By Jessica Golich
Building a steady following of enthusiastic and enthralled fans deep in the underground is certainly not an easy feat but Metro Detroit’s own, Jolo Reeves, makes it look like a walk in the park. In the blink of an eye, a thousand views of one of his first music videos, “70 syllables in 6 seconds”, turned into 700,000 views and morphed Jolo’s rise to the top a spectacle to watch. Detroit is a hub for underground Hip-Hop abounding with a variety of talents that have taken their testing life experiences and transformed each one into a lyrical narrative that enhances the culture and shines light on what Detroit has to offer. Jolo recorded, edited, mixed and mastered his first official mixtape, ‘Never Change Vol. 1’, on his own within the four walls of his room with a USB microphone and a cheap laptop; if that doesn’t emit the intensity and authenticity of Jolo’s passion into your veins then take this a wake up call. On the brink of the biggest year of his life, I caught up with Jolo to discuss what’s in store, how his Detroit roots have influenced his groundbreaking underground style, upcoming shows and more.
- First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is Jolo?
Jolo Reeves is a 21 year old Independent Hip-Hop artist from Metro Detroit. Completely self taught, he went from recording with a webcam Mic on windows movie maker, to completely mastering the editing process. Jolo’s first viral video was his “70 Syllables in 6 Seconds” which received over 700,000 views and counting. The same week, he placed in the top 12 at TeamBackPack’s MULA 2015. His first mixtape “Never Change Vol.1” was recorded in his bedroom with only a cheap laptop and a USB microphone. It was released on April 5th, 2016 on SoundCloud. Since then he has been performing all around Detroit, where he has built a team and a reputation for always putting people on and showing support for any local artists and their movements.
- How has growing up in Detroit influenced your artistry as a musician?
Obviously, the first thing anyone reading this would expect is that Eminem was a huge influence on my rap career, how could he not be? His song, “My Name Is”, was the first rap song I ever heard, and I was hooked. However, Eminem made it difficult for any white rapper to be recognized for their talent. Growing up in Detroit made it even HARDER because nobody wanted another white rapper from Detroit. Nobody wanted to believe in me, which is what fueled me to push even harder and prove all of those people wrong.
- Tell us about one of your recent experiences which was performing live at the El Club in the D? How did it feel amongst the energy in the crowd?
Honestly, I went there expecting a smaller crowd, but there ended up being over 300 people. I had the first slot to start the night off. I was nervous because I had never opened up for someone as talented as Futuristic, but the crowd loved my music, and Futuristic was really down to earth. The first thing he did when he saw me backstage was approach me with a smile and a friendly handshake saying “ There’s that fast rapping mother F***er”. That moment was so surreal for me, and it gave me the confidence boost I needed to perform as good as I did. The crowd’s response that night was the best feeling I ever experienced at that time. My city LOVED my music, and for that I was beyond grateful.
Jolo kickin’ it with Token after taking over the stage in the D.
- What current projects are you working on? What do fans of Jolo have to look forward to over the next six months?
Aside from building my team, and some new fans, I am currently working on my first debut album, featuring artists such as: Astray from Shady Publishing, Crooked I from Slaughter House, and Jarren Benton from Funk Volume. I have also been performing all over Detroit trying to earn my place as a respected artist. After my last performance, where I performed at Meltdown 6.5 for over 1,500 people, I think it’s safe to say my shows will only continue to grow in size. Over the next 6 months, you can expect to see me building my fan base, performing at Detroit’s finest venues, and the release of my first album. You may also see my return to the stage for TeamBackPack in summer of 2017.
- If you had the opportunity to collaborate with any musician and producer on one track, who would you choose and why?
Realistically, if I had to choose an artist to collab with, it would definitely have to be Russ. Like myself, he is a self taught, self made, “DIY” type of guy. He is one of my biggest inspirations at the moment. As for the producer, I’d have to pick someone who is talented, professional, and from Detroit, like Astray. His beat, Russ’s style, and my speed, all together on ONE track would be an amazing song!
- Any upcoming shows that you can fill our readers in about?
My next and last show of the year is “Bass Supremacy” @ The Russell Industrial Center on December 31st which is expecting a crowd of over 2,000 people in attendance. My first show to start off the new year will be “The 4th Annual Catalina Bass Mixer” on January 28th at the same venue with another 2,000+ people in attendance. I will also be Headlining at the Diesel Concert Theatre with Paul Wall sometime in February. I will also be hosting my second Detroit Dream Showcase Event where I have been known to throw all of the ticket money back into the crowd for anyone who stayed through the entire show.
Jolo kickin’ it with fellow MC, Futuristic.
- If you could share any words of wisdom for kids growing up aspiring to be in shoes similar to yours as a rapper, what would you say?
Nothing in this life is handed to you, and everyone is only looking out for themselves, so be cautious. Take any and every opportunity to learn something new, because knowledge is power. Build a team of people you trust to support you, and build yourself as a artist before worrying about “making it big”. Stay busy, work hard, practice, and don’t think you’re going to “make it” off of a video going viral, you have to earn your place in this world. Stay HUMBLE!
- Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
To my fans, thank you for supporting me and getting me this far. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. 2017 is going to be a very busy year for me, so expect to hear my name a lot.