In this day in age, you need a little more than just your music to stand out. For 1TakeJay, he brings the party anywhere he goes. With his signature “wait hold up, we finna turn this bitch up!” tag, the Los Angeles native pairs bangers with personality, while starting his own trends and paying no mind to what’s hot. Read more…
With the release of “Hello,” which clocks in at 726K streams on SoundCloud alone, the 23-year-old effortlessly bridges the gap between underground and mainstream alike. Adding to the equation hard work, dedication, and a desire to be great, 1TakeJay proves he’s only getting started.
For those who don’t know, who is 1TakeJay?
An excited person who’s gonna get it in. Mr. “wait hold up, we finna turn this bitch up!”
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
To be honest, I’m not really trying to fit in. I see myself more as like a rap rockstar. Even though people like the music, I feel like my character makes it pop a lot. That’s why I say rockstar.
You’re from Compton, how does that play into your life and career?
I mean, typical. A lot of people say it was hard, it was tough, but I’ll just say it was regular. Because that’s what I’m used to seeing. It plays a part ‘cause you see a lot of stuff that maybe a lot of people or other people don’t see. A whole lot of tragedies, losing people, stuff like that. But I don’t really pay too much mind, just keep going.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It opens up a lot of doors and opportunities for you. Especially people from the South, they be boomin’, but when they get out here, it’s a whole different scene. I haven’t been everywhere, but I’d been to couple different places and LA is way different. Especially if you’re not from here, it’s way different. I feel like there’s more exposure.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I still haven’t realized honestly. I ain’t gonna lie to you.
They playing your record at Power 106!
I mean, yeah I guess. I don’t know if it’s just me being humble, but it still feels just regular. Like I went to the Taste of Soul (it’s a big LA festival), and people were like, “What are you doing here? You’re a celebrity!” I’m like what? I don’t know, I still just feel regular. Just making music and it’s going up.
What is it gonna take for you to feel like it’s forreal?
A lot of money. [laughs] That might be a deal breaker for me, to make me see like “oh it’s real now.”
Talk about the 1Take collective you’re a part of.
It’s 1TakeQuan, 1TakeTeezy, and 1TakeJay. Really, 1TakeTeezy is the reason we really started rapping, ‘cause he’s been doing it. He’s older than us, so he’s been making beats and rapping since high school. When we first started, he made all the beats, he engineered everything. We had the studio in the room. That’s pretty much how it started, we were just playing around.
We were just making a lot of songs and it was just kind of going up. We saw other people getting like 100 plays, and we were getting a couple thousand. Like 3000, I’m like ooh! At first, I never even tried to rap. I never wanted to rap. They used to just be doing it. One day, they were just like “hop on something.” I tried it and everybody was saying it was good. Then I just kept doing it. One day to the next, it was just blowing up.
You dropped Wait Hold Up earlier this year. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
The creative process… there was none. [laughs] ‘Cause look, my best songs come from me sitting at home listening to beats. A lot of the songs now that are popular, I made on the spot in the studio. Wait Hold Up, I recorded it in 2 days. I just sent it to a couple of my homies to do some features, and then I put it out. No promotion, no nothing. I just put it out.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Really 3 things: never give up, have fun no matter what, and you really can do anything you put your mind to.
“Arco” is a bop. You say “I don’t smoke but baby I’m the plug, bring the weed in,” can you talk about not smoking or drinking?
Yeah, that’s crazy because literally everywhere I go, people offer me so much weed. So much weed. I’m performing at weed festivals, and I don’t even smoke weed. I feel like weed, it ain’t gonna do nothing for me. Like I said, I’m a turnt up person. From my knowledge, weed make you calm. I’m not trying to be calm.
Is it a conscious decision to not smoke and drink?
No, I drink a little bit. Special occasions though not just like “ah, I’m drinking to be drinking.” But the smoking thing, I just feel like it’s pointless. I don’t feel like it’s gonna do nothing for me, like I’m just hitting the weed. I gotta be conscious. I gotta know what’s going on.
Talk about your relationship with Shoreline Mafia, what was it like seeing them surface to the mainstream?
Honestly, when I first heard their “Musty song,” I’m listening to it and I’m like “okay…” I’m not gonna lie. I’m not gonna say I didn’t like the song, but it didn’t really have me yet. But then when I heard the “Bottle Service,” I like “Bottle Service.” When I first saw them, I knew why it was going up. Because you gotta think about it, it’s about having a wave that people can follow. Then I like the way that they got a mixture. Like 1Take, we’re just all black. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they got a variety of different races. Ohgeesy is a “blaxican,” I don’t care what nobody say. [laughs]
He’s so nice.
Yeah, he’s just dope. And Fenix… they all got swag, ya feel me? The kids are digging the swag, and everybody likes drugs. They all for the latest drugs. But the relationship just came from them being real, and just reaching out and connecting. We really boys, boys. Especially me and OhGeesy, that’s my twin. Forreal.
Talk about being managed by R. Baron.
It’s pretty dope because at first, he had been reached out. I was just doing the music: making music, putting it out, doing shows and stuff. ‘Cause I’m the type I really have to mess with you or really know your business to go forward with it. I ain’t just trying to be just be with or under anybody. Even before he was managing, he was just making moves off the strength. Making big moves for me, so I’m like “why not?”
Top 5 LA rappers and where do you see yourself fit?
Let me see. Drakeo, me, Blueface — ooh, hold on. I can’t even do 5, I need like 10. Hold on. I’m not even gonna put me in, take me out. Drakeo, Blue Face, Greedo, Rucci, Kalan, and AzChike. That’s 6. Kalan,frfr.
I saw him on G Perico’s project!
You gotta go listen to his project if you haven’t. He’s hard, I swear to God.
I’m a fan of “Tax Season” because of the bars and punchlines. Best memory in creating The Winning Team tape?
Probably… it was just around that time. I told you I only drink on special occasions, but I went too far. Look, I don’t drink but when I do, I go too far with it. During that process, we had a studio session. Rucci and AzChike got a song called “Light It Up,” so they just ended up shooting a video while everybody was at the studio. There was a lot of people at the studio, and I ended up in the corner passed out. Literally, I threw up in a whole corner, like the whole corner was filled. That’s the probably the most memorable thing from that.
On the Fader piece, Rucci says you 3 are the hottest unsigned artists. Talk about the independent grind thus far.
I just be doing it. I don’t even be thinking about it. ‘Cause a lot of people don’t even know the work, like the behind the scenes work. I don’t have a promotion team or none of that. Me and some of my homies, we do all that. When I got poppin’, it was really because of me, literally. Because you know how when you’re coming up, you’re asking your homies like “hey, promote this, promote that.” But they can only do so much. I just used to stay up for hours sending my song in direct messaging. You know how long that takes? To copy and paste in thousands of people’s DMs, one by one.
Who were you DM’ing?
Everybody. Say if me and another rapper, I feel like we got the same type of music, I’m clicking whoever under their comments. I’m clicking them and sending it to them. Some people used to get mad. But then a day later, they would come back like “hey this is fire as fuck.”
Are you looking to get signed?
It would just have to be the right thing. I don’t got no problem growing on my own and being independent, ‘cause I’m already doing it now. But if they were talking the right numbers and they knew my worth — it ain’t really even about the money. If I catch somebody and they got the right plan and the right situation, then yeah. I’m with it.
What is your take on the music industry?
You realize fast that you’re better off finding and sticking with your couple of close friends, than trying to really wiggle around in the music industry. Because it’s all everyone riding the wave or who’s hot in the moment. I feel like a lot of stuff don’t be genuine. That’s why I just mess with the couple people I mess with and leave it like that.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
To be the biggest that I can be. I’m more geared towards… I’m trying to be worldwide. I’m trying to do some commercials. I’m trying to be at some award shows. I’m trying to expand farther than rap, but build a platform off of it.
How important is social media for your career?
Shit, that goes back to what I was saying, I feel like that’s kind of everything. ‘Cause even before I was rapping, I already had followers on Instagram, just from being funny and doing stuff like that. I never tried to make videos to be funny, it was just me and my homies. Me doing stuff to them or them recording me being dumb. People just used to fuck with it.
What did you do with your first check?
Probably gamble. [laughs] I’m a gambler.
What were you doing before the music?
I was playing football. I’m an athlete, my whole life. All my homies are athletes. Him right here, [points to homie] he plays D1. I got a lot of homies D1. I got a couple of people in the NFL.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I mean you can really expect whatever. One minute, you could catch me chillin’, then an hour later, I be online turning it up. Jumping on the couches, dancing around, or we’ll just be playing Madden. I’ll be at the house chillin a lot, but it never really be chillin’. I be going up, either at home, in the studio, or doing some shows.
3 things you need in the studio?
I don’t smoke so this is not hard. I mean, you might have a little Henny right there just for a little bop. For a shot real quick. I don’t really need nothing. Prolly some food. Prolly some Cane’s or some Chick-FIl-A. Prolly anything fried. Chicken. I am a picky eater. I only eat chicken.
Basically. Prolly something to drink. Prolly some girls. But even with that, I just be chillin’. I just be liking the homies ‘cause when girls be there, you get distracted. Just the homies, ‘cause you catch a vibe with the people you’re with more than anything. That’s probably it.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
A girl start crying when I was performing. I grabbed her hand and she started crying. And I just went to Crenshaw High School and I gave her a hug. She started crying and shaking, all that. It was crazy.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
I fuck with everybody though. Right now, prolly Gunna, Lil Baby, any NBA YoungBoy a lot. A lot. Besides them, I don’t really listen to too much mainstream. I listen to young nigga music, like everybody coming up. On the daily, I run Blueface, Rucci, Kalan, Chike, the 1Take. We listen to our stuff all the time so it gets old.
Can I say two? Drake, but Tee Grizzley though. ‘Cause I be talking shit, and he be talking shit too. Detroit and LA, I feel like it kind of goes hand in hand. Detroit, LA, and the Bay. I ain’t gonna lie, that’s really where I got the idea for “Arco” from. And it was a T-Grizzley type beat. From “First Day Out,” you know how he just gassed the whole beat? That’s why I just gassed the whole beat.
What can we expect?
I just go with the flow. I got so many songs. You know how many people can just say this, but I swear to God. You know how “Hello” can be a really viral song? I prolly got like 7 more of those, already written and ready to be recorded. I really wanna focus on videos, getting my YouTube numbers up and stuff.
The music gonna be there for sure. I just be at the house writing to beats. I’m not banking on like “oh, I hope I come up with a really hard song.” It’s written already. Really just getting hard visuals in, and networking and working with more artists to expand. Trade fan bases and get heard more in the South and stuff. I’m doing that now, but even more.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Just be ready. I’m just gonna say I am a trendsetter. Be on the lookout.