Welcome back to #SafetyMeetings, our new-ish weekly series where we talk to cool people doing cool shit. This week we have JLately, Oakland resident by way of Sebastopol, hip-hop artist & producer, taco truck enthusiast, and all-around #coolpersondoingcoolshit
You’re a cool person doing cool shit. What’s your name and where are you located?
My name is JLately and I’m in Oakland.
And what kind of cool shit are you doing?
I’m making music and pursuing my career as an independent artist.
Tell me a little about the music you make and how you got into it.
I’ve been writing and recording hip-hop music since I was in high school. It was something I fell in love with as a fan and listener first. I could express myself through the music and engage with the music in kind of an individual way. It was something I could do on my own and be able to do in my bedroom by myself.
An introvert’s dream
I have to ask because Bay Area rap has such a reputation – Did you grow up and go to high school here? And if so, did that subculture influence you?
I grew up in a town called Sebastopol, it’s about an hour north and technically North Bay. Bay Area hip-hop and mainstream hip-hop – whatever I was hearing on the radio or MTV at the time – that’s what really introduced me to hip-hop and what sparked my interest. But the music that really deepened my interest was when I discovered what was considered at the time to be underground backpack rap.
Who are some artists that hooked you?
My favorite group of all time is a group from North Carolina called Little Brother. There’s Atmosphere, the whole Rhymesayers crew, Dilated Peoples, Blue and Exile. I went to college in Southern California and got exposed to that whole LA scene when Dom Kennedy was coming up, when Pac Div was coming up. All of that [exposure] made me fall in love deeply.
You’re in Oakland. Where is your favorite place to get food?
Oh man, okay it’s one of two places. If I’m just trying to grab something quick and easy, I gotta go with Tacos Mi Rancho. It’s a taco truck. I know there’s a lot of debate about the taco trucks in Oakland so I’m not saying it’s the best one, but it’s my quick and easy go-to. If I’m trying to go out-out, a spot that I keep going back to recently is Moi. It’s a nice sit down spot.
Thank you for the recommendations, music and food go hand in hand don’t you think?
For sure for sure.
What is your ritual to get in the creative flow?
Clearing my mind and getting in the zone, which often looks like smoking something and having a moment to relax and disconnect from the rest of the world.