Is he country, or is he not country? This is a question Jelly Roll has faced repeatedly amidst his recent massive success.
With his history as a rapper before dominating the country music space, Jelly Roll can sometimes lead to some hot takes on where his music should lay.
Last week, Jelly Roll (whose real name is Jason DeFord) stopped in to chat with The New York Times Popcast podcast, and discussed his thoughts about the opinions on whether or not he’s “country.”
And his response was incredible:
“We have guys in country music that are obviously like…’Hey man, he’s not country enough.’ And I’m just like, what do y’all want me to do? F*ck a goat?
I’m not sure how much more country I could be.”
He then goes on to explain that while some people think he might not be country, the same thoughts were had with Waylon and Willie when they first stepped on the scene. With any artist that will push the boundaries previously set in a genre, the public will have some pushback. However, continuing to show up in the space and putting out music that is authentic to the sound you want will eventually lead to respect.
Jelly Roll then says that because “Need A Favor” was a crossover hit, he has been asked to perform at the Jingle Ball concerts across the country, and being with a bunch of pop stars has never made him feel more country.
“It’s really cool to be so accepted and loved, and it’s like I’m walking around backstage feeling like a f*cking redneck. I mean, I think I just got out of a deer stand.
I’m talking to everybody, and immediately they’re like, oh yeah, he’s country. Like to them, my music couldn’t fit anywhere else.”
He then says that when Morgan Wallen started breaking out, along with artists like HARDY and ERNEST, he felt like his sound was maybe going to be understood in the space, and his time to sneak in was on the horizon.
And there’s no denying he was right about that. And given that Post Malone, who started in rap, is now getting attention in country music, I think Jelly Roll is here to stay. Who’s not to say, too, that Post Malone saw Jelly Roll shining in the light and thought he could make it in the industry now?
Jelly Roll is a new outlaw sound, and his rockstar persona combined with his raw lyrics will connect him to an audience no matter what genre melody you put behind it.