We have a new feature all the way from the Netherlands with the brand new single, “Jesse Owens.” Jinnahcide is a Pakistani-Dutch emcee who is trying to create an international impact on hip-hop, using his interesting background to help himself stand out. He’s already got 3 mixtapes under his belt, and 2020 has definitely helped him keep up his momentum by releasing track after track. “Jesse Owens,” his 3rd single this year, is the song targeting American audiences, beginning his worldwide takeover as an artist. He’s got an impressive list of collaborations set up for the future, and I’m curious to see how they’re received. His trademark is his face coverings (which are especially useful right now), and they really contribute to his mysterious aura.
The track, which is titled “Jesse Owens,” after the American track and field runner who was coined “one of the greatest and most famous athletes in track and field history” relates his flow to the runner’s speed and agility. However, that isn’t all that the runner is known for. Owens has broken numerous records, which Jinnahcide refers to on the hook of his track, and even managed to debunk Hitler’s beliefs of Aryans and White Supremacy when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
The video, which features Jinnahcide head-to-toe in United States clothing, (even accompanied by an American flag) is actually a super cool way to target the American audience considering the song is about an American athlete. It’s not just Jinnahcide walking around wearing an American flag because we’re that egoistic (which we definitely are), but rather because he’s supporting American sports. It’s a much less tacky way of showing off red, white, and blue. It’s much more subtle, especially when you consider the current political climate in the United States and the fact that Jesse Owens faced racial discrimination and broke records as an African American competing in the Olympics. Whether it was done intentionally or not, the choice of athlete especially during our own Hitler-esque regime is quite clever. Old school hip-hop was always about being anti-elitist and standing up for minorities and the underdog, and this track definitely does that.
The production of the track is gritty and raw, without being overwhelmingly complex in terms of dynamics. However, the percussion offers a lot of syncopation, making it pretty difficult to rap over. I absolutely love Jinnahcide’s tone, so I’m glad that the beat showcases him. His voice is deep and raw, really creating that old-school sound which is a pleasant contrast from heavily auto-tuned artists. Additionally, pitching down his voice during the hook worked really well with his video. It really added to his persona, especially as most of his face is hidden. It just felt extremely anti-elitist, or almost like an underground PSA that requires anonymity.
The hook, “run on the track like Jesse Owens” is just one example of some of the impressive and clever wordplay demonstrated throughout the track. The visual imagery also helps to paint this picture of a superhuman, building up his strength and allowing the listener to imagine what this artist looks like, especially because we don’t ever see his face. The use of vibranium, the fictional metal from Marvel Comics, is also super cool, especially as it contrasts with gold and silver medals. He also furthers this idea in the second verse when he mentions “I ain’t human” and goes on to describe his UFO. Overall, between the production and the makeshift mask, I am definitely getting Watchmen vibes.
It’s overall a super dope track. I’d like to hear Jinnahcide on some faster paced production, especially to see just how fast he can rap over a beat. I think he has incredible tone, and after seeing the list of artists he’s collaborated with, I’m quite excited to see what directions he’s taken. I think there’s definitely a place for him in the American market and I’m looking forward to seeing what other ways he chooses to bridge the gap. If you liked what you heard, you can connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @jinnahcide.
We actually have a little surprise for you! Jinnahcide and I decided to edit in an interview which covers everything from racial tensions in the Netherlands to his choice in fashion and how he got started. He spills nothing but the truth and this may be one of my favorite interviews yet. You can check it out below!
So let’s start with a bit about you. What inspired your name?
Jinnahcide: “In ’99 I started rapping under my initials JD. I had to switch it up to Judgement Day quick, cause I had found out about Jermaine Dupri’s existence, haha. Weeks later I thought Apocalypse sounded doper, so I ran with that until I heard there was already a dope MC named Apocalypse. I went back to ‘Judgement Day’.
In 2001 I changed it to ‘J Spine’. That stands for J.ustice is S.erved to the P.oor, I.nnocent, N.eglected and E.ndangered.
I used to listen to 2pac & The Outlawz a lot and all of them had aka’s, inspired by world leaders. In a random thought I was convinced it was a good idea to have ‘Jinnah’ (Pakistan’s 1st president) as my alias.
In 2016 I changed my name to ‘Justice The Backbone’. A year after that it was cut short to ‘Justice’, til earlier this year I decided that ‘Jinnahcide’ is the most original name to go by. It describes my style perfectly and speaks for it self. Actually it was meant to be and still is meant to be the name of my merch-brand.”
I love the amount of effort it took to find the perfect name! I feel as though each alias probably represented a different part of your journey as a rapper. What got you into rapping in the first place?
Jinnahcide: “I used to write my own songs and poetry when I was a kid. English was always my favorite subject at school and somehow someway, I always knew I wanted to get into rapping, later.
When I heard J Dilla’s ‘Got Til It’s Gone’ beat in 1997, I fell in love with the genre.
Mase is the 1st rapper I liked listening to, after I heard ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’. That verse he did is still one of my favorites of all time.
I still believe Will Smith is dope and has bars and his album ‘Big Willy Style’ was the first Hip-Hop CD I bought.
But I lost my mind when I saw ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ by Busta and Janet on television. I recorded the song on a cassette-deck while it was playing on the radio and kept pressing ‘play’ and ‘stop’ and ‘rewind’ til I had the “lyrics” written down as what I thought Busta was saying. I kept practicing til I could keep up with his speed. A year later when I was 15, I started writing my own lyrics. My first verse was about war and poverty.
Way before all this, my elders and uncles used to buy me Starter jackets, Polo, Nike’s, Fila’s, Chippie, Energy, Tommy Hilfiger, Champion hoodies and LA Gear shoes (yes, those were poppin’ in the Netherlands in the 90’s) so the culture was heavily around me. Especially in a city like Rotterdam… In the 90’s it was nothing but fly people everywhere here, rocking (for example) the suède Timberland boots and Wu-Tang Wear. That era was monumental and I am glad I got to observe that from a distance as well as being a low-key part of it in the making.”
I absolutely love that. All of those are such iconic tracks, and everyone knows my love for Dilla. I think we tend to overlook the fashion that was so prominent in hip-hop too, especially in the 90’s! How would you describe your sound that you ended up creating?
Jinnahcide: “The beats I used on my mixtapes were mostly snatched off of YouTube. I did that because I wanted to practice my English raps more and get better at it as a legit songwriter.
I used to go for the MF DOOM, Beat Butcha, Alchemist, Stu Bangas, Madlib, DJ Premier, V Don instrumentals cause I thought that what what my sound was supposed to be like in the future.
I was in contact with dope producers such as Godz Wrath. They were already making the slow, eerie sounding beats in the 00’s. While I was doing these mixtapes I kept in contact. Around 2015 I linked with Ciph Barker from Godz Wrath and started building a little catalog of my own.
At the moment I’m doing a full-length album with Northlake, who is known for his grimy sound.”
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?
Jinnahcide: “Method Man.”
Solid choice! I also know you have a pretty interesting background, where are you from?
Jinnahcide: “Both of my parents were born in Pakistan. My grandfather came to Holland and made sure my grandmother and their 8 kids could join him here by working 7 days a week. He passed away 1 week before I was born. After I was born in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), my mother and I went back to Pakistan often. I still remember those times as a 4 and 5 years old there too.
I never left Rotterdam permanently but hopefully I will very soon.”
How do you incorporate your culture into your music?
Jinnahcide: “I named myself after Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
My tapes are called ‘Khal Nayak Mixtape’ (vol 1-3). ‘Khal Nayak’ means ‘The Villain’ in Hindi and that’s also the name of a blockbuster 90’s Bollywood film. I might mention something that has to do with my heritage in my bars, here and there.
I would say my flow is mostly influenced by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (RIP). I watch his shows a lot on YouTube. Even though he was not a rapper, his raag’s can be compared to what Tech N9ne or Bizzy Bone do.
Sticking to what I am is the best thing I ever did. I definitely don’t want to come across as a person that’s not proud of his Desi roots.”
I think that’s so important. I’ve been quite critical of South Asian artists that simply appropriate Black culture when making Hip-Hop music. Would you say that you endure racism living in the Netherlands?
Jinnahcide: “I’m glad you asked me this question.
The Netherlands is a country with a very evil colonial past. What they have done to the people of Indonesia, Surinam and The Antilles is comparable to what happened with the Africans that were brought to America and enslaved. The Netherlands is the last country that distanced it self from slavery, not too long ago either. But the white supremacist mentality is embedded in the minds of a lot of Europeans. The Dutch police is some of the most evil in the world. ‘Apartheid’ is a Dutch word that the whole world knows about, so what I’m saying is nothing new. They will hate me back home for saying this but it’s just the truth.
I went to Christian, white schools and as one of the few colored kids I had a rough time with the older, racist white kids in the play yard too. It was hard to deal with during my childhood cause I never expected racism from “Christians”.
Being racist in plain sight is just part of the Dutch culture, I believe. You could be watching a talkshow and one of the guests will say something degrading about so-called minorities and you’ll hear the studio-public bust out laughin’. I believe it’s in most people’s DNA, out here.
Holland also has a what they call “tradition”, named Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas, portrayed as an elderly white man, arrives by ship and rides a white horse through parades across The Netherlands. Hundreds of adults and children dress up as his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), wearing blackface, painted large red lips and black curly wigs, and some with large golden earrings. It is just now that different regions in Holland are distancing themselves from this racist tradition because of the work of the anti-racist group Kick Out Zwarte Piet. Their goal was to make it a holiday for all kids, no matter what color they are. For the last 5 to 6 years this discussion has been exploding all over social media every end of November, around the time it takes place.
But racism is always gonna be a thing, even if this Black Pete character disappears.
I go through it myself almost everyday. The crazy thing is it’s not even coming from white people that much. So lately I just let it be for what it is. I don’t want to focus that much on racism and colorism no more. Sometimes I’ll speak on it, through my art. But Holland will remain racist as long as devils like Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet are granted a place in politics.”
So what exactly is the music scene like there? Has it been heavily impacted by Covid?
Jinnahcide: “I honestly have no idea. Sometimes I’ll listen to some of the skilled Dutch rappers but other than that, I keep most of the Dutch rap off my radar. It just doesn’t sound right to me and often I don’t feel like they respect the culture. We have a lot of dope MC’s that rap in English, though. I do work with the dopest producers out here. Northlake, Munsk, Sensei Walingh, Chib and Godz Wrath got exactly what I need. If a MC I respect wants to work, I’m with it. But in general, I don’t really link with others. I love my privacy and I stay to myself, most of the time. Over the years I’ve invested in features with my favorite MC’s and producers from The United States, legends that I grew up listening to.
Covid definitely impacted a lot of artists out here. Specially those that were taken care of a lot. It didn’t impact me at all cause shows were mostly given to rappers that do Dutch music, and I was never signed and always invested my own money. “
How do you usually go about picking production for songs?
Jinnahcide: “Some of my producers send me batches, others wait til I get to their labs. After a couple seconds into listening to a beat, I already know if it speaks to my soul or not. Whether it’s a slow horror or fly type of drum-loop, or a trap/drill beat… If the sound matches my persona, I pay for it and I sit on it for a week or two to get in-tune with it fully cause being from Europe, it takes me a little longer to come up with bars that I think are good enough.”
Speaking of, you just recently released a new track titled “Jesse Owens”. What inspired that?
Jinnahcide: “Jesse is a nick-name my grandmother gave me. When I was 14 and saw Jesse Owens in the history textbook I was like ‘finally they teaching me about a black man in school’. I googled him and understood the importance of his accomplishments and had major respect for him. Then I heard GZA/Genius on ‘The Jump Off’ saying ‘Run on the track like Jesse Owens. Broke the record, flowing. Without any knowing.’ This bar always stood out to me cause of the double entendre and the way Genius managed to pay homage. I was at Ciph Barker’s (Godz Wrath) studio and he had just finished up this new grimey instrumental. It was so fire to me, I asked him 10 times to replay it because I knew I was gonna need it. In my head I could hear the GZA and Killa Sin samples as the hook already. Once the track was done, I knew I had made something special.”
That’s so dope! It seems like it all just fell perfectly into place. What projects do you have coming up that you would like to share with readers?
Jinnahcide: “I’m working on albums with Northlake and Godz Wrath and some other projects, such as two Eps and a double-album. Once I start releasing albums, I want to be consistent in doing that. This single/video run I’m having right now is a preview of the catalog that’s in the making. I’ll try to keep that up as much as possible by releasing more videos til me and Northlake decide to drop our project.”
Where can readers interact with you and get updates on new releases?
Jinnahcide: “@jinnahcide on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.”
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