This November marks the one year anniversary of Jai Nitai Lotus’s album ‘Something You Feel’. I have come across many other great albums between then and now, nothing has resonated as strongly with me. The intention, presentation and all around experience of this album transcends the music and really taps into those emotional and mental spaces we rarely let ourselves explore. It takes a self-assured and well-balanced artist to create such soul stirring music; so I had to take the time to get to know the man behind this masterpiece and the road that got him here.
MF Gold: Alright Lotus, so you’ve been rapping and producing for well over a decade now. Yet ‘Something You Feel’, which was released in November 2012, was your debut album. I appreciate that your album has such a strong history and maturity attached to it but it makes me wonder if you have always been the honest and assured musician we know today…?
Jai Nitai Lotus: When I started, my intention was always good. I was raised in a good way so even when I was hanging with the wrong crowd or doing bad stuff, I knew better. But I was insecure at the time about, you know, all the things you’re insecure about while growing up: being different, having a name like Jai Nitai, and all that tough guy stuff. So I wouldn’t show any emotion, which is really contrary to what I’m doing right now. However with the exception of my first raps that had nothing to do with my real life, the intention was always there. It wasn’t till someone passed me a Black Star tape that I realized I could be myself, talk about my values and still make it sound cool as hell. Since then, the way I go about making music is asking myself can I feel confident about this? Can I believe in this? I let that dictate the path.
MF: Nice, more artists should live by that creed. Now, one of the amazing things about your album and the conjunction shows, artwork and videos is that it all feels like a cohesive piece – a true experience. How are you managing to keep the album’s sentiment alive in each element of the project?
Lotus: The thing is that everything is something you feel. That’s the beauty of the title I decided to go with. I realized that’s just the way I make music. It’s become a movement more than an album name, so much so that the tour is gonna be called ‘Something You Feel’. As for the many elements I bring into this experience, well it’s because that is how I see it. It’s not just raps or production when I think about music. It’s a bigger idea so I become an artistic director to the whole project. I’m blessed to be surrounded by some very talented people that help me execute these ideas. We tend to forget about the team and how important they are, but I manage to maintain my intention in every component of the project with their help
MF: Amazing, I’m glad to hear that you’re going on tour. Is there anything else that we should keep our eyes peeled for?
Lotus: The tour is one of our big focuses right now. My music is really for the people and I feel like I get the best response when I bring it straight to them; but I’m also working on a mixtape that should be released shortly. Over the past year, I got to live more and take the time to read and update my artistic vocabulary, so this mixtape will be a reflection of a more recent state of mind. I’m approaching this mixtape just like an album so that the consistency you appreciate throughout ‘Something You Feel’, is present here too.
MF: Solid! Looking forward to it. Any closing thoughts for our readers?
Lotus: There’s this line that’s been resonating with me recently and driving much of my intention: “be great to do great”. Too often we get stuck trying to be great just to say that we’re great, but what are you going to do with it? I like finishing my set with my track ‘Hard Times and Bless’ (Ft. Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime) because it makes people leave in a reflective state, which is where I was when I wrote it – reflecting on ways to do better.