As the summer winded to an end early last month, rapper Jeleel! found a way to fly higher and stay closer to the sun’s warmth. The Rhode Island-born and Los Angeles-based artist is what you would call a rage rapper, one who seeks to bring the same amount of energy out of a crowd as Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, many others have been known to do. However, unlike few, Jeleel! delivers twice the energy the crowd gives him.
It’s all apparent through the multiple videos that landed on social media and gave him a viral boost during the height of the 2022 festival season. One example came during the Made In America Festival in Philadelphia where Jeleel! climbed a stage to successfully execute a backflip that had everyone watching in deep prayer for all ligaments in his knees.
The theatrics continued at Rolling Loud in New York, where Uproxx was able to catch with Jeleel! In addition to the backflips and high-flying activity, another cool moment from Jeleel! came when he effortlessly caught a bottle of soda that was thrown in his direction as he performed on stage. He cracked it open, took a sip, and let out a yell that left his audience enamored all before he got back to business to finish his set.
In our brief conversation with Jeleel! before Rolling Loud New York, we talked about his stage presence, what he hopes to do in the future, and the new music he has on the way.
You’ve trended a few times over the past couple of months for your performances. How does it feel it see people react and be wowed by your performances time and time again?
It feels so good, man. It’s been a long time coming. I didn’t just come out of nowhere, I worked so hard. I’m just happy man, I feel blessed. Thank God.
What goes into your performances from a preparation aspect beforehand to even stuff that happens in the middle of it?
Okay, so sometimes I have some nerves so I’ll run fast as f*ck. I’ll run like sprints so I can get loose and I can breathe. It helps open up my lungs, but doing that, I pray before I go on and I like to stretch a little bit.
You had this crazy backflip that you did on stage a while back, and when I saw it, I was really praying for your knees. Have you ever gotten hurt during a show going crazy on stage?
There was one time I got hurt playing basketball when I was 16/17 years old. I was going up for a dunk and I fractured my tibia and ruptured my patellar tendon. But not really, I haven’t gotten hurt doing a flip or anything, thank God.
With some of the recent events that have happened at past shows, there’s definitely an added sense of caution and safety with performances. How do you make sure your fans are safe while also completely turning up and rocking out on stage?
I’ll be like, “Yo, are having a good time?” And they’ll be like, “Yeah,” and I’ll be like, “Is everyone safe?” and I’ll be like okay, “hug each other” and then people hug each other laughs.
What’s one thing you would love to incorporate into your next few shows?
Maybe have like a WWE ring or some sh*t, you know? Or maybe like, someone comes in on stage and I just pick them up [and] put them through a table. Just sh*t like that, that’ll be hard.
You just dropped your new song “Deliver!” which still has the rage factor but also a touch of afrobeats under it. How did this come together and what inspired it?
I just want to show people that I’m more than just diving. I can do so many different types of music. I was just showing people that I could do afro rage. I can do whatever I want to do.
When it comes to your stage presence and rocking out at these shows, what do you want to be remembered for when it’s all said and done?
Making an impact. It’s all about impact for me, you know? Making an impact and helping people.
What do you have planned for your fans in the coming months to wrap up the year?
I’m gonna drop another song.
With the kind of energy and everything that Rolling Loud is known for, is there more pressure to really bring it when you perform?
Sometimes, but I’m gonna just do my best.
Lil Uzi Vert is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.