The Portsmouth, Virginia duo of PairoDiceFlow (Jarelle “Jar-El” Lassiter & Kenny “Dolo” Wright) have been grinding on the music scene for the last four years. After releasing projects like #Digits and In Living Color with his partner, PDF’s Jar-El is now on the verge of dropping his own solo collection. The upcoming House of El mixtape will be Relle’s first chance to share his artistic perspective as an individual.
Like Superman’s father Jor-El (the character that partially serves as the inspiration for Lassiter’s moniker), Jar-El has a vision of the rap world’s pending fate, and he has hatched a plan to ensure true Hip Hop survives. Instead of sending an infant son to another planet to preserve the culture, the Spiritual Brothers representative transferred his meditations into music in order to remind listeners of the glorious age of Hip Hop.
In an interview with DZI: The Voice, Jar-El takes the time to discuss House of El, southern rap, and what he calls Hip Hop’s “New Golden Era”.
Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
Jar-El: I definitely discovered and solidified my voice as an artist in late 2012 after we released the #Digits EP. That project showed me what type of music I wanted to make, and where I needed to go from there.
YK: Why did you make the decision to not use curse words in your music?
JE: I don’t curse in my music out of respect of my now late grandmother. She gave so much of herself to ensure I had a proper upbringing, so I don’t curse because I wanted her to be able to play my music if she wanted. I also have a younger brother too. Even though I’m an artist I still want to be a positive force in his life, so I decided that if I was going to be in rap this was the only way I would do it. I want my music to be accessible to anyone.
YK: How did you first connect with Dolo?
JE: I have been knowing Dolo since kindergarten, and we have been friends ever since. We didn’t start making music together until 2010, but I have known him forever. We always been close and always been like brothers.
YK: How is your House of El going to be different from your work with PairoDiceFlow?
JE: It’s going to be influenced totally by me. For the first time people will see my vision and my viewpoint. Sometimes I don’t feel like what I do personally gets recognized, so I want to show the people exactly how I get down.
YK: What themes and concepts are you covering on the project?
JE: What it’s like to be an elevated individual in today’s society. I definitely see a lot more than most people do, and I am going to reflect that creatively in my music. House of El isn’t a physical house in the conventional sense. My skull is the house of my mind. That’s what the house means. So basically House of El stands for the house of my mind, and the project is a trip through my mind. Each track is a different door in my mind and each door is a different me, so you’re going to get different sounds, because each reflects a specific emotion, a different version of me.
YK: What was the inspiration for the single “He Got Game”?
JE: He Got Game was definitely a big movie for me growing up. It showcased a lot of realities that people weren’t aware of. And I wanted to create a track that was indicative of that. And then for the hook I played on the original concept laid down by Public Enemy on their track of the same name.
YK: Do you plan to shoot videos for any of the tracks off House of El?
JE: Yes, I will be shooting videos for all the singles. “He Got Game” first, then my next single “3levated”, and lastly “How G’s Ride”. So stay tuned for some dope scenes from us. It’s going to be crazy.
YK: Being from the south, do you think southern rap receives the proper level of respect from diehard Hip Hop fans?
JE: No, I don’t think it really does. Artists from other areas jack a lot of what we do. Just look at how a lot of recent New York based emcees are using our flows. We don’t get respect for it, but they do and in turn most southern artists have to adopt other styles in order to be recognized. We have a lot of Hip Hop culture in the south, and it’s time somebody shined the light our way.
YK: You’ve said that you see a “New Golden Era” in Hip Hop rising. Why do you feel the culture is entering into another age of excellence?
JE: To me it’s been in an age of excellence just not in a mainstream sense. I don’t consider mainstream artists to be relevant to the true state of Hip Hop. When I say that I mean artists like Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era, The UnderAchievers, A$AP Mob, Dizzy Wright, Neako, Big K.R.I.T., Curren$y, Slaughterhouse – just to name a few. That’s what I consider Hip Hop. I think of radio Hip Hop as “Hip Pop”. Don’t get me wrong. I like some mainstream music, but I don’t like the majority of it.
YK: What artists have influenced you musically?
JE: Guru from Gangstarr is probably my biggest influence. Definitely a great. Next would be UGK. Their track called “Murder” changed me forever, and 90’s era Snoop Dogg. Just amazing stuff.
YK: Rank these actors who played Superman: Dean Cain, Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh, and Christopher Reeve.
JE: Chris goes first. Just amazing. That’s the version that my name came from. You can’t think about Superman and not think about Chris. Then Cavill. I was pleased with his performance in the new movie. Third, Dean Cain. I watched a lot of that series. Then Brandon Routh.
YK: You’re a self-admitted fan of the Michael Corleone character from The Godfather series. What’s your favorite Michael Corleone quote?
JE: I dont remember the quote exactly, but it’s the scene in the first film when Michael goes to see Moe Green in Las Vegas to buy his casino. Fredo was there under Moe’s protection, and Michael told Fredo to never take sides over the family again. It was a powerful scene and speaks volumes about how family should be. You should take care of your family before anything else.
YK: What’s next for Jar-El?
JE: Next is my second lead single “3levated”. That is coming out real soon. Then the “He Got Game” video, and my third and last single “How G’s Ride” featuring Mel’. Then the House of El project which drops on March 29th. Just stay tuned to my Twitter. I will keep you updated with all the cool stuff.
Jar-El’s House of El is scheduled for release on March 29th
For more info about PairoDiceFlow click it
To connect with Jar-El follow him on Twitter @PairoDice_Relle
Check out Life In PairoDice: Season 3 – Episode 2 vlog: