Jalaya Hollis: Delivering Truth in Music

It’s easy for an artist to share their reality when they are financially removed from poverty, It’s the foundation of a multitude of the success stories we often hear. However, it takes a special kind of courage to speak on the struggle while in its midst. Few are as courageous as Jalaya Hollis.

As an emerging artist, what are your thoughts on the today’s music and the relevancy of female emcee?
I love it. There’s a little bit of excitement when I hear of another one popping up. I love how there’s minimal beef right now too. We’re collaborating, name-dropping each other, and showing love. That crabs in a bucket mentality been garbage from the start.

When you say that you write broke bitch anthems, what does that mean?
I’m very broke right now. It’s no deeper meaning to it. All my songs are about how broke I am. Maybe when I get money I’ll talk about how it feels to be rich like Kamaiyah.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Music sets me free and if I can make a living off of it, even minimal, then it’s what I want to do.

Tell us what do you look for when selecting beats?
There’s no select formula but every beat needs to work with me and allow me to switch up my flow. I don’t like busy tracks.

What sets you apart from other artists especially women?
We’re all individuals. I’m not too innovative or anything but I don’t lie in my music. I also write every single word, even the chorus. I write a lot of pop songs, like radio station pop. I try to be as real as possible in the lyrics and play with being as catchy as I can with the chorus so that’s the bait to listen. No one wants to listen to you rap the alphabet in the verse and then sing the encyclopedia for the hook.

How do you feel about the role of sex in the music industry?
I think it’s a double edged sword but if you’re in charge of your own body, no one can tell you shit. People love to bitch about Black women’s bodies and how we choose to view ourselves. I’m not very sexual in my music but only because I was raised ultra conservative in a strict household and my grandfather is still around. It’s just not me as an individual but if it was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. People are going to bitch at Black women for nothing anyway so you might as well be doing you.

Do you feel that sex and looks overshadow talent?
Maybe in the mainstream but not my personal choices. I hang with a lot of different groups, from the skaters on Fairfax in front of Supreme and Tyler the Creator’s store, to some hippie chicks that only listen to Badu and SZA, up to everyone in the middle. We’re in L.A. We usually hear what’s new before everyone else or hear about what label is fixing to premier who, it’s usually somebody we know. We don’t pay to go to the major label artists’ concerts, we know their hairstylist, the interns that break their backs for no recognition. It’s not a myth that L.A. follows trends in everything, but in my experience music isn’t one of them for this city. If you need an artist, specifically a female artist to look a certain way before you listen to her, you can’t hang with no one I know because a hood nigga from Watts played me SZA and my art friend TheArtofKwar is real big on new woman artists, they’ll both dub your buster.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
With my feet on the desk at Marvel while I’m on the phone with Lions Gate. I don’t want to be rapping.


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