Get To Know: Jelani Blackman
This week we got to know West London rapper, Jelani Blackman...
The last two years have been a whirlwind for Jelani Blackman, since coming to the realization that he wanted to make music full time he’s been working hard on creating his first mixtape, ‘Unlimited’. Along the way he has worked with the likes of Ghetts, Fraser T Smith and most recently the Gorillaz, coming out to perform with them on the O2 Arena stage.
Drawing inspiration from Dizzee Rascal, Lauryn Hill, and Burna Boy - Jelani’s sound gives energy alongside hard-hitting lyrics. Fresh from his headline show in London this month, Jelani is now preparing to tour the UK in 2022 and we’re excited to see what’s next for the West London rapper!
1. For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
I’m a rapper from London, would call my music more indie not mainstream, born in Brixton, grew up in Ladbroke Grove.
2. Who/what inspired you to start a career in music?
I didn’t really think I had a career in music until about two years ago, it was always just second nature for me to make it.
3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Dizzee Rascal and Lauryn Hill.
4. Tell us about the writing and recording process of your new release…
I did it over lockdown, I can only produce tracks when I’m in the mood so I was fully in the pocket, then wrote the lyrics in about half and hour. I always write lyrics quickly, when they come they come fast.
5. What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
I played the O2 Arena with Gorillaz last month - was crazy.
6. Who would you be your dream collaboration and why?
I would love to work with Kanye, just been such a constant source of inspiration and talent to witness.
7. Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
Not usually, but happened for the first time the other day, saw Will Arnett in Piccadilly - he saw me smiling and put his head down to avoid eye contact lol/
8. If you could only listen to one song on repeat for the rest of time what would it be and why?
Would probably have to be Lauryn Hill - 'Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You'.
9. What’s on your playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
Lots of Drum and Bass.
10. What can we expect from your live shows?
Energy energy energy.
11. Have you got any fun livestreams/online events planned for this year? / When can we see you live?
I’m playing on the 22nd at Bush Hall but the next ones after that will be when I go on tour in January, watch out for dates.