Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q & Ab-Soul Explain Jay Rock’s Importance To TDE (Video)
According to his latest video single, Jay Rock is winning. While the Watts, California MC is not one to take L’s, his fans can agree that he is overdue. It was 11 years ago that the raspy-voiced MC with the pavement poetry was put on the front lines of a venture between Top Dawg Entertainment and Warner Bros. Records.
That venture did not work as planned. “[Jay] Rock went out there and took all the punches. We needed to have that in order to build what we have today,” says TDE executive Dave Free in J.R.’s “Road To Redemption” album trailer. Years spent in waiting on Warner allowed Jay Rock’s buzz to build. Years before Kendrick Lamar joined the Aftermath Entertainment family, Dr. Dre cosigned the rapper who also goes by “Eastside Johnny.” Lil Wayne also showed collaborative love, at a time when Weezy reigned supreme. Looks came, and the grind paid off.
Jay Rock stayed rooted in one of the country’s most notorious neighborhoods and refined his craft. He also kept his Compton right-hand-man close. In the trailer, Kendrick and Jay are compared to Starsky & Hutch: two inseparable friends on a mission.
June 15’s Redemption may be a crucial destination on that mission. Rock is achieving new bests this year, thanks to “King’s Dead” and a new “Win” single in rotation. “Jay Rock is about that struggle, that real music,” says K-Dot. “He’s always [in Nickerson Gardens]: physically, mentally, spiritually, because that’s who he is.” Ab-Soul points back to debut mixtape Watts’ Finest, “[Jay Rock] can’t go too long without telling you where he’s from.” Dave Free shot the photo of Jay just steps from where he grew up, displaying his proud ties to those roots.
ScHoolboy Q describes his friend: “Jay Rock was always a humble dude. You get this image of Jay Rock that he’s this aggressive [gang member]. If you [take] his voice and look at him, yeah, he’s scary as a m’f*cka.”
The trailer features old footage from Rock’s 2007 electronic press kit, including him getting taken away by crass police, showing his childhood residence, and demonstrating his hops on the basketball court. New music, presumably from the LP, plays as Jay Rock’s “Road To Redemption” nears its next checkpoint.