Having started his musical life primarily as a battle rapper, Scottish rapper from Aberdeen, Jahh Jizzle has mopped up the local competition, and has recently just released his debut EP. Jamie Kemp, 23, of Summerhill, Aberdeen, has honed his craft for about four years and has taken on all challengers with what has proved to be a sizeable appetite.
A certain musicality could be attributed to his parents, his mother a singer and his father a drummer but it’s difficult to categorise directly his sound, it is of styles past and present, but not necessarily rooted in the current mainstream. His new project The Jazz Jizzle EP came out on Friday, February 26, with all lyrics written by the Aberdonian.
The opening track, “Intro”, comes in with funky licks of a guitar and a piano loop that evokes the easy life, relaxation and good times. The hook is infectious, and, despite the title, is very much worth listening to, musically speaking. A lot of introductions in this genre are exactly that, little more than skits. Not this one, though. He takes a stroll down Aberdeen, detailing everyday life. Things are looking good, mood wise and outlook, in this one.
“All Over Me” is a bit more serious, and in a minor key. There’s even a touch of rather soulful singing in the hook, via Jahh himself. What’s more, unlike most of his contemporaries, he doesn’t use autotune, either. Very brave all round. He pines for a woman he, perhaps for whatever reason, can never have. The one that got away, the one that didn’t happen for whatever reason. When the conquest happens, it’s out of this world.
There’s some good scratching and talk that sounds like it’s over the phone, which, overall, works with the theme of the track. In fact, Jahh rarely, if ever, comes off point for the sake of riding a flow. Everything you hear is relevant to any given track, like in this one. Anyway, phone calls with the object of your desire is perhaps what’s intended here. The references also imply online, and whether that’d be on the phone, or over the internet, is up for interpretation. Probably both, these days.
Anyway, the beat for “Smells Like Kush” will be familiar to many as “Like Glue” by dancehall rapper Sean Paul, but Jahh puts his own stamp on it. Dedicated to a particular strand of God’s most famous herbal remedy, it details a smoker’s life with a relentless flow that never falls off. Woodend and Seaton are amongst the areas of Aberdeen that get notable shout outs.
The album carries on with “Slut Named Aberdeen”. This kicks in with a classic soul sample, which itself is scratched into an irresistible loop of ‘babe, babe, baby, babe’. It then messes around with that sample, pitching it octaves lower to create a diverse backdrop. This is a tit for tat response to the Central Belt’s “Girl Called Glasgow”. The drums kick in to give it that climax. The beat might remind one of his take on “Made You Look” by Nas. This is where the Granite City endeavours to put itself on the rapping map, taking pride in all things Aberdeen, and not just the women.
The snippet of “Sly Like A Fox” is perhaps more like Jahh in his battling frame of mind. It uses an effect to make the verse rapped sound demonic. Sly and slinky, always getting away with sneaky business and no repercussions. Closer, a preview of “Dirty Grime” is the only indication on this EP that more mainstream and modern sounds are to be dealt with in future releases. A siren heralds the start of the verse proper. It’s an intimidating melody, something you’d expect of a posse cut, or a diss of some sorts. Ears peeled for the full version when it comes out.
This effort proves Jahh to be an all round rap artist, and not just a battle rapper doing battle tracks, like in “Sly Like A Fox”. There’s also “Intro”, which almost paints himself in a light that’s almost radio friendly, yet not compromising and keeping true to himself. “All Over Me”, furthermore, shows Jahh to be more than a bread and butter rapper, singing and doing so tunefully.
“Smells Like Kush”proves the seriousness of the previous track to be not permanent, and that he can switch it round and do something more light hearted. In “Slut Named Aberdeen”, he can’t resist doing a track for the, ahem, ladies yet still it’s an ode to a slept on town and city. The “Dirty Grime” preview shows Jahh to have an ear for the rapping mainstream, adapting to innovate and make it his own.
Jahh Jizzle, with this varied effort, in only his debut EP, has contributed sizeably to the Scottish rap scene, let alone the Aberdeen one. There’s the right mix of serious and getting a little silly, or a bit daft. Jahh Jizzle’s The Jahh Jizzle EP can be streamed and purchased via Bandcamp here.
Words by Andrew Watson