Jay Guernon: The Californian emcee you need to know
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Rising emcee Jay Guernon is one of California most promising rising superstars. As he is gearing up for a major release on June 25th, he will be debuting a new sound, new name, and never before heard lyrics. His upbringing in the mean streets of Los Angeles has prepared the 19 year old to live a life on his on in charge and in demand. Taking a more mature approach to music, is going to allow him to reach a broader audience like never before.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Jay Guernon for candid convo to discuss the new developments in his rap career. As he opens up about his personal upbringing and state as a black man and rapper it becomes clear that he will have a bright future for many years to come. Check it out below.
What city do you represent?
I represent Los Angeles to be plain and simple. But to be specific I’m from West LA, where Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles is. I’ve seen the city and my area specifically, go through a lot of changes over the last 10 years. They are starting to renovate the neighborhoods, and it seems like everyone you meet is from out of state. I think that’s mainly because of gentrification. But the reason I bring that up is because I want to represent everything LA stands for. Los Angeles is very diverse, as it is a place where people come to live their dreams out, and is a very welcoming environment. I want people that aren’t "born & raised" in LA or the ones who can’t make it out here, to listen to my music and feel the city. I want to represent everything new and progressive about LA while keeping that authentic LA sound.
Why did you make the ultimate decision to pursue a career in entertainment at such a young age?
I just feel like I was destined for this. There’s just so many videos of me, two years old, three years old, rapping and singing. Family gatherings rapping and singing for everyone. The day I actually made up my mind that I was going to rap was the first day I saw my brother writing music outside. I remember telling him that I want to be just like him when I get older, and ever since then I haven’t stopped making music. Now that I’m older I see all the little games that are played in the industry but that could also play into my purpose. Giving knowledge to others that need it.
Where do you draw inspiration from when you are creating music?
I draw my inspiration from pure emotions or stories that I want to tell. For example, I’ll find a beat that I like, loop it, and rap until I start finding flows that I like. Once I have the flow, I get to writing. Now that I’m older and really starting to study music and other artists, I’d say my process is similar to Lil Wayne’s. Not because I don’t write, because I do, but because Wayne would come up with the majority of the song in the first few minutes. Sometimes I struggle with melodies but I usually have the bars together. I factor that in when I’m making music now. I’ve learned to be happy with what my mind creates because I can always come back to it later and perfect it.
How has the death of George Floyd impacted your life as a young black man?
I saw a quote from George Floyd’s daughter saying “My daddy changed the world” and I think that’s true. It’s unfortunate that it had to be like that but what she said is true. What happened has impacted me mentally and emotionally. It’s shining light on a lot of things that the black community has been talking about for a while now. My grandma was 93 when she passed away last year and she was around in 2019 to tell these stories. People have known for decades about what's been going on but this event might go down as the event that can change it all. Just looking at everything that’s going on it makes you want to make a positive impact and hopefully I am able to do that through my music and platform.
Why did you feel it necessary to change your artist name as you used to go by Lil Drift?
I think this kind of goes back to what I was saying before about representing LA. I literally watched my neighborhood change for the better, right before my eyes. Then over here, I’m looking at my life and the direction that I was headed and I didn’t like it. Like those buildings in my neighborhood, I had to renovate. I still have the same foundation but I needed to make some upgrades so I can stand the test of time. It’s all about longevity for me so in the end it came down to two questions. “Who am I?” and “What do you stand for”. And my answer to that was Jay Guernon. I just want to be myself, I don’t want to feel like I have to put on an act for others. I just want to remain authentic.
When can we expect new music for you?
June 25th. I’ll be releasing my first single titled “Me and Bae” produced by Dnyc3, under my new name Jay Guernon. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be a good time to release music right now but in the end, I decided it was probably the best thing that I could do. I have to continue to build up my platform so I can make the type of impact that I want to make. Also, I wanted to release something that can keep people’s spirits high while they continue to shine light on what’s really going on out here.
How can people get in contact with you if they are trying to land a placement with you or show you some support?