Born in San Jose California, Jay Greene was first introduced to hip-hop through his uncle, L. A.R who was an up and coming emcee at the time. Once his Uncle got sent to prison, Jay decided he wanted to follow the footsteps and become a rapper himself. Jay learned the art of writing rhymes by imitating the styles of artists like Kool Mo Dee, LL Cool J, and Ice Cube. At 19 with no plans for his future and no interest in college, Jay decided to join the Army. He would later deploy to Iraq in 2006 where he would pen his first album between combat missions. Under the alias “Calio” Jay wrote the majority of “The GreeneHouse Effect” as a way to keep himself grounded during the bloodiest time of the Iraq war. Once the genre of trap music began to arrive to the scene, Jay didn’t receive the response to “The GreeneHouse Effect” he was hoping for, and saw the shift in sound in the rap game, and what made what ‘popular’. After a lifetime spent of rapping and writing, Jay decided to quit the game and sold all his equipment to a friend of his. Now the age of 35, and with the “Trap Wave” beginning to settle down, Jay got his itch back and released his first project after the 10 year break from his early releases, “Back To Rap”.
We listened to Jay’s single “Mic Check” and it begins with a grimy beat to get the song started. The introduction has a dope classic eminem style to it with the initiating lyrics “Microphone check one, two” with a legendary DJ turntable twist on the phrase. Jay begins to spit and we were AMAZED. His flow was iconic, his delivery was fire, and his lyrics were impeccable. The metaphors, the bars, and the way he smacked his listeners across the face with punchlines that’s unforgettable, “Mic Check” is an aggressive, maturely disrespectful rap hit that leaves you making the stank face while listening to the progression in the song. “Mic Check” fuses together elements of a classic rap style that was popular back in the early 2000’s alongside the contemporary trap sound that’s highly popular in beats you hear today. There’s absolutely a place for Jay Greene in the music industry at this current moment. With an overcrowded industry filled with artists who manufactures their sound off of another rapper’s style or swag. Jay Greene isn’t a mimic, mockery act, or novelty act. He’s n determined artist with drive who's ready to be a force in this Culture of hip-hop!
Stream "Mic Check" now on Spotify, and remember to check below for Jay Greene's interview!
How has the change in music since your early releases, effect your style today?
The originality isn’t there anymore. Biting is common practice these days. I’m from the Golden era, so that shit was forbidden back then. Every beat sounds the same and everyone’s flow has the same cadence to it. I would say my style hasn’t changed, I’ve always tried to be in complete contrast to what’s popular.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
The challenges of building a career is what I’m facing. I’m 35 with a wife and kids still pursuing this dream I’ve had since I ripped the packaging off of “Knowledge is King”. Every song that you hear from me that doesn’t have auto tune in it, or the same tired ass trap beat is me overcoming the challenge of today’s rap game. As long as you have face tats and stupid ass hair, you have a fan base. I’m facing the same challenges as every emcee that’s keeping it Hip Hop.
Tell us about “Mic Check” and the meaning behind it?
“Mic Check” is really about the relationship between the Emcee and his Microphone. I love that record, it’s produced by “Kato” who’s worked with Token and Joyner Lucus. The song has this gritty golden era Hip Hop vibe to it, which I’m all about. There aren’t any current rap songs that highlight the art of emceeing. I think Mic Check fills that void. I’m pretty sure people are sick of these tracks about being junkies and sipping lean and shit. Mic Check is about moving the crowd and writing your rhymes which seems like a foreign concept to these new rappers. This is an era where “rappers” do everything but rap, and I wanted to write a song that really brought it back to that element of emceeing.
What inspired you to write “Mic Check”?
You want to know what inspired me to write “Mic Check”? Just turn on any so-called hip hop radio station and listen to what’s being played. What’s being passed off as rap sounds more like R&B to me. I hear more harmonizing than bars. Can we get back to actually rapping?
What’s next for you Jay?
I plan on dropping a few singles this year. I’m not currently working on a body of work, but I have some music that I really want to give to the culture. I definitely want to hit the stage anywhere I can and just represent Hip Hop.
Stay connected with Jay through the artists Instagram!