Jay Rock Recalls Top Dawg Discovering Him When He Was Just A Boy In The Hood (Video)
Currently on the Big Redemption Tour in promotion of his album, Jay Rock and tour–mate Reason recently crossed the border in to Vancouver, Canada for an interview with Nardwuar. Throughout the video, Nardwuar drops insights on Jay Rock and Reason’s upbringing in Southern California, from Reason’s college basketball days to Jay Rock’s favorite burger joints. But also, Nardwuar drops dimes on their involvement in Hip-Hop, including influential artists and albums of, and before, their time, like The West Coast Rap All-Stars’ “We’re All In The Same Gang” and The Watts Prophets’ Rappin Black In A White World, Jay Rock and K.Dot’s vinyl-mixtape, No Sleep Til NYC, and Reason’s admiration for Fabolous records. However, there was one instance early on in the interview that gave deep insight into Jay Rock and Reason’s emergence in rap and scenarios that led to their current affiliation with Top Dawg Entertainment.
In trademark Nardwuar fashion, the lively Canadian opens the talk by gifting Jay Rock a record from O.F.T.B., the notorious Watts, California group who was down with Death Row Records. This introduction to Rock’s life in Watts leads to a question about signing to Top Dawg Entertainment. Nardwuar inquires, “Where did Top Dawg discover you? Was it really on the porch while you were getting a haircut?” Jay responds, “Yeah exactly. He just pulled up man while I was getting a haircut, man. I thought he was looking for me for something I did, but it was all about music, y’know what I mean?” This revelation leads Nardwuar to think he was on the run from Top, to which Jay reacts, “No, I didn’t run from him. I thought he was coming to get at me about something. So, you know, it wasn’t like I was running from him. It was just like, ‘Oh, Top looking for me, for real? Oh okay.’ So you know, it was kind of like a shocker, but he was looking for me to do music, you feel me?” The answer to which still leaves Heads scratching their scalps over what the “something I did,” truly is.
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Later in their interview, Reason talks about Jay Rock’s role in TDE and his own life as an artist, “Jay Rock, I mean he’s like the starter of all this TDE stuff. Like, a lotta people that’s not from L.A. don’t know that but, when I grew up, I grew up watching the van, you know, drive around the neighborhood with Jay Rock’s face on and playing his music so, that’s the person from TDE that I knew. So, this is like a big deal for me to be on this tour with him.”
As the interview depicts, the TDE lineage and exponential growth over the past decade is deeply entrenched in Central L.A., and if the Jay Rock roots of Top Dawg is any indication of their current and future prosperity in Hip-Hop, newly acquired artists like Reason will prove to be apples who won’t fall far from the tree. Be sure to check out Jay Rock and Reason on the Big Redemption tour in a city near you, and add their respective albums, Redemption and There You Have It, to your TDE collection.