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Jim Legacy’s Eclectic Sound—And Reflections On Hypersensitivity And Classism

By Olisa Jr

Hailing from London, and of Nigerian descent, Jim Legacy is an eclectic artist to the core, creating an experimental sound that not only explores themes of masculinity, hypersensitivity, and classism but also presents itself as a cross-genre spectacle. The 22-year-old singer, rapper, producer & creative director who describes his childhood as “colourful” is painting a portrait of authentic self and boldness through each song of his. “I just remember lots of colours & good feelings,” he tells me. “I grew up in Lewisham, so it took a while for me to kinda settle & realise what’s going on where I’m from, but until then I had the best time of my life you know?”

With the release of his new project CITADEL, Jim veers between the worlds of hip-hop to rap, heartbreak to self-discovery, and so much more. In our conversation, the young artist opens up about the varying influences on his sound and is candid on what defines him as both an artist and a human soul.

What was the creative process like for CITADEL?

Me in my room with a computer for 2 years straight. I produced the majority of it and recorded all of it in my room, which kinda makes it bedroom pop? [laughs] I never brought in any new help until the end, except with track seven where Jonah made the beat & I added on.

Can you tell me when music first made its way into your life? And how you developed your sound?

As a child, my dad would play Gospel, Micheal Jackson & Bob Marley, and I remember feeling so intensely by it but I never got super invested in it, probably because it was too intense until I met my sixth form friends. They put me on to it and got me reinvested in it again. My sound developed very slowly. I started producing in 2018 so it took me from making all kinds of sounds to finding what I did & didn’t want to make, but in doing so I picked up so many skills.

What role does music serve in your life?

Expression. I would’ve said validation but somewhere halfway through making this project I didn’t need that anymore.

What are the sonic underpinnings on which the album is built?

I think a lot of genres I have found newly, paired with the old ones as well. I think it’s fun to mould everything together.

By not existing under a single category, your music is allowed to expand and contract, encompassing all or none. Does blending various musical codes and genres across the spectrum respond to a feeling of dispersion or lack of place in your experience?

Neither of those things really. I remember being really young & getting very frustrated at not being able to make things, and the only thing we were made to believe was art was drawing, but I’d get really frustrated because I can’t draw, so for years until I was 18 I’d have crazy ideas and never be allowed to make them. I think me starting music soo late means I’m still responding to all those ideas, you know?

Listening to the project for the first time, the sounds embody an experimental cross-genre nature; spanning Afro-beats, hip-hop, and soul for some of its songs, and yet you’re able to find a fine balance between all the varying genres. What inspired or influenced the project’s sounds?

Influences from everywhere: MF DOOM, Headie one, Teni, Haley Williams, JPEG mafia, Tracy Chapman. So many incredible people inspired it, but also how there are the a lot of sounds that I kind of grew up loving but saw no people doing them, I felt like I owed it to the next kid to say you don’t have to just rap or make generic afro-swing. The sky is the limit.

How does imaging, or representation of masculinity and hypersensitivity relate to your output?

I think this is probably some of the main themes of the topic because each song is either super masculine, egotistical or super sensitive. I think I have a very apparent duality. I don’t like a lot of albums because the human brain is so complex and I love hearing as many parts of it as possible. I think citadel is a great balance of my ego kind of being balanced out by my vulnerability.

Where does the Sci-Fi influence play a role in your music?

It helps me visualise things I’m making, like if I can see a super exaggerated version of the project with a sci-fi backdrop, then it makes it easier to respond. It’s like extra stimulation.

What are your goals going into next year?

More art. I need to make even more art and enjoy my life a little more.

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