INTERVIEW | NEW YORK RAPPER JEZIAH DUCKETT DISCUSSES NEW ALBUM ‘MASKED UP’

In our exclus­ive inter­view with Jezi­ah, the enig­mat­ic artist behind the cap­tiv­at­ing new album ‘Masked Up,’ we delve into the cre­at­ive pro­cess and inspir­a­tions that shaped this music­al jour­ney. From the influ­ence of Miles Mor­ales and the dynam­ic city of New York to the per­son­al stor­ies embed­ded in each track, Jezi­ah opens up about his evolving artistry and the excit­ing future that awaits fans. With upcom­ing pro­jects and col­lab­or­a­tions on the hori­zon, the world can expect Jezi­ah Duck­ett to con­tin­ue mak­ing waves in the music scene.

Can you tell us about the cre­at­ive pro­cess behind your new album ‘Masked Up’? What inspired the themes and sound of the album?

The cre­at­ive pro­cess of Masked Up involved telling a story of tak­ing a stone face off made by medusa which I dis­play mainly in the song ‘Skel­et­on’ and “M.I.A”. So I was try­ing to set moods through the album with the first being a sad but lyr­ic­al filled while the middle was more vibey and focused on the top­ic of love. While the end was dis­ap­pear­ing in a tight/ knitty-gritty mood. What really inspired me besides cinema was just life. Dur­ing the moment and not even sure if the feel­ing is gone. But I felt really… depend­ent on a girls love while feel­ing like I’m being hid­den away from my true life because of just life.

“Masked Up” seems to draw inspir­a­tion from the idea of liv­ing mul­tiple lives. How did this concept come to you, and how did it influ­ence your songwriting?

The concept came from Miles Mor­ales as I’ve watched Across the Spider Verse a total of 15 times I think. Yeah… I felt really relat­ing to him so I kept try­ing to see how to draw out me and him as a per­son through lyr­ics. What hon­estly influ­enced my song­writ­ing was the artist I was listen­ing to a lot dur­ing the dif­fer­ent pro­cesses of the album. It took me about… 4 months to fully work on that album. Which is REALLY short. And I know with more time I could’ve made some­thing bet­ter even though I love the product but like dur­ing the first 2 months of the album I was listen­ing to a lot of Nas, Kendrick, and some Kanye while dur­ing the final moments of the album it turned more into Trav­is Scott and Don Toliver.

You men­tioned that “Spi­der­m­an Across the Spider-Verse” played a role in inspir­ing this album. Could you elab­or­ate on how the movie influ­enced your work?

It played a lot. First the soundtrack of Metro’s was phe­nom­en­al to the point I’m still listen­ing. It’s more than just the music. This includes instru­ment­a­tion. That as well as the ideo­logy the movie holds of him pur­su­ing a girl but the whole thing that he has to hide his iden­tity from those who he loves. It’s just per­fect screen qual­ity that I want to dis­play the feel­ing of Miles like in a music.

Your debut single ‘Made 4 U’ was ded­ic­ated to your fam­ily of sup­port­ers. How import­ant is your con­nec­tion with your fans in shap­ing your music?

Without fans there wouldn’t be any music. I make music for what I want to hear and express, how­ever it is most import­ant to me that my expres­sion and story is told so fans and sup­port­ers give me the floor to express myself. I also love the ideo­logy of inspir­a­tion as I was inspired by many artist giv­ing me chills and stuff so that’s what I wanna do as well.

How has your upbring­ing in Queens, New York, influ­enced your music and your iden­tity as an artist?

It has influ­enced me the most as New York is kinda why I’m here. This place has raised Hip Hop to the power­house it is today. New York raised up Nas and Rocky to inspire me and many artists alike of course but New York shaped the sound and style. If you are from New York you gotta be try­ing for that best dressed title feel me. I’m get­ting there… Just not rich enough yet.

‘Wel­come Me NYC’ and ‘Masked Up’ rep­res­ent dif­fer­ent stages of your career. How do you feel your music has evolved since your debut EP?

It was 3 months apart yet com­pletely dif­fer­ent cre­at­ive pro­cesses. My EP was more of set­ting my foot up. I wanted to cre­ate a stage for myself. Well I’m still not even grandly known in my album. It is far from an intro­duc­tion and more of my story. The EP was more of estab­lish­ing my goals and my love for music. Masked Up was a story to estab­lish my music­al tone.

You men­tioned a motto of “get­ting people motiv­ated to change the world.” How do you hope your music accom­plishes this goal?

As cliché as it sounds I wanna do it by spread­ing chan­ging sounds, chan­ging tones, and mean­ings. When I get deep­er into my career I’ma for­mu­late a new sound that I’ma call Rap in a cinema. I will not go fur­ther than that but yeah also a vari­ety of sub­jects. I have many ideas… Many Many ideas that I know will get me to the top but it’s a mat­ter of time.

What were some of the chal­lenges you faced dur­ing the record­ing pro­cess of ‘Masked Up,’ espe­cially con­sid­er­ing it was done exclus­ively in your home studio?
Man… Many… Mix­ing was a damn issue and me being the one to go back and forth. A lot of the time either someone could be play­ing loud music out­side etc man it was a hassle. I would stay up until like 4 AM just writ­ing songs so I can record em in the morn­ing and avoid all the day­time noise. For my EP I used a friend’s beau­ti­ful stu­dio. JML Stu­dio. For future pro­jects I will be going back there so I’ll see y’all in there soon.

Are there any par­tic­u­lar tracks on the album that hold a spe­cial mean­ing for you, and if so, why?

Sak­ura being my most… per­son­al since it was writ­ten for my girl­friend to be hon­est but we ain’t gonna go too much into that. I think the lyr­ics speak for itself. But also tracks like Night Owl since I was speak­ing in a present tense in a moment I couldn’t sleep. I just expressed my actu­al thoughts… Yes­ter­day was also ded­ic­ated to my women but I mean mainly I guess all my music holds mean­ing to me simply because I know the emo­tion I per­formed them out of. ‘Where’d It Come From’, ‘Sold Soul’, ‘Skel­et­on’. There’s too much to include get me.

 As you con­tin­ue to grow as an artist, what can fans expect from Jezi­ah Duck­ett in the future? Any upcom­ing pro­jects or col­lab­or­a­tions you can share with us?

FANS… Yall can expect the world to explode. Jezi­ah me… will have a 2024. On my birth­day Octo­ber 10th. I will be drop­ping a deluxe / com­pil­a­tion album named ‘UnMasked’ and that will be the end of the Masked Up era. I may have a glob­al super­star on that pro­ject who knows. Still doing my fin­ish­ing touches. But I will drop once more in Decem­ber and that’s all I can dir­ectly speak on right now. I will say I am in the pro­cess of a cre­at­ive group right now. So yall gotta stay in tune. There will be more col­labs with JML, Linnsy, M4R1. Just be in tune. Jezi­ah Out

‘MASKED UP’ IS OUT NOW

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.