We caught up with artist Jay Worthy at the recent Red Bull SoundClash show featuring Larry June and Babyface Ray. He talked about his latest project, his influences and the hustle. Check out our profile story with Jay Worthy inside.
Jay Worthy is a natural born hustler, whose sole focus is creating classic records with his friends. We took a short journey around The Regency Ballroom concert venue in San Francisco to find the perfect place to chat. Ultimately, Jay Worthy found a hidden staircase to be suitable for our conversation.
We first discussed how loyal Jay Worthy is, comparing him to actor and producer Adam Sandler. The rapper often collaborates with the same artists in the same way Sandler does with his films and Happy Madison Productions.
Jay Worthy’s response to our Sandler comparison was humble and honest.
“Because these are all my real life friends, you know what I’m saying,” Worthy shared in our sit down. “And the chemistry is there because of that. Like fraud. We made all those songs together.”
At the time of our interview, Worthy had just released his latest project with Harry Fraud titled You Take the Credit, We’ll Take the Check. Since then, he and DJ Muggs debuted their album called What They Hittin 4 today (Nov. 11).
Jay Worthy shared his experience recording the Harry Fraud tape.
“That was an amazing experience,” he commented. “During the pandemic, he moved back to where he was raised in ‘Long Talk,’ which is what they call ‘the end of the world.’ It’s like you take Long Island, take it all the way to the end, and it’s a little surf town. And we went over there to do the album. It was great. We went swimming. It was real peaceful.”
As we awaited the Larry June vs. Babyface Ray SoundClash show that night, it only made sense to ask about Worthy’s relationship with Larry June. We asked about their organic chemistry, making music with one another.
“Larry is really… that’s literally my real life brother,” he adds. “So he was the first person for me. I always felt it was hard to find somebody that could understand rapping on me and Sean’s [House] production. Larry got it right away, and I was like, oh, shit, he gets it. He loved it. So when we would make music together, it was great. And we actually record very similarly. Like, I don’t like to record with a lot of people around.”
Jay Worthy only works with a hand full of rappers. His producing partner Sean House, who makes up the other half of their music duo group, LNDN DRGS, is mentioned often throughout our conversation. Worthy goes on to share his recording process with me, and how it’s similar to the way Larry June approaches music making.
“I usually take the record home and just do it with Sean,” Jay continued. “And Larry, he records himself and does it that way too. So it worked out. It really worked well for how we work. That’s how we were able to make that Two P’z in a Pod album actually. It was just years of songs that me and Larry been holding onto so basically we had the album made. And then he would be like, let me use this one for this album, let me use this for this album, and then I’d use this one for that one, and then we’d be out of an album. But we just always make more songs. So a lot of those songs people don’t know they’re like five, six years old, some of them.”
We talked about how Jay Worthy’s investment to the music game, and how that creates a sense of timeless hits. He often uses sampling, which makes his music feel nostalgic with soulful and R&B vibes attached. Worthy talks about the significance of sampling in his production.
“I feel like I’m very hands on with my production,” Worthy discusses his creation process. “Sean and me, we both come together. Like, here, I might find a sample and tell him this is what I want to do, or he knows what I like, so he comes with it too. With Fraud, and like a lot of producers I work with, a lot of the times I come with the records that I want to use. I’ve already had it.”
Jay shares that he has some of the music collected on vinyls, but for the most part, “I’m just ripping them off of the Internet.”
The most inspiring part of Jay Worthy’s journey so far is how he hustled to get here. He shares how the common theme of collaboration, who he works with and who he is as an artist has directly influenced his career. We found the story of how he funded his career early on selling hair through his family connections in India to be the most interesting.
“That’s actually a really great story,” Jay adds. “ I want people to know this. I’ve never put a dollar into music. I’ve never bought a beat. I’ve never bought a verse or a feature. I’ve never paid for studio time. I don’t think I’ve even paid for a video. I’ve literally done this all off of finesse.”
Jay talks about how money wasn’t the motive for his entry into the music business.
“For me, I didn’t care because I was getting money already,” Jay boasts. “I’m a real fan of music and art and hip hop. And I just feel like it’s a respect level with this sh*t. So it’s like we’re going to make this music together, and then when we sell it, we’re going to go 50/50 on it. You know what I’m saying? But when I came in the game, what me and Sean did, a lot of people just reached out to me and wanted to [work together].”
He tells a story about how Curren$y kept it very player early on.
“Curren$y did the realest shit ever,” Worthy reminisces. “He was like, let’s do this project. And he’s like, whatever you get for it, just take the bread. I was like, yeah. When Alchemist reached out, ‘Boom Come to my house and make this album.’ Cardo, same sh*t.”
Jay Worthy has an impressive amount of long-lasting relationships in music. We asked about his relationship with co-founder and visionary behind Harlem’s A$AP Mob collective, the late, A$AP Yams.
“Man, that was my brother. God rest his soul. He was the first person that really believed in me because I was just f*cking around, basically. And then he was like, you know, this shit is really dope. And I was like, I know it is, but I don’t have an outlet. Then he was like, putting my stuff on Tumblr, and then it would get picked up by a blog.”
Jay adds that Yams’ support on Tumblr is how he would later market himself and fuel his hustle.
“This is like, how I would hustle. I would hustle like this,” Worthy lays out the formula. “I’d be like, all right, who posted it on a blog? And then I’d be like, okay, I’d find the writer, find their email, and then hit them up when I have time. Once I got hip to what a blog was and what these websites were, I was like, okay, let me hit them up and send them my video.”
Jay is playing the long game in the music business. He says that he and Sean were developing the sound, just crafting up records and having fun. Worthy says that he was “learning and hustling at the same time. Just trying to get the sh*t out there.”
We also talked about his influences from the West Coast and beyond. He admits that he doesn’t listen to a lot of rap, but his rap influences came early on.
“Stuff like Cube and Easy E and stuff like that,” Jay shares. “But really, Cube was the first one that I was like, ‘Damn, The Predator’. I was like, this mother*cker made me want to rap.”
He attributes Ice Cube’s The Predator and the Geto Boys as his direct influences and inspirations. Jay shares that his Pops used to have those tapes around the house.
“He [his dad] would put me on,” Worthy said. “I’d have a good memory [of it] since I was four.”
Jay notes that his true influences comes from jazz, boogie and funk groups like The Gap Band and The S.O.S. Band.
“I love the G Funk Era. I was attracted to the records that they were sampling from like Parliament and George Clinton stuff,” he notes. “Just the sh*t my big homies would pull up on the block, listening to. They’d pull up on their Harleys or low riders and they’d be slappin’ all types of sh*t. I’d be like, ‘what’s this?’”
Jay goes on to share a story of his neighborhood homie, Marc, who has since passed away.
“This cat named Marc who passed away,” Jay thinks back. “He used to sell these tapes on the corner of Avalon and El Segundo right where we would all hang out back in the day, and I’d buy my oldie mixes from there. A lot of the LNDN DRGS sound came from the streets of Compton and LA and people pulling up with their oldies and me getting hip and wanting to do the research and know which ones they were.”
Jay notes that he liked rapping over those types of records with no drums.
He said, “some of those beats were so hard why would you change them? They were great on their own. They were hits at that time. It might not be what the youth want to hear but what G Funk did they took it and made it theirs.”
Worthy discusses why he formed his rap duo group LNDN DRGS with Sean.
“When I made LNDN DRGS with Sean, I really wasn’t trying to compete in the Rap genre at all. I just wanted us to do our own sh*t. I’m just gone talk slick over this but I really wasn’t trying to be a rapper.”
When asked if he would refer to himself as something other than a rapper, he said he couldn’t answer that right away and wanted a moment to think on it. His friend chimed in saying, “call him a street legend.”
He adds, “But musically I wear many hats. I don’t like the way rap is. It’s so competitive. It’s a lot of bullsh*t and I don’t give a f*ck about that.”
Worthy shares that if it were up to him, he’d wear even more hats outside of the Hip Hop category.
“If I could sing, I’d sing,” he commented. “If I could play the piano and sing, then I’d do that. I’d have an album with me singing and playing.”
On his project with Larry June, Two P’z in a Pod, one of our favorite songs “Big Funds” features Atlanta legend CeeLo Green.
“That’s my big homie,” Jay shared of their relationship. “He embraced me early on and that’s my dog. We got a lot of records together.”
Jay admits that he hoards music “like crazy.” He adds, “I got music with a lot of people and I just hold on to them.”
We asked what fans can look forward to from him and his future collaborators.
“Me and Thundercat. Me and Vince Staples. Me and Cee-lo Green. Me and Snoop,” he reveals.
Jay Worthy’s commitment to hustle, loyalty and the classics is what makes him a standout artist. If you’re not familiar, you should do a deep dive. Jay has released over 18 albums dating back to 2015.
Be sure to follow Jay Worthy on Instagram and keep up with his new releases.