Royalty is never bestowed through the accident of birth. Jameel Mason knows: real royalty is earned. It’s a matter of dignity, bearing, temperance, and wisdom. Queens walk among us every day, and it’s up to us to recognize their struggles, honor their courage, and support their efforts however we can. Mason’s latest single – released to coincide with Women’s History Month – is a heartfelt tribute to “Black Queens,” delivered in lean, poetic verse over a soulful beat that feels simultaneously old-school and contemporary. You can call it a mash note, a pep talk, words of encouragement, or philosophical reflections on the persistent mistreatment of black women in American society; it’s all of these things. Most of all, though, it’s an irresistible rap song on a very worthy subject.
Mason has never delivered anything else. He’s quickly established himself as one of the most thoughtful, skilled, and compulsively listenable new rappers in the Garden State hip-hop scene. He’s quick with a one-liner and a sure hand with a punchline; he’s also equally adept at developing his thoughts on complete, sharply-written verses. “Black Queens” follows the success of the moody, meditative “Quarantine Mami,” a collaboration with R&B singer Alix Ford. Though the track was independently released, its video has already been viewed more than half a million times on YouTube. He’s also shown his fierce regional pride with the spring 2020 single “Jersday” – one on which he left no question about where he’s from and exactly what that New Jersey license plate means. No wonder that Jadakiss has recognized him as an heir to hip-hop’s long tradition of candid street storytelling.
In the “Quarantine Mami” clip, Mason was comfortable in the role of the lover man; in the “Jersday” video, he’s a local lord, rapping in front of a luxury automobile on a Garden State hilltop. That same confidence is present in the “Black Queens” clip, but he’s sharing screen time with a dazzling procession of black women determined to assert their own autonomy. That means women in the workplace, women in the gymnasium, women standing tall on the streets and pushing kids on the swings of a city park, and a young girl who Mason is training to box. Sure, his guidance is helpful. But he knows – and you know – she’ll soon learn to punch on her own.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences overall?
I can’t say “who are” but I can tell you “what are” and that’s my family & life experiences – all art requires a level of creativity and the inspiration behind that creativity comes from my loved ones and things that I have seen or been through.
Can you tell us about your single “Black Queens”?
Black Queens is the last song on the Album A.S.P.E.N (Always Seek Positivity Envy Nothing) and what people don’t know is that Aspen is my daughter’s name. The Album is dedicated to her and Black Queens is a heartfelt tribute to all Queens out there making it happen.
Who directed the music video? Was the music video fun to make?
The Videography was done by G- Train Productions and directed by Cozy Creatives. I had a blast bringing this masterpiece to life. Jean, the director, was great at making sure we capture the subtle details that really grab the attention of the audience. In addition I was in the presence of royalty the Queens showed up and showed out.
What albums are you listening to right now?
Bigg Mellz – Black HourGlass
E.Scott – Welcome to the Jungle
Both projects are crazy, most definitely have to tune in.
How did you navigate your career throughout 2020 with the pandemic situation?
The pandemic was a blessing for me, I got a chance to focus on my writing, create the Album and had the music video for “Quarantine Mami’ rack up over 500k Youtube views. The pandemic showed me that you can still be effective even when your initial plan gets derailed.
Do you have big plans for 2021?
2021 is going to be a Big Year – I just released a track called “Big Steppa” which is going crazy on Spotify and Tik Tok. For the ladies I have the official summer anthem dropping in a couple weeks titled “Claws”. Lastly, I’m working on a collaboration project and Pine Hill will be dropping at the end of the year. So, there is a lot going on, I just want to stay focused and continue to make high quality music for the people
Follow Jameel Mason: