DJ Spoko's New Label Signee Jay Carson Aims To Take South African Rap To The Future

Jay Carson, the latest of South African rappers to be signed to DJ Spoko's label, aims to take South African rap to the future.

In addition to pioneering his unique brand of 'bacardi house' and recently gracing New York with his incredible sounds earlier this month at Electronic Africa, DJ Spoko also runs a label called Ghetto Boyz Music. His newest signee Jay Carson is a Pretoria native with a mission to deliver a fresh, new perspective to South African rap. After linking up with record producer and childhood friend Gustavo, Jay Carson began crafting his sound within a larger collective of local musicians known as PaperKlip. At some point he was introduced to DJ Spoko and, together with Gustavo, Jay Carson completed his first EP entitled Futuristicart. The EP's lead single "Me & My Niggaz We High" features a blistering, warbling bass-line with a drum cadence that's somewhere in between UK grime and trap. We had the opportunity to speak with the up-and-coming Jay Carson below.

Okayafrica: How did you and DJ Spoko link up? Can you describe your first time meeting him?

Jay Carson: Yoh!!! Actually me and DJ Spoko, we come from the same 'hood "Phelindaba." I knew this friend of DJ Spoko called Phillip and that guy really had the belief that my music could go viral... so he was like, "Lets make some time. I can take you to some guy that can help you out," and that was Spoko.

The first time I met Spoko I was assuming a lot — thinking that maybe my music won't really relate to his thoughts. At that time I had a mixtape. When I got to Spoko's place everything was cool, it was sort of a session of brotherhood. We spoke about basic stuff like getting to know each other and I handed out the mixtape to Spoko, then he played it on his laptop. When everyone was listening someone was like, "Is that you rapping on this track?!" At that time I received compliments to my work that I've never heard. Spoko heard what I wanted and needed, and knew where I was lacking so he was very helpful.

OKA: What sounds inspire your music? Who are some artists that have directly influenced your music?

JC: Futuristic sound and nothing else. Most of the people that influenced my music are based in South Africa like, Spoek Mathambo, DJ Spoko, Gustavo, Okmalumkoolkat. Those are the future sounds of Mzansi.

OKA:  In your opinion, what's the music and cultural scene like in Pretoria?

JC: Honestly speaking, the music industry in Pretoria is growing, but most of the musicians, they all want to do the same thing. They don't really get the point of creativity is the best way on this game.

OKA: How would you describe your sound and what was the inspiration behind your debut EP?

JC: My sound is something that is based in the future. Something that could be played inside a UFO. What really inspired me by working on the Futuristicart EP is that I wanted to do something different — something that nobody has ever heard before unless  you've seen the future or been to space!

Watch the music video for Jay Carson's "Me & My Niggaz We High" and stream the track above. His 5-song Futuristicart EP is available on iTunes.

Photo courtesy of AYLØ.

Interview: AYLØ Bridges His Music & Universe In the 'Clairsentience' EP

The Nigerian artist talks about trusting your gut feelings, remedying imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do.

AYLØ's evolution as an artist has led him to view sensitivity as a gift. As the alté soundscape in the Nigerian scene gains significant traction, his laser focus cuts through the tempting smokescreen of commercial success. AYLØ doesn't make music out of need or habit. It all boils down to the power of feeling. "I know how I can inspire people when I make music, and how music inspires me. Now it's more about the message."

Clairsentience, the title of the Nigerian artist's latest EP, is simply defined as the ability to perceive things clearly. A clairsentient person perceives the world through their emotions. Contrary to popular belief, clairsentience isn't a paranormal sixth sense reserved for the chosen few, our inner child reveals that it's an innate faculty that lives within us before the world told us who to be.

Born in 1994 in Benin City, Nigeria, AYLØ knew he wanted to be a musician since he was six-years-old. Raised against the colorful backdrop of his dad's jazz records and the echoes of church choirs from his mother's vast gospel collections, making music isn't something anyone pushed him towards, it organically came to be. By revisiting his past to reconcile his promising future, he shares that, "Music is about your experiences. You have to live to write shit. Everything adds up to the music."

Our conversation emphasized the importance of trusting your gut feelings, how to remedy imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do,

This interview has been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


Bobi Wine and His Wife Released from House Arrest

Ugandan politician Bobi Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi have been released from a near two-week military house arrest following a recent ruling from a Ugandan court.