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Is No Jumper Good for the Culture?

The problem with No Jumper is that it introduces its guests based on character instead of music.

During 2016-2017, the podcast No Jumper became the definitive source for finding up-and-coming rappers on the internet. The podcast, filmed to be YouTube friendly, began creeping into the suggestions of every hip-hop head searching for music videos and interviews on the platform. No Jumper’s claim to fame was catching hip-hop artists right before they blew up by purposely hunting for “SoundCloud rappers” who showed potential, but the podcast quickly turned the tables and became the most sought out platform for establishing a career in the hip-hop industry.

Thus, No Jumper’s creator and owner of Los Angeles BMX shop & brand ONSOMESHIT, Adam22, solidified himself as one of the major gatekeepers of new rap.

His most notable guest from early on in the podcast was XXXTentacion; a social media phenomenon turned rapper who got his name from bloated SoundCloud plays, beef with Drake, and a series of violent criminal accusations. Adam got XXXTentacion on No Jumper at the exact second he blew up, which in turn blew up the podcast. It was after this interview that artists began flocking to the ONSOMESHIT store and the No Jumper YouTube page—but like XXX, No Jumper’s rise to fame was born out of controversy.

 
The first controversial video clip featuring Adam22 was in the LA news, where the BMX mogul defended his crew for using homeless people as props for bike tricks on Skid Row. Adam posted this news clip to his BMX Youtube channel in 2014. Since then, he has fully embraced his controversial character. Vlogs of him using drugs, shooting porn, and doing “hood stuff,” are some of the many activities featured on No Jumper’s Youtube page, and virtually every woman interviewed on the podcast is a pornstar.

Adam sometimes vlogs during the functions he attends, where he scouts out people to have sex with him and his girlfriend—basically, acting as a talent scout for amateur porn. The host can be seen asking any decently attractive girl if they are of age, and continually jokes that No Jumper is “out here respecting these women.” But aside from his raunchy, and sexist vlogs, Adam is a pretty decent interviewer, stretching his questions into casual conversation and making his guests feel comfortable in the back of his bike shop where the interviews take place. Guests can smoke, drink, and pretty much do whatever during the 45 minute to sometimes 2 hour long conversations.

While the opinions of commentators fluctuate on all of No Jumper’s videos, Adam got the most shit early on from hanging out with Floridian trap prodigy Lil Pump. Lil Pump Jet Ski was 16 when he started seeing significant success in the rap industry, which typically goes hand in hand with drugs, sex, and partying. Adam was hanging out with Lil Pump and even put him on the debut “No Jumper Tour” super early on in the rapper’s career. He admits to inadvertently condoning the 16-year-olds use of Xanax, Lean, and mountainous piles of weed, but for No Jumper’s advanced level of apathy, this is nothing. Pump would obviously be doing all of this without Adam22 present (I mean come on it’s Pump) but his being there didn’t help the podcast’s image, mainly because the host loves to joke about hip-hop’s infatuation with these drugs.

Adam joked about Fredo Santana’s “lean gut” before the 27-year-old rapper tragically passed away this January, presumably from complications brought about by a history of abusing the drug. Of course, the No Jumper host could have never known the rapper would meet this fate, but it’s a perfect example of No Jumper’s general immaturity and lack of professionalism. Ironically, this is probably what most of his fans crave.

No Jumper is rooted in edginess, which attracts a plethora of artists who feel they can be themselves in the relaxed, non-judgmental environment of ONSOMESHIT’s storage space. But now it’s become more than an underground YouTube channel. Big names like Hopsin, Tech N9ne, and Action Bronson have begun appearing on the show. Adam was even featured in a Rolling Stone article, citing him as “hip-hop’s underground tastemaker.”

This is where shit gets sticky. Is this really what the culture wants?

If you enjoy hearing about what rappers have to say you’ve probably been watching/listening to Sway, Hot97, and the Breakfast Club for years. It was perhaps time for a fresh voice to enter the scene and break down hip-hop’s evolution to SoundCloud rap, mumble rap, cloud rap and the overall weirdness that’s flooding into the mainstream. No Jumper is perfect for this. Adam has put so many young rappers on who would have otherwise been overlooked in the sea of people creating and releasing music. In fact, I’ve found some of my favorite new rappers through the podcast. And who else would interview 12-year-old rapper Matt Ox with no questions asked?

 
The problem with No Jumper is that it introduces its guests based on character instead of music.

Adam even said in his questionnaire with Rolling Stone, “Rap is really about character-building more than anything. I always compare it to wrestling – that’s cliché, but it’s true. You see people all the time who get way more popular because they go to jail. They get way more popular ’cause they beat somebody’s ass or kill somebody – or people think they might have killed somebody.” While this may be the unfortunate truth of the artists behind modern rap music, it says nothing about the music, and it indeed seems as if the music is secondary on No Jumper.

Adam is too infatuated with the “lifestyle” of hip-hop, which perpetuates the stereotypes that rappers do drugs and love violence while distracting from the music that these people put their heart and souls into producing. Even if a song includes lyrics about killing people, that’s not the point; the point is that it’s a song. No matter how ‘lyrical’ a rapper is, once the character becomes more important than music, the songs are going to be trash. Not once has Adam22 asked a guest to rap on his show, or even played snippets of their music as a means of introducing them. This is perhaps a contributor to hip hop’s devolution, and also why XXL Magazine let us all down with their mostly subpar 2017 freshman class.

So when Rolling Stone calls Adam22 hip hop’s newest “tastemaker,” I would take that with a grain of salt. Adam22 cares about hip-hop like Lil Pump cares about throwing ones in the strip club; it’s all about what it looks like on camera. But, if you haven’t already go out and watch some No Jumper interviews. Just make sure you listen to the rappers that it’s promoting because while it’s interesting to learn more about the people behind the music, quality hip hop will always put the music first.

Currently obtaining my undergrad for Film & Media Studies in beautiful Tampa Bay Florida, I love hiking, biking, rock climbing, surfing, and most importantly: hip hop. My favorite rapper is MF DOOM and my top writer is Hunter S. Thompson.
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#IndieSpotlight: N’awlins Rapper A. Levy Is Proclaiming Positivity Through His Music

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

New Orleans rapper A. Levy wears many hats: hip-hop artist, audio engineer, t-shirt brand owner, father, and husband. His music is a mixture of lyrical storytelling, and golden era aesthetics, and contemporary production. “I’m influenced by a lot of things and try to touch on subjects I feel are neglected,” he tells AAHH in an interview.

The celebrated emcee started off his career making parodies and remixes of radio songs. “I’m from New Orleans,” he says, “so Mac, Fiend, Mystikal, No Limit and the Cash Money camp influenced me,” he says, also naming Nas, Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar who give him inspiration from to pen songs.

His journey has been long, with many drops along the way. “To date, I’ve released too many projects to remember,” he says with a laugh. “I started off under the name Young Duece. After a conversation with a local radio personality, I changed it to the most natural thing I could think of … my name.” Some of his past projects include Commercial Break, Best You Never Heard Of, Crashed Harddrive, Super Ugly, Crescent City Classic, and a few others.

“Right now, I’m working on collecting original production with no samples,” he reveals. “My heart tells me to do samples, but financially that’s not the wisest move when it’s time for radio, tv, movie and video game placements.”

He’s received a ton of recognition thus far. “The Source has covered me, XXL, 2DopeBoyz, BBC, performed in Thailand, London, Aruba and successfully did three national tours all in the last three years.” That has all been independent, too. “I’ve [also] been nominated for and won a few NOLA music awards,” he says proudly.

“I record mix and master my music,” he adds. “I book my shows and do my PR, all while holding down a full-time job. My studio — The Hut Studios –has been a local staple for the last decade for some of the best indie artists in the area. In addition to all that I also throw monthly showcases and festivals in the states.”

He is quick to note his primary goal as amassing as much influence as possible. “I want to put my city in the best and most accurate light possible. We’re a city full of lyricists, pop artist, and street artist, but to date, only one part of our story has been told prominently. I want to be a part of spreading positivity.”

“I’m signed to myself. I don’t foresee myself signing any major label deals. I’ve personally had horror stories and heard twice as many from my peers,” he says. Next up is more touring. Bigger and better stages. Festivals, TV, and radio are all in play right now.”

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

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“Ye” Fails To Reintroduce Mr. West

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to…

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to rattle between his ears and tumble from his lips. That noise is great content; filling blog pages and gossip sites, sparking debate across social media and music platforms. But after a casual listen to Ye, his newest disaster, does his brand of pigeonholed creativity matter anymore?

This perpetual media circus is where Kanye operates best. He’s a freewheeling spirit; a madman at the boards, a producer with infinite vision and a MC with a caustic tongue. He’s a master at manipulating a turn of phrase while simultaneously dumping the world upside down-remember when he flippantly suggested that slavery was a choice? This sort of buffoonery is exactly what West has spoon-fed the public for the past few years; and still the world anticipates his every chess move with a panicked FOMO that only Kanye can induce.

West has mastered the art of celebrity, where nothing is sacred or left to our imagination. He lays low only long enough to manifest his next move. The past few months have been no exception. He’s been holed up in Wyoming and Utah crafting a series of projects aimed for release this month. Among them is a collaborative record with Kid Cudi, Ye,  Pusha-T’s Daytona, and an as-yet-untitled record from Nas. Kanye is apparently producing seven songs for each project, digging for samples through some 2,000 vinyl records he purchased and shipped out west.

This most recent version of Kanye is the one we cannot stop talking about. These days we’re constantly confronted by Kanye the enigma- the uncanny fool who can’t dislodge his foot from his mouth- until he releases new music. His art has a timely way of silencing the shit talking; of zeroing the critics back to his inevitable genius — which brings us up to speed in 2018.

Kanye’s production on Daytona will be ranked as some of the year’s best. On the flip side, his newest offering — the slim and trim Ye — is an unbalanced and easily forgotten mess. At a running time of twenty-three minutes it’s chaotic and disconnected, attempting to borrow the best working bits of The Life Of Pablo and Yeezus while ignoring any of the soulful introspection and self-depreciation that made us fall in love with the Old Kanye ages ago.

Take the album opener, “I Thought About Killing You”, for exactly what it is and you won’t be let down. West, the egomaniac, nervously vents about his punishing mental illness and nagging insecurities while never allowing the listener a second to process or feel what he’s living through. The song serves as a false entrance to a world that’s as contrived as the album cover, and hardly as deep as the internet will lead you to believe. Is Kanye really the poster boy that mental health is looking for? He certainly wants you to believe so.

For the album’s actual release, West invited hundreds of “influencers” to Wyoming for a listening party- the industry’s equivalent to a real time gallery walk. Kanye took his show on the road, and in the meantime alienated himself further from the culture he’s spent years crafting and molding into something people once truly believed in. Rather than hitting any impactfulmark by relocating his camp to The Equality State, he created an even larger gap between us and them.

Ye can’t help but put a serious divide between Kanye and his fans. There are moments that work, like the beautifully crafted “Ghost Town”, featuring a rejuvenated Kid Cudi and an incredible hook courtesy of 070 Shake (a star in the making), and the bouncy and biting “All Mine”, which contains plenty of chuckle-worthy bars like “I love your titties because they prove I can focus on two things at once”. But those moments of silly bliss are buried beneath cringe-induced, head scratching blunders which normally aren’t the defining moments of any Yeezy album.

By the time you get to the albums final three minutes, where Kanye recognizes his role as a father to little girls on “Violent Crimes”, you desperately want to believe in Ye, but the damage is done. Kanye West doesn’t want to get out of his own way, andhe might be too far gone trying to create, recreate, and monetize his Calabasas world to make something we can honestly believe in as common folks in 2018.

Kanye’s fall from grace is a marvel; complete with a public breakdown in 2016, a few hobo-chic fashion interludes, and a baffling reemergence into our consciousness with a pledging of love for Donald Trump. It’s without a doubt one of the strangest stories in all of popular culture. The problem is, Ye fails to captivate us as a re-introduction to Kanye West and this new chapter in his saga. It’s lackluster at best, which is a bar that’s far too low for one of hip-hop’s true trend setters.

Ye comes and goes without a single memorable moment. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Instead of debating the quality of the final product like we have so many times with Kanye releases in the past, we’re left with a mediocre soundtrack and the hollow images of famous people in Wyoming dancing around a bonfire.

 

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REVIEW: A$AP Rocky’s “TESTING”

Lifelong rapper, artist, and fashion mogul A$AP Rocky has at long last delivered his third album: TESTING. The project was…

Lifelong rapper, artist, and fashion mogul A$AP Rocky has at long last delivered his third album: TESTING. The project was quickly overshadowed by Pusha T’s synchronized drop that sparked beef with Drake, but still maintained relevancy with mixed reactions from fans and reviewers.

The project opens with an uncharacteristic bang on “Distorted Records,” and then settles in with a feature heavy remix of “A$AP Forever.” The next three tracks feel like a return to his previous album with trademark Rocky flows that lead into an interesting acoustic track featuring Kodak Black through a prison phone. The rest of the album seems to find its own voice and ends on a strong note with Flacko and Frank Ocean rapping over a distorted Lauryn Hill sample. Most had a positive reaction to Testing but some people claimed it was overhyped and even disappointing.

At first listen Testing is honestly hard to get through; it’s a dense project. This may have caused some people to write it off as lacking much progression from his prior work. But Testing is only dense because it’s Rocky’s most mature project to date. At 29 it seems as if the rap legend has finally honed in on his “too cool for you” style without even having any super notable lyrics. Flacko nails his verses on more experimental songs with consistency and swagger in place of lyricism. On tracks like “Brotha Man” and “Purity,” Rocky can be heard spitting/singing with the help of notoriously experimental artists Frank Ocean and Dean Blunt, but reels listeners back in with slaps like “Praise the Lord” and “OG Beeper.” The intro song to the album, “Distorted,” doesn’t seem to fit the project or introduce its vibe too well, but as a stand alone song it’s pretty decent.

And despite the awkward first track, once you’re a few songs deep the album does become cohesive. Rocky makes sure to pay his tribute to Bone Thugs and Three Six Mafia by blending in some chopped and screwed instrumentals, and somehow complements them with acoustic guitar and singing. It was this combo that really made Testing distinct from his previous work.

Overall, compared to Rocky’s electric, Ciroc infused debut album LONG LIVE A$AP, this project is more like a fine wine. I predict Testing will age better than his first two records because it’s scattered with gems that will easily skip your radar in the first few listens.

My favorite songs from the project are: “Praise The Lord (Da Shine),” “Brotha Man,” and “Purity.”

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HSVN – Changes (LP)

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#Premiere: Brooklyn’s Own Corey St. Rose Drops “No Time” & Announces Documentary

We can expect new music and visuals from Corey this year, as well as an EP in 2019.

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