There’s a lucid air of confidence surrounding F-Jay as he walks through his University’s production studios. The young man from Deptford wears this confidence well – like a Reservoir Dog sporting a chic black suit in the L.A. morning sunshine.
The chic swagger translates into his music with a rhythmic ease. F-Jay deals in relentlessly rapid vocals, levelled out by chilled-out back beats that evoke happy memories of early 90’s hip-hop. When he pauses for breath after the marathon of glib lyrics he buzzes, there’s none of the sharp synthesised sounds which can be found in most other modern R ‘n’ B acts’ songs. Instead, there’s just a refreshing lean back and exhale moment, before F-Jay resumes and pulps back into his tongue-in-cheek bars.
Jason Ukaegbu, as F-Jay is known to his nearest and dearest, began his journey into music on the school playground, aged 12. Surrounded by amateur mc’s and rappers he didn’t take long to start writing and spitting his own lyrics. At this stage it was the Grime and Garage scenes which inspired and perspired within the young Jason’s playground lines. A few rap groups later, one of which bore the moniker ‘Vocal Siblinz’, and F-Jay was ready to move on to creating music professionally.
A key inspiration for the music which F-jay is currently producing is Jay-Z. Although F-Jay missed out on the mega-rapper as a kid, he says that listening to Jay-Z retrospectively has still had a profound effect on both his lyrics and the music which he asks his producers – Charmer & Sigala – to dream up. “He’s a big figure – I’m just mesmerised by how he did things.”
There’s more to F-Jay than supreme vocal technique however. As a person, he’s no fool and uses the music that he creates to communicate deeply constructed messages. He despairs at current music culture and its focus on the circus which surrounds the tunes that artists create. “We’ve lost the word music.” he explains, “We concentrate on everything around the music. The Youtube views, the fan-base, the look. All I care about is the music and it’s a shame many people have lost that.”
And this brings us down to the crux of F-Jay and his intriguing music project. He offers complex narratives delivered with a catch-all simplicity to form a unique and modern style. A style which is summed up best in his very own words – “Live Before You Die”. LBYD has become a recurrent mantra for F-Jay, so much so that he’s began to print it out on T-shirts to spread the message which has served him so well.
It is the Live Before You Die attitude which has propelled F-Jay to where he is today and it will continue to spur him on to create even more Hip-Hop that mixes swaggering confidence and chilled, intelligent lyrical skills.
This article was originally published on Turn On Tune In