A few weeks ago a mysterious message appeared to us over Soundcloud, you know, electronically. “Hey check out my new track. Adolf Jyn”. So we did. Two minutes and 17 seconds of head-nodding to deep rustic hip-hop later and we were blown away. Who is this guy? Where does he come from? Why is he running around the woods with a bleedin’ great sword in his video? It turns out the profound vibes on 'Sword for Hire' were matched by an equally deep personality as R$N went blow for blow with Detroit’s finest undiscovered talent. We delve into the world of a rising Detroit rapper;
The mysterious Adolf Jyn…can you tell us a little about yourself and where your name comes from?
The name’s Adolf Jyn, born and raised in Detroit, MI. I like Anime, freestyling, peanut butter, skateboarding and going on adventures. The name stands for "Benevolent Noble Wolf", which I felt best represented who I was as a person and as a pack member. I’m a member of the artist collective 'Nightmerica' and we take no prisoners.
I'm loving the deep vibe on 'Sword For Hire' - can you tell us how the track came about? And what was the idea behind it?
‘Sword for Hire’ just happened out of the blue. Me and LEX were chillin in the studio, running through samples because I was supposed to record something but forgot my flash drive. Then we heard the drop for SFH and both of us instantly zoned out. 20 minutes later we were recording. The idea behind it was to pretty much take listeners on a Personal Metaphorical Journey with Adolf Jyn and give them a little character insight. ‘Sword for Hire’ is the title because I feel my art is my weapon and, now that I’ve honed my skills, shit’s about to go down.
Why the ninja/samurai theme to the video and track?
Not only was it because I was re-watching the Anime Samurai Champloo during the week we made the track, but since I was young I've always been infatuated with Blades, Japanese Culture and Samurai so I honestly couldn’t resist myself.
It reminded me of Jim Jarmusch's film 'Ghostdog' and some of the RZA's soundtrack - was that an influence?
I’ve never seen that film or heard the soundtrack so I guess I’ll have to check it out today after the new episode of Naruto.
I’d have to say my biggest influence for this track other than samurai Champloo was the samurai exhibit that was held at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum earlier this year, it was pretty darn cool.
And that very distinctive old school atmospheric beat produced by Lexiix - who is Lexiix?
LEXIIX is a good friend of mine from high school. He’s one of the most creatively driven people I know and his work ethic is inspiring. The guy’s putting tracks on Soundcloud every day of the week, he’s practically a machine! So yeah, he is most def' one of the people Adolf Jyn will be working with during this journey.
What is Nightmerica? Is this effectively a collection of like-minded artists?
Yes, Nightmerica is a collection of like-minded creators all seeking growth, however we are a family overall. We were all good friends before we decided to put our minds and talents together to become something great. Everyone is different and contributes to the overall growth of the group in their own way.
Rapping ( Adolf Jyn, Fynyr, Hyndo Dave,Slave, xxxTomahawkxxx)
Singing (Adolf Jyn, Satomi Red Fox)
Spoken Word/Poetry ( Isaiah)
Producers (Fynyr, Future Logic, Tele-K666 (Producers)
Graphic Design (Dave)
Merchandising/Designers (Adolf Jyn, Dave, Fynyr)
Swisher Splitting (Everybody)
What's the idea behind the Nightmerica name? A political comment or something else?
We are "The Nightmare of America", young brilliant minds not abiding by the systems rules or standards and creating our own path. Breaking the chains of oppression this country has tied to us by exercising productivity, positivity, and self-awareness. Our goal is to go outside the norm and be the voice for Detroiters and anyone else who feels they don't fit these stereotypes the news/media likes to pin on our generation...
Do you feel it's your role as an artist to be a social commentator or can artists sometimes overstep too far?
I feel like artists are given the grand opportunity to actually be heard, which is something a lot of people don’t get to experience nowadays with texting and social media. I just think if you got people listening to you and feeding off your energy you should make sure everything is seasoned right. I do believe artists can overstep sometimes, we can say some things we don’t mean literally, but some will take it that way, you just gotta stay humble, say your peace, forgive yourself, and pray they do the same.
Can you give us a quick guide to the hip-hop scene in Detroit? How do young artists hone their skills? What do they do to get noticed? Are there certain bars/clubs really support the live scene?
Detroit underground hip-hop scene is going super-Saiyan right now, there are a lot of artists that have been trying to eat for a long time in the city and nobody is taking no for an answer. Lately many eyes have been on Detroit and artists have been getting exposure out of nowhere in the mainstream hip-hop scene and the underground Detroit scene, so that’s pretty exciting to see. I don’t think it’s a specific process, but, more so, it was just bound to happen over time when everyone is working hard toward similar goals.
When I first got introduced to the Detroit underground artist scene five years ago I honed my skills by hopping in every cypher with the artist who were already on the underground scene. Once I felt comfortable, I started to throw my own showcases called "Operation Blvck" which was an open canvas/open mic for any type of artist to create freely in a creative/ positive environment.
I threw my events at the few places that did support the underground hip-hop scene like "Elijah’s Dirt House", and "Untitled Bottega" they always felt like home to me and many other artists I know. The underground Detroit scene is where it’s at!! Not a lot of show-offs and posers and not a ton of people standing in a corner when they paid to see a show.
What is life like in Detroit?
Detroit life is cold and loving at the same time. Everybody is an artist of some sort so there is a lot of passion floating around as well as a lot of competition. Still, the city is a beautiful canvas on a concrete easel, so many adventures, so much unclaimed territory, it’s a rebel’s dream. I love it.
From the outside looking in, the media often gives us the impression of Detroit being a forsaken city. Is the situation in Detroit exaggerated or is it fairly accurate and how have your surroundings influenced your music?
Yeaahhh the media can kick rocks, they like to bash and exploit Detroit. (That rhymed) My environment has definitely influenced my music in many different ways. A lot of the feelings and vibes I use in my raps are drawn from the energy of people in the city. Often times it feels like crabs in a bucket and folks will definitely snap at you, so even though I’m not a violent person, often times my raps/freestyles seem combative like I’m gonna bury someone. However, I assure you it’s all in good fun; besides, everyone knows I would get rid of the body entirely, burying leaves evidence.
What other artists do you admire?
Nightmericans, Bruiser Brigade, Andre 3000, Thundercat, Curren$y, Nujabes, MF Doom, Erykah Badu, Gorilaz, Big Krit, TeamSesh, Pink Floyd....have I said too much?
Where can fans see you live?
A majority of my shows so far have been in Metro Detroit/Michigan areas some you might even find footage for on Youtube. Right now I’m on the road doing shows in Portland, Oregon on the North West Coast and hopefully even Seattle & Northern California. When my upcoming project is released I do plan on travelling the country more to do shows, maybe I’ll even get a chance to leave the country! I'll go wherever I'm led.
Where's the best place to find your music?
I have a solo mixtape I’ve been working on which I’ll be releasing onto my Soundcloud and Bandcamp when it’s finished. Nightmerica will also be releasing a group project "Marauder Music" very shortly with a compilation of singles from all group members.
What does the future hold for Adolf Jyn?
The future holds no punches for Mr Jyn on this vigorous path. I plan on showing you guys every bruise and black eye attained. I’m only scratching the surface of my career as a creator and I plan to set the world on its ear.