Jesus Sloan– when first hearing his name it could catch the average church goer off guard, but listening to his music could convert you without a doubt. With songs like “803” and his newest track “Amerie”, In my opinion he would probably be considered too good to be underground and too cool be overrated. I got the chance to sit down and talk to him about what he’s really about and it honestly turned into a laugh fest, dude is really a character! He got into the origin of his name, his upbringing, and his rap influences.
JESUS SLOAN. Why did you choose a name with such a heavy religious connotation? Is it something you could connect to?
Yeah of course! I’m like the Jesus of my life, everybody counts on me, you know? Get shit done! I always felt like I was Jesus— AND my favorite movie ever is “He Got Game” [where] Jesus Shuttlesworth is the main character. I always felt like that was me when I would watch the movie also my favorite genre of music is Jazz. So, when I was first trying to find a rap name, I was tryna find the most jazziest person I could find! Like “Yo, who personifies jazz?”, and the coach of the Utah Jazz is Jerry Sloan; He was like the coach of the Utah Jazz for like thirty years. I was just like, “That’s me”, so I just combined both names and I just kinda rolled with it ever since.
Have you ever offended anyone by your name?
Oh yeah of course, I’m not really really worried about it because I know where it stems from. A lot of people might hear my subject matter in my music or might see myself and be like, “you’re doing a lot of stuff thats like sacrilegious— you’re anti-religious” but it’s like really not. I’m kind of just like taking the religion stuff that I learned in my life and just incorporating it [into music] because I feel like a lot of people don’t like to bring that stuff up in their music. I like to add all different aspects of my life, so a lot of the times you might hear a religious line or something and think that I’m being sacrilegious, but I’m actually focusing on that because I do believe in religion and God.
Who are your personal top five rappers?
Oh God, this is so hard! Okay, this is no particular order— I’d say Jay-z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nas, and for my last one— Cam’Ron.
If you can take one characteristic from each of your top five rappers, what would they be?
I would take Jay-Z’s hustle ambition— ‘cause you know, he personifies a hustler.
I would take Wayne’s lyrical creativity— I think that he’s super witty.
Nas’s coolness, ‘cause Nas is the coolest ever.
He really is… and he’s pretty hot.
[both laugh] …of course, you know Nas— he make you wanna drink Henny. You see that Henny commercial, he’s like “Drink Henny”, you’re like “alright, I’m about to go to the store and buy five gallons”.
I love Kanye’s brashness— he’s not scared to say anything
I’ll take Cam’Ron’s style —he’s iconic with the pink. I was in middle school and I’d wear pink because of Cam’Ron… and I used to wear long johns and stuff because of Jim Jones and the whole Dipset movement; So, you know I fucking love Dipset, long story short!
Favorite song of all time?
My favorite song would be Marcus Houston and Joe Budden “Up in the Club”, because that song is beautiful— that or Omarion’s “Touch” because it makes me feel like I could dance when I hear the beat… or Toni Braxton “Unbreak My Heart” because I like to listen to that when I’m crying in the shower. It just gets the vibes right, you know?
Top three songs you can’t go a while without listening to?
Jodeci— this is facts, this [is] not even a joke! I listen to Jodeci “Come and Talk To Me” all the time.
Man this is hard… Thundercat “Them Changes” and I gotta choose one for the hood one time— Plies “Bust it Baby Pt. II”
What’s your go to baby making song?
Marcus Houston “Naked”, Brian McKnight “One Last Cry”, ‘cause I’m a real soulful dude— but I’m a ruffneck too, so I might put on some DMX. I’ma put on some “Stop Being Greedy” on and get this shit rocking! [a whole bunch of laughter]
What/who do you look into for influence?
I really look at my friends to be completely honest. I ain’t really have no role models growing up. A lot people who were around me were like drug dealers and convicts and shit. If there’s somebody famous I looked at for influence? Maybe like Elon Musk! He be creating new shit and taking shit to whole other level, he’s about to create robots that are gonna kills us so I’m trying to get on my Elon Musk, you know? Except for killing people.
What made you want to become a rapper?
Honestly, it’s because I’m nice! I really didn’t want to be a rapper at first, I thought I was gonna be like a dentist or something. I would always joke around with my friends and we’ll freestyle and they’d be like “Yo, you’re actually pretty good the shit, you should actually keep on going”. Eventually, I got in the studio with my friend Eskay, I’d always freestyle with him and he’s like “Yo man, you gotta hop on a record”, so once I got on my first record with him I never looked back. I just kept it going.
You released a single titled “Amerie” produced by Eskay, I personally feel like you have a little bit of a nostalgic sound when it comes to your music. What other samples do you feel like you would truly do justice to?
See for me, when it comes to music I still listen to oldies and soul—
I get roasted for listening to those still…
Yeah, well nowadays everybody wanna listen to shit that sounds like robots having sex [both laugh]. I really grew up listening to a lot of soul music, anything that’s like… SWV, like New Jack Swing, anything that’s like Teddy Riley based — I love stuff like that. A lot of samples I choose are because they bring me back to a certain point in my life. Very rarely will I choose a song that has a sample on it that I can’t pick out. I don’t like nothing cheesy, but like I’d definitely like something that’s recognizable.
How has your upbringing influenced your work?
Aw man.. it’s everything— I grew up in lower-class suburbs. I’d go to school and be with like white kids, then I’d go home and I’m in the hood with my friends, so I got like the best of both worlds. That’s why a lot of my music— a lot of the references go from something that be as hood as you could get and then the next song I’m talking about going to Panera bread with sandals on, you know what I’m saying? I live both lives. I try to find a balance of the hood and the regular shit that people go through, you know? That’s like another thing about my music, I like to bring relativity. A lot of people like to glamorize things like “Oh, I got eighty chains and I drive a this or a that”, but it’s like…that’s not real… That’s the image that everybody tries to obtain. I like to bring more realistic stuff, like let’s talk about day-to-day stuff, lets talk about school, what goes on in your neighborhood… I like to bring more relativity.
What do you do to stay motivated?
For me, I’m just motivated by my peers, I look at some of the stuff that they do. To stay motivated I just look at my situation— where I came from, you know? I ain’t really had nothing growing up, so everyday it’s like…that’s my motivation. I wake up and I see my family, I see my mom and I gotta go get it ‘cause without them— I can’t let them down. That’s really my motivation, my people around me.
How do you remain an individual in a world where everything is so generic?
Luckily for me, I’ve always hated everything. I’m like anti, if anything is really cool at the moment I hate it. My friends are like “Oh, you gotta listen to this guy”, I’m like “he’s trash”. I just hate everything, I’m like anti— AND I’m always trying to be what people aren’t. Ever since I was a little kid, if people were super into something, I wasn’t; My whole life, I’m off that basically.
Soundcloud or datpiff?
Datpiff! I was like the mixtape marvel. I would download all the mixtapes when I was a kid, so definitely datpiff. Even though it’s kind of obsolete now, so I guess you could say Soundcloud— but datpiff for sure.
Something you would want your supporters to know is…
I love them. Sometimes I don’t really show it enough, but to my people who support me and rock with me, I really really appreciate everything! Whether it’s just a retweeted link or it’s just seeing me in the streets and being like “yo man, I heard your song” I love that. They are really my inspiration. Without them, there’s no me.
Has your life changed since you’ve built your platform?
It’s awesome! It’s just become my everyday, before it was some part time shit like “Oh, we’re bored today let’s just hit up the studio”. Once I started it, it’s just become my everyday life— I wake up and I think music, I go to sleep and I think music. My friends they come up to me and they want to bring up music, so I just feel like by creating this platform it’s literally just become my everyday. I don’t even think of anything else besides music. It helps me out because people look at me and they associate myself with music, like before they would be like, “Oh, you know he’s a cool kid who dresses pretty cool sometimes, he’s pretty funny” or some shit. Now everybody looks at me and its like “Okay, this kid is strictly about his music shit”.
How do you feel about the word “clout”?
It’s pretty cool, [laughs] I’ll lie if say that I don’t like clout, but not too much… I’m not like clout hungry. Certain things I do believe you need recognition for, so I like the word clout. As long as people are not overusing it or killing themselves over it because it’s not that serious.
Favorite Movie of all time?
That’s harder than the top five question, I think its like a tie between “Anchor Man” and “Do the Right Thing”.
If you had a gun to your head, [points finger gun] “Pick a fucking movie right fucking now!”
I’d be like, “Smoke me, ‘cause I ain’t choosing shit!” [both laugh] nah, I’m kidding! Probably I would say “Do the Right Thing”. I really love that movie just because at the time it’s like very in tune with the culture. It gives you a first hand glance, its not fake CGI bullshit. It’s kinda like something that a day-to-day person could go through, it kind of shows how everybody’s really racist. Everybody tries to front like “We gotta be equal!” but they’re the first to throw shade at somebody. My favorite comedy is “Anchor Man” though.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Of course, I’m trying to work with like Lionel Richie, Janet Jackson— nah, honestly though if I could work with somebody it would probably be like John Legend. I’ll do something soulful for the mami’s [both laugh]. I might do something with Petey Pablo—
You know what!?
[both laugh] I’ll deadass make a song with Petey Pablo tonight— if Petey Pablo ever reads this, I gotta open for Petey! Nick Cannon, Gigalo… Gigalo is a classic! [both laughing hysterically] or Kelly Rowland or something.
If you were to die tomorrow, what would your legacy be?
The loud arrogant kid that was actually pretty cool when you met him. I can’t really say much because my story is still unwritten, but for right now— and the kid who wore a lot of nice clothes because that’s what I live for.
Are you a foodie?
Oh yeah, no doubt!
Top three Pet-peeves?
When people say stuff like “Boo-fett” instead of “Buffet”.
When somebody says “paper toilet”, you know cause I’m Spanish so like a lot of people love to say paper toilet.
When I’m at the grocery store and everybody gets in front of me as I’m trying to grab some shit, that really ruffles my feathers.
Twitter or Facebook?
Oh my God, Twitter!
Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon?
Aw man, that’s tough for me because my younger age was probably more Cartoon Network. When I was younger, I loved Johnny Bravo and Ed, Edd, and Eddy— but also love like Doug and Hey Arnold, so like it just depends.
Will you be releasing any more new projects?
I got a couple things coming, we got the Realife project— which is me and my friends. I got my own project, “What Would Jesus Do?” is coming out in the next two months. We just working out the kinks, but yeah this summer is gonna be a lot of fun! We got a lot of new music, we been working— it’s not like we’re not working, it’s just that we’re planning everything out, getting everything right— It’s a marathon not a race.