He went from childhood in Nigeria through university in Kryvyi Rih to Kyiv rap scene. Now Folajin Oyedamola Oyedayo Jeremiah a.k.a. Very the Jerry is often compared to Kendrick Lamar. His flow is appreciated by the British PromoMag and Choice for Music UK. And his track “Fly With No Limits” is the Best Hip-Hop Song of November 2018 of the Louder.me Tournament.
After graduating high-school in Nigeria Very the Jerry took his father’s advice and moved to Ukraine to study on the Mining Faculty of Kryvyi Rih National University. Soon after the student years, his daughter was born and he decided to go to China to work as an MC in local clubs. That’s where he’ll eventually decide to move to Kyiv for good.
photo: Maksym Fesenko
Being a black person in Ukraine is something you need to learn to cope with. “At first after I moved I had problems getting used to the fact, that whenever I went, everybody would drop what they’re doing and concentrate on me” — he recalls. “It still happens sometimes, but now I try to take it as a compliment. I’m an artist, a musician, I’ve done huge work to stop being embarrassed by the attention of the public, now I use it.”
Very The Jerry experimented with different Ukrainian musicians such as brassie reggae Drum&Tuba Band and labels such as Rookodill’a. But all of his latest work happens with Ukrainian sound producer Yuri Medved a.k.a Kodzu. In 2018 alone they already managed to release two singles and two EP’s.
Keep Pushing Through
His creative goal is to work for his listener. “We need to give people the states they’re expecting” — he says. And his unique vibe clearly fulfills this need. It’s light and groovy but at the same time, it combines with deep complex lyrics. For example, in the track called “WeakMan”, he reflects on human weakness and the need to constantly overcome yourself in order to evolve.
photo: provided by Very the Jerry
You can say that it’s the keynote of his music in general. His latest EP Toy Gun tells his story, his street experience and appeals to everyone — keep pushing through. “This release is more than just a number of new songs or words for me” — says Very the Jerry. “It’s a cut-off of the reality that surrounds me. Sending 100% of positive vibes I clearly realize the political and social situation we all live in. Hip-hop and reggae is that kind of music that’s able to make you smile and motivate you.”
I Am Who I Am
To his constant comparison to Kendrick Lamar, Very the Jerry resigns himself philosophically. “Rap becomes art when you realize the guidelines you can use to create your own vision of it. And he helped me realize it. That’s why I am a combination of all these different influences including my African musical roots”.
photo: provided by Very the Jerry
Apart from Louder.me, you can find his tracks on Apple Music and Google Play. And even though working with streaming services can have its ups and downs Very the Jerry can find motivation everywhere. “All my tracks are released officially, they have licenses with excess paperwork. Frankly, the income from the digital market is not that big, but it only encourages me to work and promote my project”.
The only thing he’s not ready for is to rap in Ukrainian, which in his own words would be the biggest fail in the history of hip-hop. Nevertheless, his killer feature is his genuineness. The mix of his African roots, Ukrainian experience, and the hip-hop culture. And his constant willingness to experiment.