December 3, 2010



Jaykin is “Vancity’s nicest” – or at least that’s what the Vancouver rapper’s website says. He’s also a guy who I first caught doing some collaborations with the venerable Imaginations Treetrunk crew. He runs with the boys of P.O.S. and he’s recently been marked by some serious culture-shock after some time he spent in Japan. The result? Jaykin’s new project Sneakers and Videogames – consisting of mostly electro-informed beats and some good ol’ rappity-raps, which seem really nostalgic to me. Cop the album (it’s easy and free) and read the interview.

Introduce yourself, your region, your crew…

The name is Jaykin the real way is Jaakan which is a biblical name (and yes that is my real name just spelt differently) raised by a West-Indian family with the majority of my family now living in the U.S. My music co-ties with TheFarLeft which is a circle of artists (D-City & the airtights).

What are the details behind how your new project Sneakers and Videogames?

The whole idea came to me when I was living [in] Tokyo for 1 year. At that time I hardly had any free time [because I was] teaching English and I just found myself either buying new shoes or buying games to keep my mind off the busy lifestyle out there. The name came when I got back to my apartment there after work I noticed the only 2 things that were covering my floor was video games and sneakers. That’s when I figured it out. Tokyo is the center of Japan for entertainment so I wanted to be close to that. Makes sense to do so.

Living in Japan impacted everything for me. This is the 2nd time Japan has done that. First was at 5 years old after having a Japanese exchange student at my home. The culture shock through him remained ever since. Living there showed me how to just be myself more in what I do. Japanese people are usually shy but they express themselves a lot with fashion that stands out from the rest of the world. I try to do something on that level through music. Most important thing I learned in Japan is there’s nothing wrong with standing out by being different.

Did you manage to do any shows while in Tokyo?

I did [a few] shows at different local events in Tokyo. First one was at a university event. Crowd control is not so easy when everyone is sitting down. I think sometimes they just want to respect the performer and respond when you’re done performing which was cool to me. [Another] show was a dance concert which was really live. They really didn’t understand a single word I said but enjoyed seeing someone from a different part of the world perform.  

Did you have any favorite districts that you found yourself spending a lot of time in?

I’d have to say Shibuya ‘cause that’s where I always ran in to my peoples out there. Shibuya is where everything goes down if it involves any type of entertainment. Harajuku is more fashion. So when I go to Shibuya I usually check out my boys New Era shop called “Fames” or go see Yohei at his clothing shop “Bubblez 601.” All New York fashion by the way. Usually I just eat, drink and walk around. Shibuya is pretty much the area where major acts from abroad perform because all the top venues are there. The biggest one is called “Harlem” which is about 4 floors and “Tokyo Zepp” is the big show venue. Nas was there earlier this year. 

What is the hip hop culture like out there?

It’s really inspiring ‘cause they have a huge love for the culture itself and the music. They can’t even understand the lyrics but it’s all love. They study hip hop to every detail. One dude could tell me what exact equipment a major producer was using in the 90’s. Big New York influence I would have to say ‘cause you can see it in the fashion. My friend Kazu who promotes only wore ACG boots like more of a Harlem, NY style. No hoods in Japan but Yakuza is everywhere in suits or sometimes in hip hop clothing. All the districts are on the same vibe except for Shibuya which stands out on its own due to heavy population packed in this part of Tokyo. 

Talk about your ties in the Vancouver scene, who are you working with?

My ties to Vancouver would be with the people I started this music with back in high school. My old crew P.O.S. (phreaks of society) We had it all in P.O.S. like graffiti, rapping, breaking, Dj-ing and with over 20 people we were always ready for whatever. My good friend Werd brought me in to P.O.S. and it was then that I met my Dj, Seko.  We called him Seko ‘cause he was mad skinny ‘cause that’s what Seko means in Spanish.
Right now I’m listening to Pacdiv a lot so they got me inspired. Good beats gets me inspired too so producers let’s do it.
I would describe myself as one who doesn’t want to follow any one else when it comes to a persona. I respect 90’s hip hop so there is a hint of that in my music but I always try to look forward with my direction of music.

Sneakers and Videogames

Sneakers and Videogames is being offered as a free download… why the move towards that? Will the next one be free?

It’s free because the music can get out to new ears that I haven’t reached before and also I’m just giving back to where I’m from with free music. It’s great to be able to get free quality music but at the same time the artist has to work hard to get back what he missed out on. Sales which also equal F.A.C.T.O.R. grants but I’m prepared for what’s to come next in the near future to make sure it all adds up.

How did you link up with Imaginations Treetrunk?

Through a mutual friend, Werd 1. Worked on a few projects with Treetrunk, but after moving to Japan for a year we lost touch. I know Kaboom and Chadio are doing some solo work and Guha is doing some new production but I will be working on a remix with Zach of Run With The Heard/Treetrunk for his also video game themed project. That’ll be ready in December.

What else have you got cooking up? What can we look forward to?

My next project will be an extension to what I just released titled Sneakers and Videogame Bonus. Expect new production, remixes and a preview of my album. There is a track on it titled “T.E.A.R.S. (Tough Endures Arriving Real Soon)” which will be from the album Kinfolk coming out next year.

Last words? Shouts?

Well I’m not a religious person but I’m a man of faith so I MUST thank the lord for every opportunity now and in the future check the song “Eyes Wide Shut” to get more details on that so download Sneakers and Video Games.  1 love to everyone in Japan… Fukuoka, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki and all over that tiny country, much love. My family and my home team, P.O.S. (Lee Matasi R.I.P.).

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