would go to Hayward, California which is a suburb just outside Oakland to record.
RMR: What inspired that?
JJ: It was honestly me. I wanted to creatively express the shit I was feeling. My Mom would let me go to best buy to pick up some CDs. I think back then the two I had was Marshall Mathers LP and something by Rah Digga.
RMR: Do you have a musical background? Or where did you pick up your knack for music?
JJ: No, the only musical experience I had was participating in the band in the 6th grade. That’s where I played the trombone. As I got older, I taught myself how to play the bass guitar, but forgot. Honestly, I got my knack for music from my parents. They’re music lovers themselves, mostly my mom, but she put music in me. My mom would listen to 80’s and 90’s R&B a lot. I was around R&B sounds and because of that, I’m super familiar with the 90’s R&B. I still listen to Blackstreet. I don’t listen to them, but I like Total.
RMR: Where did you get your flow from and who has had the biggest influence on your style?
JJ: Shit, I don’t even know. You start to sound like the person you listen to the most, right? I don’t feel like I sound like anyone. I just developed it from my ear. I stopped listening to other people and tapped into my own waves and own thoughts to make up my own sound.
RMR: What is your musical and writing process?
JJ: I look for beats, typically I might sort through 10 of them. Just off the surface stuff that I’ve heard and then I’ll come back and listen to them and think to myself, what type of sound am I looking for. If I get a certain type of beat then that is the direction that I will go with the song. I wrote Pt. 2 Freestyle in like 20 minutes, shit kept coming and coming. Same thing with the song Vintage. I wrote it an hour before the studio, including the hook and everything. I wrote the entire “Cost Of Living” EP project in two weeks. When I’m working on rhyming words it just flows and comes to me.
RMR: What is your favorite album and artist of all time?
JJ: Kanye West graduation is up there, Kendrick Lamar and his Good Kid MAAD City off the top. Nipsey Hussle’s latest album is fire. Like super fire. Earl Sweatshirt is an acquired taste. I find it hard not to like him, but see why a lot of people might not. Jadakiss though is my favorite. He’s apart of the real shit, with wordplay, the grown man shit. All of it.
RMR: What is your favorite song that you’ve recorded?
JJ: My favorite is probably uh, has to be between “Audience,” “Best Thing” and “Dollar and a Dream.” “The Art of Finessing” is another song that I love, it actually might be my favorite song. I actually wrote “Best Thing” for myself. It was a message to me.
RMR: Who is an artist that you would love to work with?
JJ: It would be cool to work with Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples or anyone in Top Dawg Entertainment.
RMR: What is a dream venue or city that you would love to play in?
JJ: Just some festival with more than 10,000 people, I don’t care what it is. I want to do festivals and be the guy that no one knows, but after they hear me play, people find it dope and they leave as fans.
RMR: When could we expect something new from Jamal Jordan?
JJ: Me? I mean I’m just trying to push my issue. Right now, you can Google my name and it comes up as me. It’s crazy. I know if you can see me on there right now, I’m doing something right. I’ll be putting out more content on Instagram and doing some more videos. I’m looking forward to this summer.