If you turn on the radio, chances are you’ll hear the hit song “Uno” by Watts-based rapper Ambjaay (pronounced A-M-B-Jay).
A recent addition to Columbia Records, Ambjaay is barely at the starting line of his career and those years are very important times for any musical artists — the first impression on listeners is huge.
With his EP It Cost To Live Like This under his belt in addition to a plethora of singles, the rapper says he is just focused on success and making it out of his hood with the people around him.
Ambjaay took some time before his first headlining show in LA to talk about his future plans and to introduce himself to those who might not know him well.
Bluntiq: So, when did you really start to pop off?
Ambjaay: To be honest, I want all my real fans to know, if you’re really a fan of Ambjaay, ‘Uno’ has been out since February 14. I’ve been making songs, but I dropped it on Valentine’s Day with my EP It Cost To Live Like This. But I started popping around my area of Watts where I’m from. I got signed in April and it took off from there. But it been popping before I got signed, it hit a million before I got signed. Columbia Records just blessed me.
B: It’s crazy though, the jump. You think your perception of the music industry has changed since you signed?
Ambjaay: Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I kind of leveled up as far as me rapping. I rap different. I can’t explain it. I want to do more rapping, I don’t got to rap how I used to. I used to write, now I can just freestyle. I just have a passion for it now. Just having a hit song, you can fall of any day. So I just want to keep growing and have more hits bigger than ‘Uno.’ I’m bigger than ‘Uno,’ but that’s the song they love.
B: As far as the creative process, I’m curious, do you usually just get in there and bang out music or do you plan it out?
Ambjaay: I’m going to tell you how I made ‘Uno’ because it relates to that. First, if a producer sends me a beat, I’ll throw on my earphones and write to it. If a producer sends me a beat, I hear it, probably write a hook, then write a little bit and freestyle the rest in the studio. I don’t write anymore.
B: In terms of future projects, do you have anything coming?
Ambjaay: Yeah, I’m going to drop It Cost To Live Like This Part 2, but ‘Uno’ has been jumping. I’m ready for new music, hopefully my tape does good.
B: Have you ever gotten to the point where you’ve kind of got tired of performing it?
Ambjaay: Nah, I’m not tired of performing it, but I want to show people what’s more than ‘Uno,’ what’s bigger than ‘Uno.’ It’s not just that song.
B: I listened to your first mixtape a couple of days ago and I can really hear that LA sound. Who do you get your musical influence?
Ambjaay: I’m not even going to lie to you, I don’t really have no music influences. It’s really my family, where I come from. It’s hard to make it out (Watts), for real. Just a couple of months ago, I was trying to get a job but I ain’t want to do that. So I really liked the music, so I’m like, ‘Man, when I get out of high school, I’m just going to take it seriously,’ and that’s what I did. I put all my money towards it and I blew up.
B: And you graduated high school right? Where’d you go?
Ambjaay: Centennial High School
B: That’s definitely not too far, I know where that’s at. Did college ever work for you?
Ambjaay: Nah, I went to college for a couple of months, but I dropped out. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t for me. I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to get my head to it and really grind for it and put my all into it.
B: I also heard somewhere that you wanted to create other sources of income and not just the music. Talk about that.
Ambjaay: I’m trying to invest in property and I also want to get into acting. I don’t want to just rap, I want to start my own clothing line and just really help people that don’t got that support, you know, that income.
B: The openers tonight, are they your homies?
Ambjaay: Yeah, they’re my homies for sure. I know how it feels to be up-and-coming. Sometimes, people don’t mess with you. When I was coming up, nobody handed me a slot to come perform. I grinded for it and nobody helped me do nothing.
B: Can you explain your name?
Ambjaay: So my real name is Jayvon, but my nick name is Jay. So AMB came about because we were already AMB on my street where I’m from. But my homie had passed away, so my rap name was something else, but I’m just going to run with it. I just slapped it in front of my name after he had passed. I even put it on my back.
You can stream his It Cost To Live Like This below.