There are very few artists out that have put in the work like the living legend that is Jay Worthy. The independent hustler has never let something like a pandemic slow down his growth, with real street rap seeming to be as popular as ever Worthy is at a very interesting turning point in his career. He has an established reputation as your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper and it’s well earned. P Worthy is a timeless artist, he has stayed true to himself and consistently brings a different level of storytelling to a new generation that often lacks to look back further than a decade when it comes to music that stands out. His sound is west coast rap at its finest, laidback music that hits best in a convertible playing as loud as possible. He recently dropped a mixtape in partnership with an iconic brand that further cements himself as one of the biggest hustlers in independent music. This is a must-listen for any reader’s craving the gritty nature of ’90s rap and
Where Worthy excels most is as a storyteller though, both in his lyrics and in conversation. He’s a true student of the game, picking up knowledge from all the legends he’s crossed paths with. Even though he is just starting to really get the public notoriety he deserves, Jay Worthy is no rookie. He’s been hustling his whole life, this mentality has served him incredibly well over the past decade only relying on himself to earn a living through music. As an independent artist in the digital age, Worthy has always put a huge emphasis on physical sales and other means to get your biggest fans to support you in a more direct way. This may not be a viable option for all, but looking to really know who your fans are and how they will support you is vital in this day and age.
We’ve seen rappers like Travis Scott ink huge partnerships with giant brands to mass market an artist’s popularity with their products, most recently his hard seltzer Cacti. While these types of deals are only just starting to become available to a certain tier of artists, Worthy has been working with brands that have always been important to him before he found success. Jay has had an official partnership with Pro Club for years now, a genius partnership as they were largely the shirts he and his people wore growing up. While this may not be as big as a Fortnite collaboration, it means way more to Jay as it’s way more relevant to his story and a way easier route to connect with his fans.
Pro Club isn’t the only brand that Jay has sparked a partnership with, we touched base recently for the release of his very own 40 oz with St. Ides to coincide with the aforementioned mixtape. This is a staple in the neighborhoods Worthy came up in, making this a full circle moment in his career. After many years grinding his way through the industry, there’s no question that a St. Ides 40 oz is still his go-to drink. I got on a call with Jay to catch up on his life, spending the past few months in New York, and filling me in on the importance behind this collab. One thing he wanted to make absolutely clear was that if you ask anybody, they will tell you Worthy is well known to still keep an ice-cold 40 oz in his hand, most likely St. Ides. The urge to partner with them stems from growing up watching his favorite artists be featured in St. Ides commercials or in movies that were popular in the hood. He’s always had it in his mind that he wanted to have his own line of beer, but the pairing between him and St. Ides on this release is a match made in heaven. Don’t get your hopes up to find this in any liquor store, the limited run will only be available in a small number of bodegas in Harlem.
To go along with his own line of beer, Jay Worthy dropped a collection of merch inspired by the iconic branding and the mixtape that is the focal point of this whole collaboration. With production coming exclusively from Vada, who took her own approach to chopping up classic beats from 1994 and movies that mention St. Ides to paint the full picture. Throughout the ’90s, St. Ides had superstars like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang Clan, and more to write songs to help take their marketing to new heights. It had a massive impact on an entire generation and Jay Worthy is exactly the type of artist to bring these major moments in hip-hop history back to the forefront.
In our conversation, Jay Worthy dropped a lot of gems but he lays out why this is such an important collaboration in his own words:
“As a fan of the rapgame, coming up watching stations like the Music Box or hood movies it was always St. Ides. All the most poppin rappers in the 90s would have a St. Ides commercial or talk about it in the hood movies. I just felt like it was so iconic. Anybody who really know me is like damn Jay Worthy really still drinks 40 oz’s. I had a relationship with St. Ides and I wanted to put out my own brew so that’s what we did. A limited run of my own beer came out in a 40 oz, 22 oz, and a 16 oz can, but its only available in Harlem in 3 bodegas. It means something to me, I grew up looking up to that shit. My favorite rappers had a St. Ides commercial, now I have my own commerical and my own line of beer. I did the digital cassete to release alongside to pay homage to those releases and used all beats from 94 from soundtracks. We’ll have physical versions of the cassette tape dropping soon, I’ll let people know when that comes available. When you listen to the tape its really like a mini-movie, the whole thing tells a story. I’m proud of it, the only other people I’ve seen collaborate with St. Ides is Supreme so I know I’m doing something right.” – Jay Worthy
Now, this is no ordinary mixtape. Released as a single 16-minute track, this release mimics the cassette tapes that you received with your 40 oz back in the day. For many of our younger readers, this concept may be completely foreign but it helped break a ton of artists and helped closely tie the brand’s image with artists that would help them connect with their fans directly. While streaming makes access to music easier than it’s ever been, these kinds of placements were the equivalent of getting on Rap Caviar in the 90s. The whole tape is filled with old movie clips mentioning St. Ides and samples from classic beats used in the original run of songs to keep things as close to what Jay remembers from his days running around Bompton. If you’ve ever listened to one of these old mixes, there’s no question he killed it when it comes to mimicking the feel of these old tapes. You can tell the passion Worthy has behind these collaborations because it’s what initially inspired him to even start rapping in the first place.
As I said, Jay is a storyteller above all else. With this collaboration he is not only bringing things full circle by working with a brand he idolized growing up, but also bringing these storylines back to the forefront for a generation quick to move on to the next thing. The past decade should be a blueprint for artists looking to build their own platform all while never straying from his vision. It would be an understatement to call Worthy’s life interesting, he has built relationships with almost every major artist out and for good reason. With labels like Griselda becoming more prominent than ever, it’s only a matter of time before Jay Worthy is mentioned in those same conversations as real street legends that stayed true to the vision and never strayed from the path. Worthy teased a big partnership in the works so stay posted for the lifelong hustler to finally get all the shine he’s been working towards.
Be sure to stream the ST LGND 94 tape in full and definitely check out his take on the iconic St. Ides commercials below!
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