ASHEVILLE, NC – Jamal Valentine had a special relationship with his father. That relationship is perhaps best represented by a normal day just a few years ago. There wasn’t anything major happening that day, other than that Jamal’s father had gotten new rims on his Mercedes and was feeling particularly good about himself. He and his son were on their way to a pickup basketball game at their church, and the drive from home to gym was something fairly common between the two of them.
“There were a lot of times just being in the car with him, listening to music and just talking,” Jamal said. “I remember taking a picture of the two of us that day and seeing him smile and us bonding that day. Plus we actually whooped up on them, so that made it a good day right there.”
Jamal has many of those memories that he has held on to in the months since his father lost his battle to cancer in late November, 2016. And it’s those memories that he wants to memorialize with the release of a new five-song EP that he’s calling “RIP MY Pops.” The EP is slated to drop on Jamal’s birthday, March 9.
“This is basically a memoir to my pops,” Jamal said. “This is part one, and part two will be coming and I hope to release it on June 2, which would have been his birthday. There are shout-outs to him in all the songs – either through a couple of bars or in each of the intros – and he is referenced in some way throughout the entire project.”
Jamal said the fifth song on the EP, called “When It Rains (Paint This Perfect Picture),” is the most specific of the five songs to talk about the battle that his father faced in dealing with the cancer. He said it’s a powerful song, though somewhat with a darker vibe, because it’s something that most people will be able to relate to and feel when they hear it.
“That’s what I want people to get out of my music,” he said, “the real-ness. There ain’t nothing fabricated. I don’t talk about anything that I ain’t doing. People can really relate to it. If I’m going to talk about things in my music, I have to be able to relate to it and feel it. And I know that people who listen to it should be able to relate to it and feel it, too, because everything is coming from the soul for me.”
Jamal, who often goes by J-Val when performing, said he has a unique sound that blends his southern roots with some of the pop rap starting to rise within the industry, as well as some throw-back sounds to the old-school rappers of the 1980s and 90s.