THE JEALOUS GUYS: Bay Watch
As the California music scene continues on the up, one San Francisco born and raised Hip-Hop duo is making some noise. The Jealous Guys have a story to tell.
Words & Interview: Andrea K Castillo
Growing up writing raps like most of their peers, The Jealous Guys decided to pursue their dream on a larger scale and formed their group in 2009. Young and on the come-up, members Ayinde and BizYCasa create feel-good music, and want more than anything for you to hear it and remember where they’re from.
Earlier this year you released your mixtape entitled The Love Mixtape. I like to call it 17 tracks of Alternative Hip-Hop. Do you think that is an appropriate category for the music that you make?
Ayinde: That’s probably the best question, because a lot of people just classify [us] with that straight Hip-Hop shit, and I like that because our whole thing is to just take sounds out of different genres, put it to a Hip-Hop tempo and emotionally master it. I agree with that and I like it. That’s how we want to continue it, instead of just being the “new Hip-Hop group” cause what is the “new Hip-Hop group”?
I definitely agree that it has that alternative sound cause there’s so many different samples in there. There’s some Passion Pit, but that’s just different influences of the music we listen to and want to make. If we could sing that way we would, but we’re doing it in a Hip-Hop style, because we do Hip-Hop.
You can still sing! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t sing. Anyone can sing if they really want to.
BizYCasa: We’d have to get a vocal coach first. I respect people’s singing abilities and the art form of that enough to know if I were to sing, that I would have to really focus and study hard on my vocals.
Your music has many different influences, what do you want people to feel when they listen or see you perform live?
Ayinde: Energy and emotion. A lot of people say that our live shows are very energetic and emotional…it’s all wrapped up in one. We get up there and let everybody know to have fun. We’ve been to a lot of big shows, for instance, and regardless who the artist is, they don’t like to mingle with the crowd. We’ll sit in the damn crowd and have fun. We have a song [on Audiobook mixtape] called “Miss San Francisco”. We performed that song at one of our last shows (no one had heard it before), and I brought this girl on stage. She said she was from San Francisco, so I basically sang the song to her. The song says, “You are the fashionable, respectable representation of San Francisco.” After the show, she literally walked up to me and kissed me on my lips and said, “Thank you for doing that because this was my last night in San Francisco.” That’s the shit that we want for longevity.
In regards to live shows, what would you say is one of your most memorable experiences besides the one you just mentioned, or just overall great performances for you guys?
Ayinde: The very first time we did “Fuck You”.
BizYCasa: Basically we just tell the crowd, everybody has a dream and goals in life, things that they want to achieve, and you shouldn’t let anyone shoot down your will-power to achieve these things. For everybody that you feel has ever doubted you, or tried to stop you from doing what you want to do in life, just say “fuck you” to them. We just do a countdown and let everyone in the room yell it.
Ayinde: And they do it, because everyone gets doubted in life. Tell those who don’t rock with you “fuck you”. But it’s not really like that; it’s the emotion of it. One day, no one in that room should be able to say, “fuck you” because they are all being supported with something in life. Until then, we’re growing to grab people to join that front line with us.
You guys are in the middle of what I like to call a resurgence of the West Coast in Hip-Hop. There’s all this young talent coming out of California. How do you feel do be among the likes of Odd Future and PacDiv; groups like that? Would you say you guys support each other?
BizYCasa: There should always be love and support. It’s always great to see the West Coast doing great things, so I’m proud of all that. For us personally, we’ve realized the bigger we get, we’re going to be aligned with other West Coast acts that are big right now. We’re not necessarily striving for that; we still have to carve out who we are as artists first, and connect with the people that support that and relate to us.
Ayinde: That’s honestly for ya’ll to decide. I support all music, especially if it’s coming from anybody of my race, first of all, trying to actually do something with themselves, and turn craft into business. At the same time, as he [BizYCasa] said, anybody else can have that number one position if we have our own lane. For you to say that is much appreciated, because I didn’t even see it that way, just due to the fact that the SoCal and NoCal thing is completely different. No one looks at northern California, for the very first time (not the very first time), in terms of where you see the growth of Odd Future and Pac Div, and all this stuff with the blogs and shows and all that, we’re actually given that chance, being from San Francisco. Honestly, no one gives a fuck about San Francisco—we do this for San Francisco. For the first time, people are like, “Ya’ll are the representation, finally, of San Francisco.” That’s all we want.
I read that you live by these words, “Life Insomniac”. What is a Life Insomniac? Who are the Life Insomniacs?
BizYCasa: “Life Insomniac” is a term we came up with, which means exactly what it sounds like. Don’t sleep on life’s opportunities; you go for the gusto, you go for the gold. You [Ayinde] wanna add to it?
Ayinde: It means just don’t sleep on life, in anything you do. Now, everybody, especially in the city, walks up to us and throws an “L” up, which represents the “L” and the “I” in Life Insomniacs. It’s turned into more of a cult following with a meaning behind it. People have asked us, “Bruh, would you think it would be okay if I tattoo that on me?” And I’m like, “If you never knew me, and came across that and knew the meaning, that looks like something you could tattoo on you.” It’s not for me to give permission about, it’s just saying “don’t sleep on life,” whatever you do. Fulfill the opportunities [you are given] and make your own opportunities. You don’t have to go with what other people say, do whatever the fuck you want.
BizYCasa: In between the team of artists we work with, we also call ourselves Hail Mary Gang. In a lot of our music, especially on The Love Mixtape, we have a lot of biblical references; no real reason why, it just came out like that. It obviously correlates to Hail Mary Gang. For example, in the game of football fourth quarter, I’m down; I’m going for the Hail Mary pass. It’s to win the game. That’s what we’re all about; we don’t sleep on life and we’re going for the win. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for.
Talk to us about your new project, the EP Audiobook.
Ayinde: Audiobook is gonna be a tape that consists of the songs as well as the visuals. We consider ourselves writers before we consider ourselves rappers. Writers are the ones that make songs, so when you hear it, it’s almost like you read it from a book. If you can read it, then you can envision it, so you’re hearing what we write. That’s why we’re coming out will all videos for it as well. The effort is entirely produced by Jeremy Rose. That’s our introduction to the masses…this is not just Rap, this is music.
How many tracks?
Ayinde: Four tracks, four videos, followed up with more music in the long-term.
Where will people be able to get it?
Ayinde: All over the internet, but come to us. TheJealousGuys.com, it will be there. Twitter, @thejealousguys, or @bizycasa or @ayinde89; I will give it to you personally, and we’ll be friends.
BizYCasa: We don’t ignore people.
What can we expect from you guys in the future? In regards to music, touring maybe?
Ayinde: We’re working on that. [There's] a lot happening, but we can’t speak on it yet…just know that once everything has marinated, and we’re able to soak it in, that there’s more music coming.
BizYCasa: We went to LA and recorded the best song we’ve ever done, so we’re excited.
Ayinde: We’re constantly working…you will see our faces in your city very soon.
Download Audiobook, and follow them on @thejealousguys on Twitter.