Jaka Boski is a man of the moment. He was plastered all over the news last year as the ‘First Ever Rapper To Make Guildhall’, (a prestigious yet notoriously snobby art and music school), then off the back of that fanfare went on to release his debut solo EP called ‘Mount Strive’, a unique sounding snippet of the talent that got him into by Guildhall.
Usually a part of the psychedelic hip-hop trio named ‘Strangelove’, whose presence has been steadily building over the 2 years with stand-out releases and frenetic live shows, he is now branching out into his own material as a stand out artist.
As a reflection of Jaka Boskis recent success, one of the stand out tracks from his EP, ‘Caskets’, made the much coveted Mass Appeal ‘Music of the Month’ selection.
I caught up with him to reflect to find out a bit more about him and his views on Guildhall, the current state of UK hip-hop and his favourite dessert.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jakaboski and I am an Emcee.
Why did you get into hip hop?
Because the older cool kids at school did it and it looked cool and I wanted to be cool too.
When did you first think of yourself as an emcee and why?
I wrote a rap about a girl I met in Spain when I was 15 and it was gully.
What’s this album about? Why’s it called Mount Strive?
It’s called Mount Strive because a couple of years ago I was strafing emotions boulevard, sharing a room with my 12 year old brother and working in a shit pub in Stoke Newington full of dildos. On my way to work I’d walk past a Caribbean shop called Mount Strive and it became this little mantra, carry on, carry on, go for gold. Get some wallet, a slice of melon, some new trousers…you know how it is.
What do you want people to feel once they’ve listened to it and why?
That feeling you get when you realise that all you are doing is projecting your ex-girlfriend onto the new girls you are semi-interested in and that that is preventing you from having any real connection with anyone including yourself.
Why do you think your art form is on the same level as traditional classical instruments?
Because if you feel something you feel something and because Wu-Tang is for the children.
What makes you different to all the other emcees out there?
All the other emcees out there are wack except for the brehs in my crew, they the best.
Why do you think you got in to Guildhall? What makes you special?
I’m good at making what I do sound important.
How has the reaction at Guildhall been from the classical instrument players and teachers?
They all talk to me weird and I sit alone on my own table in the basement at lunchtime.
Why do you think UK hip hop never gets the recognition it deserves?
I’ve been wondering whether it does deserve the recognition. There are so many great British lyricists out there, and by that I mean mind blowing rappers. If you read their shit on paper it’s crazy but musically it's not that challenging. The stuff that was interesting did get recognition, Roots Manuva for example. People who think out the box.Dizzee Rascal.Boy In Da Corner…that blew everything away, people will say that’s grime but I don’t see a difference really, its rap, theres a beat, he’s flowing on it, he just didn’t care for the conventions and went in. UK Hip-Hop needs to adopt some more of that kind of thinking. On saying all that there is definitely a vibe of ‘if you’re not black and from New York you can’t rap’ which is the dumbest shit ever, it’s up to us to change that though and we aren’t gonna do it with cheap imitations of what they do across the pond. Massive Attack. That’s some banging UK Hip-Hop.
Do you think there are any other forms or music that has been overlooked that could be included at Guildhall, like beatboxing or grime?
I think all musical forms could benefit from having a word with each other, whether that means getting them all into a conservatoire like Guildhall I dunno but there should be more opportunities for people from these different disciplines to jam and learn from each other.
Who are your favourite artists (musically or otherwise) that inspire you and why?
Doom, Homeboy Sandman, Andre 3000, Kate Tempest, Jim Goldberg, Timbre Timbre, Erykah Badu, Bellatrix, Dizraeli, Chango Flash, Freedom, Roots Manuva, Mum, Dilla, Al Dobson Jr, Zia Ahmed, El-P, The Roots, Moondog, Fela Kuti, Bonga…They all inspire me for very different reasons but the majority of them are unique artists with distinctive styles that grab me somehow and make me wanna make stuff.
What’s your favourite album?
1972 or 1974 by Bonga, Bizarre ride 2 by the Pharcyde, Fantastic Vol. 2 by Slum Village…Sun Ra’s got some stellar albums. Too many to mention.
What songs are you playing a lot at the moment?
Anything by Al Dobson Jr, T.O.J by EL-P, Blue Moon by Wayne Snow.
Are there any good looking girls on your course?
There is one but she’s married. Actually there’s two really. There are only two on the course and their both chung basically. Thing is if you’re a girl and you play an instrument well then it’s pretty much game over for me. If on top of that you’re from South America then I’m fucked.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
Bare gurners with my mates and some garage tunes.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were growing up?
Shit….Bucky O’Hare or X-men or maybe Super Ted.
What’s your favourite dessert?
What is your favourite film?
Any of the Three Colours Trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What do you think you need to live a happy life?
Tinder and a Latte.