There are certain groups of people that rarely get a lot of love in music and pop culture. Smart girls are one of them. That is one of the main reasons I wanted to shine a bit of our light on James Bailey. We talked about “Smart Girls,” as well as the Los Angeles hip hop scene, and more in this West Coast exchange of words.
Kendra: From the looks of it, you’ve been releasing music for a couple of years now. Was that around the time you decided to pursue music or had the idea been swirling around in your mind long before that?
James Bailey: Honestly I’ve wanted to pursue music since I was a little kid, that being said I was releasing music under my government name for like five years before I switched it up. Funny story, my legal name is two letters away from another rapper/singer who may or may not have shot a national treasure in both feet, so while it might have annoyed me a couple years ago, PR wise that was a good move.
Kendra: What drew you towards hip hop and R&B as an artist?
James Bailey: It’s always been a force in my life. My cousin is a producer and I used to hang out in the studio while they were making beats and it just stuck, plus like the specific moment I remember as a kid was I was listening to Power 106 in like 1999 and “Pass the Courvoisier” came on and that was a wrap.
Kendra: Being in Los Angeles, it’s hard not to be inspired by hip hop. It’s a city that has rap ingrained into its identity. Are there any areas of LA that you feel best represent hip hop culture that is typically overlooked by mainstream media?
James Bailey: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I was raised a little outside of LA, but I feel like all the locals know hip hop is in full motion outside of Hollywood. Like Inglewood, Compton, Lynwood, Carson, South Central.
Kendra: Can you tell us more about your single, “Something,” like where were you at in your head when you penned this one?
James Bailey: The idea behind the track came to me as I was commuting to work on like a 3-hour per day commute, kind of sick of having to drive that far while working super long hours at a job that I hate. Like it’s something all of us have to go through, dealing with b.s to survive but at the end of the day even while dealing with the negativity I (we) get by cause we’re strong and have the willpower. Now that I say that I think that the song as a whole represents my will to survive and accomplish my goals.
Kendra: Now I have to ask about “Smart Girls” because as a nerd, this made me smile. We don’t get a lot of shout outs like this in song. Were brainy women always the ones that caught your eye?
James Bailey: That makes me happy to hear you liked that joint cause it was one of my most experimental tracks. I wrote that song to shed a light on the most important aspect of attraction in my opinion. For me, when listening to music nowadays it’s kind of annoying how every single person is singing about a bad chick and completely devaluing her to only physical characteristics. I can get way more into it but I think that’s why so many people are miserable in relationships now, because they don’t value personality or intelligence which are the most important aspects of building a relationship.
I’d say that when I was younger that wasn’t really the case, but I’ve always had affinity for smart girls. Not to offend any females that aren’t smart, but as I got older and “matured” (I’m laughing while typing that) dating girls who weren’t smart made me lowkey want to pull my hair out. In relationships I feel like I need to click with women who can educate me as well as me educating them. Mental Reciprocation if you feel me. Nerdy girls deserve more shoutouts in my opinion…Y’all carrying the culture.
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
James Bailey: This year has sucked so bad that it’s lit a fire under my booty cheeks creatively. I mean to say that I’ve been mad-depressed and unmotivated and it’s helped me channel that into productivity because once everything opens back up I WILL be doing the most with regards to live shows, interviews, etc. Also I’d say that this year helped me focus my positive energy into good music, and my negative energy into better music.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
James Bailey: Honestly I’ve planned for a lull in live shows and appearances since the beginning of the pandemic, so plans have stayed slightly more steady just because I’m being realistic about how bad it’s about to get. That being said right now I’m fighting laziness but I’ve got some dope collabs coming out with some producers I’m fans of, as well as my new joint out called, “Cinema” (R&B Bossa Nova joint). For me 2021 looks like it’s going to be a big release year and I’m honestly super stoked to release all this new music with friends.
Man that’s a tough question…I can’t really narrow it down to one song, but “I Get Around” by 2pac as well as “The World is Yours” by Nas are my bread and butter for making me feel better.