A few months ago, fans of Los Angeles rap on Twitter were left agape by a post by a local blogger, who shared his thoughts on the city’s current crop of talent via a “rap report card” featuring grades for the likes of newcomers such as Blxst, Kalan.FrFr, Roddy Ricch, and more. The post sparked a days-long debate that quickly became more than contentious thanks to the near-universally mediocre numbers the blogger handed out, which many took as an overt diss to their hard work, talents, and successes to date. Considering some of the names mentioned are just beginning to receive mainstream attention or release music professionally, that feeling is fair.
One of the rappers who took issue with his assessment is Carson native Jayson Cash, who at the time had only released a handful of tracks. Despite his relative obscurity, his performance on “Priority,” “All I Know,” and an impressive showing on LA Leakers had already secured him a deal with Asylum Records, and since then, he’s only become more of a priority, moving up to Atlantic Records and prepping the release of his debut project with singles “Top Down” and “Him” featuring Dom Kennedy. But rather than lash out at the purveyor of the rap report card, Cash did something much more productive, hitting the studio to record the fiery “D+ Freestyle” aimed at refuting the claims against him. It was so impressive, West Coast hitmaker Mustard hit him up to get in the studio the same day.
Now, with Read The Room, his Atlantic debut, coming on May 27, and his new single “Him” out today, Jayson Cash re-introduces himself to the world. In a recent Zoom call with Uproxx, the Carson native explains why he deserved much better than a D+ and what fans can expect from him in the future.
For the world, Jayson Cash is a rapper from Carson, California. What are you most notable for so far?
First and foremost, just recently there was this magazine in LA that they were grading different new artists in LA, and they gave me a D+ grade. That’s crazy. I went in the studio and I recorded a response to it. And I didn’t disrespect the magazine or disrespect the person, the writer or anything of the sort, I just talked about a lot of the things that I did this past year. And after I did that, DJ Mustard heard my response and called me to the studio, “Yo, we got to get you in the studio today,” actually that same day. I just had the city just talking, talking, talking and that was just the most recent thing.
But before that, I dropped three singles and got signed. I’m one of a few people that got signed without having a bunch of music out — just a series of different freestyles and different things I was doing throughout the city, just building my name the organic, grassroots way.
I always think is mad funny when artists from Carson are, “No, we are from Carson.” [TDE rapper] Reason will be like, “No, I’m from Del Amo, bro.” Why is it so important for artists from Carson to really be out here screaming Carson, rather than LA?
If you went to New York tomorrow, met somebody that you never met before and they ask you where you from, you say you from Compton.
Yep. I’m saying Compton.
But they know what that is.
When I go out of town and they ask me where I’m from, and I say, “I’m from Carson,” then I got to say, “It’s a city in between Compton and Long Beach. It’s where TDE started.” I have to explain where I’m from to so many people so I figure while I’m on my run and I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do and I’m yelling and stamping my city the same way that Dr. Dre and all them and Quik and all them put the stamp on Compton, the same way Snoop did on Long Beach, I can do that for Carson. Now when somebody go out of town they ain’t got to explain geographically where Carson is. We haven’t been stamped yet. I’m trying to make sure we get stamped.
Going back to that freestyle because the face that I made on that last line was just so… I used to want to make people make that face when I used to rap. You know, when your whole face sucks in.
“If the n**** with the fit and the shades / Got a 69 scoring a D+ grade / Because I’m ‘lazy, inconsistent and my catalog the same’ / Why the f*ck do y’all even think about mentioning my name?” That’s how I felt.
To be honest with you, the only thing I thought — because everybody’s entitled to an opinion… The only reason why I even responded was that not only was I on his freshman cover, but he came to the studio and he heard my project and he knew why it wasn’t out. I never even had a meeting with Atlantic, I got signed off emails. As far as putting records out, it’s not like I had a whole bunch of people just lined up like, ‘Okay, let’s make the Jayson Cash project happen.’ The consistency in my catalog, that was out of my control. I didn’t like the narrative that was being pushed, like, ‘That catalog is this, because they lazy.’
I’m not lazy at all. That’s what prompted me to respond, not to him, but to anybody that might have heard the conversation and looked at my score, which was all my scores is high except for consistency in catalog. Since this has a million impressions and everybody is seeing this, I don’t want nobody to have the wrong idea about me. Let me tell you who I actually am. I’m the one that wrote for Dr. Dre, I’m the one that did the freestyle with Snoop Dogg. I got Easty Boyz a check for [Blxst’s 2020 single] “Chosen.” I’m going to tell you everything that I’ve done on this run to where you can’t say my impact score is a six. I’m doing all this off three songs.
What are your plans? How much of your plans can you reveal? How much of that is in your control?
The project’s already turned in, singles, turned in. I’m still working on what’s coming after that. I don’t ever want to fall behind and feel like I’m trying to play catch-up. So I always want to be creating.
It’s a similar sound like me and Blxst was in the incubator together, working every day. It’s just my take on what I’m influenced by. When you listen to it, you’re going to hear everything I’m influenced by from Suga Free to Quik, to even like my peers, like Blxst. My era, the people before me, and et cetera. But you’re going to hear all that. Not only are you going to hear, you going to feel it because it’s in the music. I heard Blxst on his project say he a new Nate Dogg. So it’s like, if Blxst the new Nate Dogg, my mind is like, “Well, who am I?” That’s another void for me to fill because we haven’t had that run in LA as a rapper in a long time. So I wanted to present a sound, present a perspective and take this opportunity to really do some shit with the music.
Jayson Cash is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.