An Interview with Jymmy Kafka

By: Malakhai Pearson

Lil Nothin is the new collaborative project between Jymmy Kafka & producer/artist Rilla Force. Kafka – originally from Framingham, MA – grew up just a few apartments away from the building I was raised in. With Lil Nothin’, Jymmy provides a snapshot of his early years and what it was like growing up with a single mom in a low income neighborhood.

Where Lil Nothin’ stands out is through the combination of Kafka’s lyrics and flow paired alongside Rilla’s futuristic production style. The project has a really cohesive sound and aesthetic. Jymmy floats effortlessly over Rilla’s production giving listeners insight into his youth whilst still providing a glimpse into his life at this current point in time. Kafka and Rilla offer a clean, 8 track project with contributions from both Maka and Billy Dean Thomas on the project’s second track “Blood”.

Below peep a brief interview with Jymmy, courtesy of Graduation Music.


On “35a” you rap about the apartment that you were raised in – what is special about growing up in Framingham? 

There really is something special about growing up in Framingham. Whenever I think about it my mind goes to diversity, and not like college brochure diversity, but being able to really feel like you’re exposed to a full variety of cultures. The culture in our neighborhood, Beaver/Second St. was one thing, there were so many people in a condensed area that all the cultures constantly overlapped. A memory I have, that I bet most people from our area share, was being out with your friends as a kid when someone says ”so and so’s” grandma is selling limber for 50¢ down the way, which was pretty much Puerto Rican Italian ice. I feel like I never knew whose grandmother was selling them but it was a staple. There was also a big Brazilian population and the Brazilian barbecue is a cultural phenomenon. If you found yourself at one, you were instantly part of the family and definitely going to leave over fed. Then, you have the north side where there are mansions if you go far enough. More of the white population was in the north side but there were still a wide variety of people in all economic standings. I feel like the friend groups I had looked like the Captain Planet cast at times and yet we didn’t really think about it being like that. There definitely were and are racist people in Framingham but I remember talking about and questioning the racial divide and essentially systemic oppression as a kid/ teenager with my white friends. It’s like we would gravitate to who we related to as people first and then realize that our society makes no sense and is fucked.

In this project you reflect a lot about your childhood and how you grew up. What’s some advice that you would give to your younger self? 

I would say double down and focus on the things you know you want to do. Listen to your gut and not to people who think they know what’s best for you. 

Making this tape exclusively with Rilla, what was the creative process like when it came to making Lil Nothin’? 

This has actually been in the works for years. I originally wanted to call the project Disentanglements, after a chapter in this book I was reading about Edgar Allen Poe. Rilla and I made the song “Swoon” which actually took me a YEAR to write but was ultimately the catalyst of our extended collaborations. Throughout the time of writing swoon I was going through a lot of things, and feeling very wrapped up as a person. I ended up having these huge moments of self discovery and realizations that I was stifling myself and that it was okay to be exactly who I am regardless of what other people thought. We just kept pressing forward from there trying to make things that felt new and were different. Then the “SoundCloud rapper” wave hit, of which I feel I’m the antithesis, and it was honestly a little disheartening. Don’t get me wrong I definitely love a lot of the music that can be qualified into that bubble, but it felt like the shittier the music the more love and popularity it got. In a way I think this project was meant to come out in 2020.

BLOOD”, is the only track on this tape with features on it. How did the contributions from Maka and Billy Dean Thomas come about? 

They’re just the homies and really, cool talented people. My writing process was pretty weird and I’d only be able to get thoughts out if I was alone and separated from people. This song did come together in parts but the driving force was to try to shake off that barrier and be more open with creating. Rilla definitely helped me get past that in a lot of ways, and he’s the conduit for so many cool connections that don’t even involve us.

In the midst of COVID – 19 did you want to wait to put this project out? How have you been handling quarantine?

I was saying before that we’ve been kind of sitting on most of the project for a while, partially the perfectionist imp was holding me back from putting it out earlier. The one cool thing about quarantine was that it gave me a lot of time to slow down and reflect, and with that, the impetus to put it out strengthened. Then there’s this reawakening to racial injustice and police brutality which directly and indirectly is often referenced in this project, I felt like it was the right time for my voice to be heard.

Lastly, can we expect more from you and Rilla? What’s next? 

I think it would be impossible for me to not collaborate with Rilla so we definitely have a lot more coming in the future. Hopefully live shows are a thing in the near future because that’s been a big part of our dynamic and we haven’t gotten to tour together yet, so that’s definitely in the works if nature doesn’t heal itself and get rid of the human race… just kidding… But you can expect a variety of things from us separately and together real soon.

Interview by Malakhai Pearson for Graduation Music

Artwork by Tyler Kpakpo

Listen to Lil Nothin’ below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM LIL NOTHIN‘ ON ALL MAJOR STREAMING PLATFORMS

Connis – “Ditch the Function” + “Planets”

By: Shamus Hill

With a mere two weeks being left in the month of August, the realization that the Summer is essentially on its way out has become apparent for many. To help compliment the softened sensation that often comes paired with this time of year is Connis, who recently recruited Lord Felix, Notebook P, Ricky Sour, and Rilla Force for the delivery of two new tracks titled “Ditch the Function” and “Planets”.

“Ditch the Function” serves as an ode to introverts from all walks of life. Both Connis and Lord Felix have proven to be two of the most advantageous artists out of the Bay State in 2019, and the pair continue down this route as they bounce off of one another with true grace on this release. Connis makes use of his verse to relay some messages surrounding both being alone and working on oneself. He’s not afraid to speak on what it took for him to reach this current point in his life — something that has ultimately attracted a large flock of fans toward Connis’ direction. Brockton’s Lord Felix helps build atop Connis’ verse by reinforcing both the development of a secure temperament and the abandonment of remorsefulness. Nobody is perfect, but it’s the combination of holding one’s head up high and learning from mistakes that Connis and Lord Felix want listeners to know and understand. Ricky Sour, who was in charge of the production on “Ditch the Function”, has had a long history working alongside Connis — with the sonic chemistry exchanged between the duo being one of my favorite aspects of this track.

“Planets” is the second single that Connis released, which features Randolph’s Notebook P on the hook and Rilla Force on production. I was beyond enthusiastic upon seeing that these three talents had finally joined forces, yet still surprised as to how wonderful the output ended up being. Much like many of the verses included on Connis’ debut album, Conn(is), that dropped earlier this year, the Cambridge native continues to rap with a relentless energy. Each line holds a vast amount of weight as the listener is quite literally kept on the edge of their seat throughout the entirety of the listen. In a truly intergalactic fashion, Rilla Force’s usage of synth-rooted 808s help make this instrumental sound like something that’s out of this world, which assists Connis in delivering his thoughts in an unparalleled fashion.

If you still haven’t found yourself within the depths of Connis’ discography up through this point in time, then there’s no better moment than now to begin that journey. Take some time out of your day today and dedicate it towards some of our area’s most refined talents.

Listen to both “Ditch the Function” and “Planets” below:

Gogo. – “Sauced.” (Prod. Rilla Force)

By: Shamus Hill

In order to properly celebrate his birthday today, Gogo. just unleashed an intoxicating single titled “Sauced.”.

As mentioned during our coverage of soap.wav’s “Did It Again”, Cambridge has quickly become an important hotbed for music within the state of Massachusetts. Gogo. is one of the artists from Cambridge that’s been working tirelessly to maintain his city’s notoriety. Possessing a catalog of music full of alluring bops that take influence from a wide variety of genres, “Sauced.” is only the most recent addition to Gogo.’s already powerful discography.

Rilla Force, who was recently featured on Jymmy Kafka’s “Still There”, showcases exactly why he’s one of the most recruited producers in Massachusetts on this release. The electronic, dancehall-rooted instrumental suits perfectly on Gogo., who makes use of “Sauced.” to exhibit his braggadocios, confident state of mind. He’s more than aware of his talents, and is determined to make 2019 the year that everyone knows exactly who he is.

Listen to “Sauced.” below:

Jymmy Kafka ft. Maka – “Still There” (Prod. Rilla Force)

By: Shamus Hill

Framingham’s Jymmy Kafka makes his debut onto the Graduation Music site today with a heartfelt anthem titled “Still There”. Categorized as “villainous gospel” by the young rapper, this release is one of the most potent within his musical catalog — which already contains a vast amount of depth as is.

“Still There” circulates around the desire to know who’s really in your corner through thick and thin. All parties that had a hand in the making of this track have been grinding relentlessly towards the fulfillment of their dreams, yet long for the ability to be able to share their successes with someone else. Something that many creatives throughout the world experience on a daily basis, “Still There” is a reminder that you’re not alone.

“Said at the end of the night, don’t wanna walk alone // who is still standing? who is still there?”

Maka – “Still There”

Featured on this release is Maka, who’s feel-good vocals add an additional layer of life to this song that generates an incredible amount of replay value. Known for a more island-rooted sound, this release serves as a wondrous switch-up in his typical style. Rilla Force was the man in charge of production here, and once again showcases why he’s one of the go-to producers within the state of Massachusetts. All-in-all this release is simply unflawed, so direct your full attention towards Jymmy Kafka as he’s poised to gain some real traction in MA this year.

Listen to “Still There” below:

STREAM VIA SPOTIFY + APPLE MUSIC + MORE HERE

TeaMarrr – “Bent Hella” [Prod. Rilla Force]

By: Seamus Fay

One of the best feelings when listening to music is when you hear a new artist and you just know – know that what you’re hearing is not only special, but strikes a chord in you and is undoubtedly something that you’re going to end up telling all of your friends about. Such is the case with TeaMarrr. We have covered a few of her releases on Graduation Music before, but if you weren’t already familiar, then this is an incredibly talented singer that you need to have on your radar. Today, she joins our pages with the warm-weathered anthem, “Bent Hella”.

Laced with soulful, relaxed production from Rilla Force and soft keys to keep everything smoothed over, this track is an instant transportation into the summer no matter where you are or what your situation may be. TeaMarrr’s vocals seemingly float over the instrumental, and by blessing listeners with the alluring effects of her personality on the mic, there’s no doubt that this song is the summer tune that we all needed in our lives. I could go on about this one all day, but I’ll leave it up to you to enjoy for yourself.

Listen to “Bent Hella” at the link below: