Jay Elly recently released his album “Take No Elz”. The album is a full fledged story on revenge in the best way. Elly mentions throughout the album the losses he’s taken over the course of his life. However what’s more prominent throughout the album are the victories the Kentucky artist has attained. I sat down with Jay Elly to talk about all that in the interview below.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know still, who is Jay Elly?
Jay Elly: I’m a rapper from Kentucky. Jay Elly is a nickname I was given growing up lol… I’m just me, 100% authentic, you’ll learn more about me in a minute I guess lol
DEHH: Tell me a bit about growing up in KY, how did you become a fan of hip hop?
Jay Elly: Growing up in KY is pretty much the same as growing up anywhere depending on your situation. We got nerds, we got hood niggas, we got bad bitches, we got boujee joints, we got fakes, we got cool people, we got lames, we got hoods, we got more fortunate sections, etc… I’ve been to various cities and I see most of the same. What I can say is me and groups of my peers have helped create a more cultured scene here and kinda move the needle for people to be able to be themselves and be comfortable in that. It’s been dope to be apart of and we were able to do that mostly through music and fashion. That’s what made me a fan of hip hop in general was seeing how people can be so easily influenced by it and seeing the changes it can lead people to make; how it makes people feel.
DEHH: When did you make the transition from fan to feeling like you needed to make your own imprint on hip hop?
Jay Elly: Towards the end of high school I was still rapping for fun just as a hobby but early into when I started college I noticed people were starting to relate to my story and what I was saying. I felt like I could speak to people in a relatable way so I started getting serious with it and opening up to people via song.
DEHH: “Take No Elz” how did the idea for the album come about?
Jay Elly: Haha well it came from my nickname being Elz. ( an even shorter nickname for me cause my nickname is already “Elly”). One day in the studio after I finished the music, I was listening to it and reflecting on it and I’m pretty sure I just blurted out “Take No Elz”… my homies didn’t like it or understand it and they let that be known but once I explained to them my reasoning behind it, they agreed it was dope.
The reasoning behind it being that i didn’t want to take anymore steps backwards. I wanted to push forward and win at all costs. Previously I had released an album, which I thought was the end all be all and it wasn’t, it ended up being a major step back for me in my career because the project was buzzing locally but I had no follow ups and whatever whatever. So with Take No Elz it’s just a mindset. Let’s not take steps backwards, keep working, win at all costs…. plus it’s a play on my nickname.
DEHH: Nowadays a lot of emcees copy what they’re seeing be glamorized in the media. I was impressed by your ability to craft an accessible sound but in your own way. Can you talk about that a bit?
Jay Elly: I mean I really just make music the way that I think it should be made. I know what I thought was dope growing up that I can draw influence from and I also listen to current music so I know what’s current sonically but when I record, I have an idea that I think would be perfect to go with this beat and I just let it go. My story, my feelings at the moment, my lingo. Just 100% me.
DEHH: Before “Take No Elz” did you take any losses that severely changed the way you move and operate?
Jay Elly: YES. As I mentioned earlier about the whole dropping a project and thinking that’s going to be the one that pushes you over the edge was a loss. So many business lessons I’ve learned along the way. Opportunities I let slip by just because I didn’t know any better coupled with not knowing how to network properly. Money losses I’ve took in the streets; bad investments. Pulling up to a city and doing an poorly promoted show. Just a bunch of stuff. The list goes on but it’s now Take No Elz! Everything is a step forward!!
DEHH: I have to ask. We’ve all taken a loss, what advice would give to artists that have taken a loss and are discouraged by what to do next?
Jay Elly: It’s trial and error man. You can move past anything, you can do anything. Don’t give up if this is your dream. I’ve prolly done took more losses than you so honestly, your prolly in a better position than me.
DEHH: When people are done listening to “Take No Elz” what do you want them to walk away with?
Jay Elly: I want them to know that this is 100% me; I want them to know a lil more about me and how we live in KY; Know I put my all into this music; I got more coming & that take no elz is a mindset!!! If you put winning effort out into the universe you’ll see winning results.
DEHH: 2018 may be coming to a close but it’s not over yet. What can expect for the rest of the year….a tour perhaps?
Jay Elly: More videos for sure! I’m working on a “Take No Elz Pop Up Experience” tour in various cities. I wanna pull up in your city and kick it for a day. Play some music, sell some merch, holla at y’all. Perform if need be. But also and most importantly I have more music that will be released soon!!!