Anyone who keeps up with the genre of rap and are notably rap aficionados must be exhilarated by the inflow of new talent streaming in by many young artists. For example, Brooklyn rapper Jimmy Heights is making a strong push toward the front of the line. He possesses serious mic skills, catchy melodic hooks and the determination of no other. Starting from age seven Heights began gaining his respect and credibility from battling to rap ciphas and flooding his area with mixtapes. The resulting positive feedback gave Jimmy Heights a rapidly gained buzz and the love for music. His first mixtape, “Don Quixote” featured many head bangers with sweet rhymes and beats. “Don Quixote” was a success and proved to be a stepping-stone in the emerging stardom of the young lyricist.
In Jimmy Heights’ latest mixtape “Black AmeriKKKa”, he goes over and above the booty and bling, delivering sociopolitical messages. Jimmy Heights is establishing himself in the industry the way many of his brethren are: with mixtapes. Kendrick Lamarand Frank Ocean, most notably, have presaged highly successful albums with independently released mixtapes. Ultimately, “Black AmeriKKKa” places Jimmy Heights, together with a handful of his contemporaries, at the head of the young hip hop class, and once again demonstrates that he’s a force to be reckoned with!
- When did you decide to change you name from Hazard to Jimmy Heights and why?
Jimmy Heights: I decided to change my name in 2013 on the day of my high school graduation. It was also my 18th birthday. I donned the name “Hazard” since I was about 10 and I just believed it was time to mature and find a name that suits and defines me. Hazard was the adolescent me, more so a gimmick. With Jimmy Heights, its all about growth and maturity.
- How has the name change impacted your career so far?
Jimmy Heights: Since the name change I can definitely find my pictures and links easier on Google. Might sound awkward but as an artist and with social media and Internet presence dominating the music industry, this is a huge plus. I also noticed more blogs and people have started to take me seriously, which I correlate along with the name change.
- What are your long-term goals or career plans as Jimmy Heights?
Jimmy Heights: I definitely don’t wanna be an artist for the rest of my life. I’m using this as a way to kick in the gate and spread my creativity as a youngin’. I picture my career going along the path as 50 Cent. Have a good 5-10 years dominating, showcasing my talents and creativity. Then as I get older, venture off into TV and film and other entertainment aspects. I’m a great writer. Even as a little kid I’ve been writing scripts. Hopefully the future treats me right.
- So, what are your thoughts on the current state of the hip-hop and rap game?
Jimmy Heights: I love it. You always hear a lot of old heads or 90s hip hop aficionados complaining about how the game is not the same, but I don’t really see the problem. I love the variety. Variety is good. No matter if its boom bap rap, trap music or the drill scene in Chicago. I listen to everything and every artist. Even outside of hip-hop, I listen to every genre. That’s how I get my creativity juices flowing.
- How do you separate yourself from other artists right now?
Jimmy Heights: Going back to what I was saying about listening to mostly every genre. I believe because of my versatility in my playlist it brings another side to me that few artists have. Most hip-hop artists really stick to listening to hip-hop. But I’m in love with the cadences of Nate Reuss. I’m in love with the productions of Kanye West and Young Thug. The variation when all mashed creates Jimmy Heights. And I believe it shows in my music.
- Who more than any other influenced your style?
Jimmy Heights: I don’t think there is any artist that really influenced my style. I think I’m equally influenced by each artist I enjoy. If I had to pick one, it’ll probably be 50 Cent. He definitely made me appreciate hooks and the beauty of the chorus. So I’d probably have to say 50 Cent.
- If you could compare yourself to an already established artist, who would that be and why?
Jimmy Heights: Right now, I’d probably compare myself to Vic Mensa. We both make music a little different from what our hometown are usually known for. We’re both fighting to break through. His hook game is crazy; I believe my hook game is crazy. If I was to pick a mainstream artist, I’d probably have to go with someone like Wale.
- What do you consider a really successful or high point in your career so far?
Jimmy Heights: I wouldn’t call it successful or a high point but just watching my views and likes increase across my social media platform. Recently got over 1,000 likes on a promo pic for my newest video about to drop. My last video got 20k views all together. It might not seem as much now but its all about growth. With this next video we are aiming for 100k.
- How is the music and lyrics in your songs developed? Explain your process?
Jimmy Heights: Depends on how I’m feeling. Every song I write all is developed differently. Sometimes it would be as simple as me just thinking of a hook or wavy idea in my head and start to lay it out on pen and pad. Sometimes I could be listening to a song and it’ll spark an idea in my head. But for more difficult processes, I usually will fish for beats, which could take about months for me to find. I’m real picky when it comes to beats. The beat has to be real special for me to like. But after I select a beat, I always makes the hook first, which I believe is the most important aspect of a song. Then I begin to lay down the groundwork pertaining to the verses. As I record, I’ll tweak lines if I believe they sound a bit awkward or out of touch.
- What do you feel your listeners should get out of your music?
Jimmy Heights: Creativity. Youth. Just someone who has been perfecting his craft since the age of 10. Growth as my age also increases. I talk about a lot of social issues in my music and a lot of my past or current relationship problems. So they would also definitely get a political feel along with some emotional takes as well. I’ve been veering off into doing some more “fun” songs. But I just want the listeners to be able to capture the picture I’m trying to paint and hopefully view me as one of the most creative artists.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music so far?
Jimmy Heights: Marketing my music and promoting it. It feels as if this generation would only really pay attention only if others are already. Just the fair opportunities for independent artists to break through and get radio airplay and such as other major artists would.
- If you had the opportunity to change one thing about the music business, what would that be?
Jimmy Heights: Hmm, that’s a good question. There are so many things that can be changed. But giving independent artists a bigger stage to showcase their talent might be the one thing that needs a few tweaking. Not these pay to play gigs or spend $250 for a chance to play at a festival. REAL opportunities.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
Jimmy Heights: I control everything by myself and it truly sucks. As much as I just wanna focus on making music and such, I have to also focus on all the business aspects of my budding career. But I am in looks for a legit management team. The help would be great. Right now, I run social media ads. Facebook ads work the best for me.
- What does your family think of your artistic aspirations and performances?
Jimmy Heights: My family supports me. My mom is Caribbean so she still has this mentality that being in arts wont be as stable as me going to learn to become a doctor and such, but she still supports me. I remind her all the time, there’s no guaranteed success with me being a doctor, lawyer, etc. It’s all about what I do with my opportunities.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Jimmy Heights: Suave. Charming. Melodic. Distinctive.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
Jimmy Heights: I believe social media is great in helping with artists music career. I’m currently on all platforms of social media. I like the idea of a kid in Germany having the chance to listen to my music and actually reach out to me. You wouldn’t believe the crazy messages along with supportive messages I get from people all around the world on Facebook.
- What is the title of your latest release and where and when can fans find it?
Jimmy Heights: My latest release was “Morphine” which was a few months ago. But I have an upcoming release coming next week titled “Potent” featuring Ravage Roc. Probably the best video we’ve shot to date. It’ll be available for viewing on YouTube and Facebook and for streaming on Soundcloud, Spotify and all that other good stuff.
- What do you feel is the most pressing or important problem in our society now, and do you feel your experiences as an artist can aid these issues?
Jimmy Heights: Racial tension is high right now. Police brutality amongst people of color and the racial division between this presidential election. Like everything is a mess right now. Gun violence in inner cities. Music can always provide a second voice but us as people have to be willing to come together and change. I’m all about peace, love and unity.
- If you only had five minutes on earth to perform one famous song that could leave a major impact on this world, what would that song be and why?
Jimmy Heights: Michael Jackson “Heal The World” would probably be my answer. Maybe some adults in this world are corrupted and have a messed up way of thinking but lets not attach that to the new generation of kids coming up. This song is probably the best candidate for all the tension in the states right now. We need a betterment for all.
- If you had to think of a slogan that could leave a positive impact on fans, what would that slogan be?
Jimmy Heights: The best is yet to come. Train your mind to see positive in every situation.