Gary Jermaine Smith artistically known as J-KaL Kalifornia, is an up-and-coming artist from the West Coast with a versatile style blending influences from different regions of the US. He has gained local radio exposure and has moved thousands of units in various cities and states. He has released multiple mix-tapes and freestyle albums to promote his music. He is currently signed to his distributor Awal music and his own independent label F.M.R. Rerecords, which is still in development. He is proficient in creating his own CD covers, writing, composing, recording, mixing and mastering, and making his own beats. In 2019, he released two EP’s and a DVD titled “Walking Through Las Vegas”, along with singles “Friday“, “I Like Your Style”, and “2k” for the NBA 2k20 video game. The two EP’s are named “Project 1” and “Project 2”, and the singles included in them are “Real Recognize Real”, “Im Ready”, “Cheddar Cheese”, “November” and “When Im Down”. J-KaL continues to pursue his music career independently with plans for future releases and collaborations.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, the West Coast rap scene was dominant, with artists like 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, and DJ Quik topping the charts. However, in recent years, the Atlanta hip-hop scene has emerged as a major force in the industry, with trap music leading the way.
Will the West Coast regain its dominance in the rap game? Though a little belated, we recently caught up with “Covid-19 The Pandemic”, an 8-track album project by J-KaL Kalifornia, who brings us some fresh West Coast sounds to mull over.
Right off the cuff, J-KaL Kalifornia’s vibe-induced, effortless rap style compliments his clever wordplay and engaging flow. Opening with “Souja Walk (Intro)”, he flaunts his West Coast swag paired with mesmeric wordplay.
“1 in the Morning” brings a funky dancefloor beat with J-KaL rolling over the top with a non-stop incessant flow. “Lets Turn It Up” rides in on a smooth but knocking beat, while J-KaL maintains his rapping momentum buoyant and vital.
J-KaL Kalifornia’s catchy flow and hard-hitting punchlines give an exciting listening experience to “Where Dat Bag”. J-KaL’s verses provide a solid counterbalance to the beat, before he steps into the piano-dominated “Chargin Them Tax”.
The dark production here rumbles with atmosphere and resonance. J-KaL’s smelted soul becomes more malleable on “Heart Feels”, as his animated flow directs the track. J-KaL uses his versatile performances to bring listeners on a lush sonic journey.
The piano once again brings the vibes on the intro of “Same OG”, before the growling bass and kick drum takeover the soundscape infusing a taught rhythm to the proceedings. The emotional intelligence displayed in J-KaL Kalifornia’s songs is matched by a comprehension of beat structure and rhymes schemes. The album closes with “Neva Seen What Seen”. Rarely has J-KaL’s rapping been so snappy, or so transparent, and so in the pocket.
With the release of “Covid-19 The Pandemic”, J-KaL has almost certainly cleared all hurdles to solidify himself as an elite, underground rapper.