Photos courtesy of Jay Storm
When Noisey first met nineteen-year-old producer Jay Storm, it was a rainy day in northeast Charlotte, NC. Storm was chilling with a couple friends at a recording studio, wearing a single gold chain and messing with his phone as other rappers and singers stepped in and out of the recording booth a room over. In a city not exactly known for producing successful hip-hop artists, Storm's unexpected connections to some the biggest rappers in Chicago make him something of an island unto himself—even if he chooses not to flaunt it.
A big reason for his subdued demeanor is that he's still a relative novice to navigating the rap game. Jay Storm got his start in middle school on Fruity Loops 2 and 3m back when his older brothers were messing around with the programs. He pushed his early work through the old site Soundclick, and made what he jokingly described as "Crank that Soulja Boy-type beats." At one point, he even sent Soulja Boy some of his work; he got back a request to send more beats, but that trail went cold after the initial reply. Storm was back to pushing beats online in hopes that some of that good fortune might help him get his beats to the right ears. His luck held out, and got him his first real connection with living Chicago legend, King Louie.
One day while sitting on Twitter, Jay Storm asked how he could send beats to King Louie; someone tweeted him an email address, and Storm sent over what he felt was his best work in hopes that Louie would hop on the tracks. That's exactly what happened, and before the songs were out, Louie gave Storm a call to playback the finalized tracks he recorded. The highlight of that cluster was "Eastside Shit" featuring Lil Herb off Drilluminati 2, which triggered a number of rappers out of Chicago to come looking for beats from Storm, even though he hadn't—and still hasn't—made it out of Charlotte.
Though Storm has expressed interest in making it out to Chicago and perhaps getting some real studio time with King Louie and his other collaborators, he's got other things on his mind right now. He appears ready to expand his music horizon and branch out from behind the boards .Following the footsteps of the late South Carolina-based producer Speaker Knockerz, Jay Storm has started to try his hand at rapping about a year ago. He isn't about to hoard all the good beats for himself, though, as he mentioned connecting with other Charlotte rappers like Kevin Gates, SD; and Frais and Bankroll Bird (who got his own Chicago co-sign from Young Chop) to still put on for his city. He was even supposed to have a show with them, but blamed his absence on "technical difficulties." There will be plenty more shows to perform and beats to send, though, and at least right now, Jay Storm is enjoying what the winds blow in his direction.
King Louie (feat. Lil Herb) – "Eastside Shit"
King Louie and Lil Herb on "Eastside Shit" gave Jay Storm his first real connection that helped him to rise above the numerous other producers hocking beats through social media. The production is the haunted kind of menace that might be connected back to the drill of Chicago, but doesn't appear too far away from what Crime Mob was doing a decade ago, or even what Three 6 Mafia was on a couple decades back. For the first beat of Storm's to gain large recognition, it was a good entry point in establishing the typically dark mood and vibe of his music.
King Louie – "So Real"
Storm was proud of the fact "Eastside Shit wasn't just a one-off track with King Louie, and that they have continued working together over the last year. "So Real" is one of their latest collaborations from Louie's Soprano tape from last November. The brief tape opener was one of many collaborations between the duo in 2014, but showed a more subdued, and dare it be said uplifting, aesthetic from his usually dark production style.
300 of Montana – "Ice Cream Truck"
Based on pure numbers "Ice Cream Truck" by 300 of Montana is Jay Storm's biggest hit so far with over three million views on Youtube and another 1.5 million on Soundcloud. Storm almost forgot to mention this track when speaking about his Chicago collaborations because he didn't even know it was happening until 300 of Montana let him know the video was about to be released. This one was an older beat of Storm's, one whose that melody gets twisted and distorted; the video's spooky scenes fit the beat's creeping atmosphere.
Jay Storm (feat. Bankroll Bird) – "704"
Though Storm is well-aware of the stigma attached to producers that step behind the mic—especially in recent years—that didn't stop him from giving it a shot. He cited the late producer/rapper Speaker Knockerz as an inspitation for him to get behind the mic, and that influence is easy to hear in Storms' melodic approach to rapping. That decision worked on the opening of his last mixtape New CLT, "704," with Bankroll Bird, as both use their melodic approach to great ends in a song dedicated to the city they call home.
David Turner is repping Charlotte on Twitter.