Nashville, Tenn., is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Ryman Auditorium as well as many other Country Music landmarks. While the majority of the world focuses on the Country Music scene in Nashville, the Hip-Hop scene is still trying to be recognized. JellyRoll, a drug dealer turned rapper, is on the front lines of making sure Nashville rappers get the respect they deserve.
“For a long time Country Music has over shadowed us,” said JellyRoll over the phone. “There are a lot of Record Companies in Nashville but they never paid attention to us.”
At 15-years-old JellyRoll taught himself to freestyle while in a juvenile correction center. In and out of prison most of his life, Jelly began taking rapping more seriously after coming out of a one-year prison sentence in 2009.
“When I came out of prison I didn’t have anything,” said JellyRoll.”I’m over 300 lbs. I’m not physically able to do anything besides rap or sell drugs. I chose to rap.”
Originally rapping to make money, Jelly clams that his motive for doing music has change throughout the years.
“Twelve years ago I did it just to make a paycheck,” said JellyRoll. “Now I want to help people improve the grand scheme of life. There is nothing better than someone telling you that your music helped them in a positive way.”
JellyRoll credits former G-Unit artist/Nashville native Young Buck for bringing worldwide attention to the Nashville Hip-Hop scene with his 2004 debut album, Straight Outta Ca$hville. Claiming Buck opened the gates for him to do bigger things with his music.
As an artists JellyRoll quickly learned that the music industry is not as glamorous as it seem. JellyRoll compared the music industry to a “snake pit” and stated there is more honor in the Dope Game than the music business.
“In the dope game what you see is what you get,” said JellyRoll. “At least you know what kind of people you are dealing with while selling drugs. The people in the music industry are fake and have little integrity.”
JellyRoll does not want his experience in the music industry to discourage aspiring artists from accomplishing their dreams. Jelly knows firsthand that if you work hard and believe in yourself you can make it as an artists.
In October of 2012 JellyRoll released his newest album entitled The Big Sal Story. JellyRoll collaborated with producers from all over Nashville, Tenn., to make this album.
“I love my city,” said JellyRoll. “I was real lucky to work with people in my home town. Now we’re going to show the world what we’re all about.”