In the heart of California's vibrant music scene, a blazing star is on the ascent, illuminating the rap genre with his raw talent and magnetic energy. Hailing from the sun-kissed city of Fresno, this rising sensation goes by the name of Jllama. In a world where hip-hop culture thrives on authenticity and artistic expression, Jllama stands out as a force to be reckoned with while displaying an exceptional lyrical prowess and a wavy sound similar to other Cali greats. We can definitely see Jllama performing on big stages such as Coachella ad Rolling Loud. The rising star is catching a buzz in his city so we had to tap in with him. Checkout the interview below!
Westleaf Staff: Can you share with us the story of how you got started in the hip hop scene and what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Jllama: It actually started with me just posting raps on the gram freestyling to random beats. I just would post here and there until I got invited to Galvxy Studios to work with my guy Galvxy. I recorded my first song legit and dropped “Self Titled”. The rest is history.
Westleaf Staff: Fresno has a vibrant music culture. How has the city and its local scene influenced your musical style and lyrics?
Jllama: I stand out immediately amongst my peers especially in the Fresno scene. Not in any way trying to say I’m better than anyone cause everyone has their opinion. But in terms of style and personality I feel like I just stand alone in the valley like everyone knows there’s not another JLLAMA, I do it all. And that’s always been my main goal with the music, to show I’m different.
Westleaf Staff: As an artist from Fresno, what unique elements do you bring to your music that represent your city and its culture?
Jllama: I bring a lot of fearlessness, I don’t care what anyone has to say negatively about me or my image, style, and music as a whole. I’m here to inspire those that listen and as long as I’m touching people through my music, I feel like I’m already winning.
Westtleaf Staff: Your latest album has been receiving positive reviews. What was the creative process behind it, and what message do you hope your fans take away from it?
Jllama: I feel like all of my projects are just me narrating my life in an entertaining way. Passionately displaying my wide variety of styles and swag creatively. I hope my fans and listeners can just mainly see that no Matter what it is if you are passionate about it, keep going. Forget the haters!
Westleaf Staff: Collaborations have become a significant aspect of the music industry. Have you collaborated with any other artists from Fresno or surrounding areas, and how did those experiences impact your career?
Jllama: I’ve collaborated with a lot of talented dudes most definitely, shout-out my boy King Chris. We got a lot of stuff out as well as my guy TheKidGhost. I’ve made a few songs with Galvxy and I can’t leave out Lostboi. All Cencal artists. I’ve also worked with other artists from across the country but to say the least my work has become respected enough to be featured on more than 10 + different artists discographies so that tells you something!
Westleaf Staff: Many hip hop artists use their music to address social issues and advocate for change. Is there a specific cause or message that you feel passionate about conveying through your music?
Jllama: I always promote a positive get to it mentality through my music. I grew up being bullied for whatever it was whether I was too little or just didn’t fit in with the crowd. Now I stand above my peers, i mainly aim to convey a message to everyone about embracing the fact that you are different and not worry about anyone’s opinion.
Westleaf Staff: The journey to success in the music industry can be challenging. What were some of the obstacles you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
Jllama: I feel like my biggest obstacle has always been what everyone else thinks I should do. And it doesn’t even have to be music wise, just life in general. I feel like I’ve come a very long way and I still have so much more to accomplish but people always will try to put how they think you should live upon you. I never listened and if I did it was because I had a good feeling it was valuable information to apply.
Westleaf Staff: Fresno's hip hop scene is known for its diversity. How do you incorporate various musical influences into your work, and how do you maintain authenticity while experimenting with different sounds?
Jllama: I always say I’m one of the most diverse artists and I have many people that can vouch for that. But like many talented artists I like to take my favorite aspects of my favorite artists and apply it to my style. I feel like I’ve done a good job at staying different than the crowd. I aim to entertain, but also I make the music for me first and foremost as a form of therapy. Nothing is ever forced.
Westleaf Staff: Your performances have garnered a reputation for their high energy and engaging stage presence. How do you prepare for your live shows, and what do you enjoy most about connecting with your audience?
Jllama: I definitely want to get back into doing more shows soon I feel like I have a good catalog to perform with, but I usually just try my best to let the music speak for itself and put on a show because that’s what people wanna see. Not just some dude lip syncing the whole show.
Westleaf Staff: Fresno has produced several notable hip hop artists. How do you see yourself contributing to the legacy of Fresno's music scene, and what do you hope to achieve in your career as an artist from this city?
Jllama: The sky is the freaking limit! Literally it only takes one song to be bigger than ever and I feel like it’s only a matter of time and once I do have that song take off imma show the world what JLLAMA really has to offer. And it’s not to be underestimated.
Westleaf Staff: True! We wish you much success!
Instagram : @jllamamusic
Twitter : _Jeremygonzales