Buddy & Kent Jamz Know How to Have Fun

“It don’t even sound like a song; it sound like we hanging out.”
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Hip-hop and essential brotherhood go hand in hand. Compton rappers Buddy and Kent Jamz of OverDoz. exemplify brotherhood in music and life. Both decorated artists with years and years of music experience between them, together, the duo make bouncing, thrilling, and just plain fun music. Both introduced to music through the church and blending raps with sweet, sweet melodies, the partnership of Buddy and Kent feels appropriately heaven-sent. Their first joint EP, Janktape Vol. 1, is 10 sunny and breezy tracks made to bring the light from the forbidden outside right into our very own living rooms.

“First week of the pandemic, really,” Buddy tells me of the timing of the duo’s decision to make a formal project together. “We just hang out and make songs all the time. So we had records.”

“He’ll work on my projects with me, help me write music, and I’ll do the same thing with him,” Kent Jamz chimes in. “When you go through that process, we have a lot of songs left over. So I was like, ‘Yo! This is the perfect time [to release them].’”

Timing is the trick of Janktape. The 10-track EP feels like summer in an era where summer’s start date will likely be pushed back. The bounding and cheeky “For The Ladies”—a standout and a personal favorite—feels like dancing feet hitting punishingly hot blacktop. It feels like a pool party. It feels like an emblem of all our best warm-weather memories.

“You lay down the stencil, and you color it in,” Buddy says of the making of “For The Ladies.” “Then, you lift the stencil up, and there’s a beautiful mural.”

Listening to Janktape and speaking with Buddy and Kent, it becomes clear to me the pair privilege fun and good times over, well, everything. Their rapport is lively and infectious—smiles abound when they speak, and you speak with them—and their music reflects their shining personalities.

“When it comes to making music, we just put our personalities on the track,” Buddy says. “It don’t even sound like a song; it sound like we hanging out. That’s why people like our music so much because it feels like they right there smokin’ a blunt with us or they at the club with us. It feels more personal than distant.”

“We do the same shit we been doing for a long time, but find a way to incorporate it into adult life,” Kent concludes. “Some songs will just come out, but for the most [part], it’s like a math problem. You just know what’s gonna happen.”

The thing about Buddy and Kent Jamz: They know how to have fun and still sound so, so fly. Janktape Vol. 1 is perfectly timed mood music, made to bring color back into our lives. Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.

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DJBooth: When and how did you two become friends?

Buddy: Pharrell introduced us to each other at Record Plant. What was that? Seven years ago? He was like, “Yo! You ain’t never heard of OverDoz.!?” I was like, “Nah.” He was like, “What!? That’s an LA n***a.” Then they walked in the room. We was friends after that.

When did you decide to make a formal project together?

Buddy: First week of the pandemic, really. We just hang out and make songs all the time. So we had records.

Kent Jamz: He’ll work on my projects with me, help me write music, and I’ll do the same thing with him. When you go through that process, we have a lot of songs left over. So I was like, “Yo! This is the perfect time [to release them].”

Buddy: My album is done, and his album is done, separately, but the pandemic put a lot of stuff on hold. We just decided to give everybody a little sneak preview of what’s to come... We had a folder ready to go!

Kent: We thought it would come after our solo projects, but like he said, once the pandemic happened…

Buddy: The rules changed. Everything just changed.

The pandemic has screwed over a lot of people.

Kent: I don’t necessarily believe in every… All the shit that people saying it could be from. I do appreciate the people that are taking it seriously. Doing interviews by phone instead of in person. Everybody staying in the crib, it’s much better than not taking it seriously.

Buddy: I’m just mad because I got rid of all my potential love interests before the pandemic; I been lonely and bored!

Buddy, what’s the best part of working with Kent?

Buddy: It’s just easy. His part already be done. We just be freestyling the songs. Our lives [are] so sporadic, and we live on such a high frequency. When it comes to making music, we just put our personalities on the track. It don’t even sound like a song; it sound like we hanging out. That’s why people like our music so much because it feels like they right there smokin’ a blunt with us, or they at the club with us. It feels more personal than distant.

Predictably, “For The Ladies” is one of my favorites on the EP.

Buddy: That sound like us, for sure. I feel like when people think of us, they think of songs like “For The Ladies.” And they ain’t even heard it yet! When they hear it, it’ll be like, “Wow!”

Kent: I’m kinda taken aback by that because we used a lot of real-sounding instruments. It’s not that popular to hear the types of raps we rapping over those types of beats.

You two just have so much fun on that track. How do you both privilege fun and good times in your music?

Kent: We do the same shit we been doing for a long time but find a way to incorporate it into adult life. Some songs will just come out, but for the most [part], it’s like a math problem. You just know what’s gonna happen.

Buddy: You lay down the stencil, and you color it in. Then you lift the stencil up, and there’s a beautiful mural… “For The Ladies!”

Does either of you think people wrongfully see fun music as corny?

Kent: That’s the easiest thing to do when you don’t get something, or you’re just not into it. That’s what a lot [of] people do. Most of the time, the people that do that, [the music] not for they ass. That’s why I love doing music, man. There’s no rules when it comes to art.

Buddy: I don’t think they gon’ feel that way about [Janktape].

Which song’s making was the most enjoyable?

Buddy: A lot of these songs [are] like three, five years old, some of them [we made] last week. We been finalizing it and packaging it up just now. I don’t even remember some of them. I know “She Think” was a fun time! That was kinda recent. 

Kent: That was before the pandemic.

Buddy: Right after we made it, it sounded like it was on the radio already. I felt like a fan listening to our own [music]. I was listening to Kent’s part like, “Ooh! Kent!” We’re fans as well. If I was to hear me rap, and I didn’t know me, I’d be like, “That n***a hard.”

Buddy, what does working with Kent bring out of you that you don’t get as a solo artist?

Buddy: Just somebody to bounce ideas off of. When I’m in the studio by myself, I’m my biggest critic. I tend to overthink and judge. I’m a perfectionist. I compare myself to Beyoncé because I’m a Virgo. I just want everything to be right.

I’m a Virgo, too.

Kent: Y’all crazy!

Kent, how does working with Buddy differ from working with OverDoz.?

Kent: It’s just easy. It’s a blessing to do what I’m doing. I’m not ashamed to say that, and I always tell people I am thankful for being able to wake up and go through my day and make music about it. I’m making music about what’s going on, and I have the luxury to do it with somebody. I like that about being in a group, and I like that about dealing with Buddy.

Buddy: It’s also reassuring because we’re both at a critical point in our [lives] and careers where we’re ascending from a certain level to a higher level. We’ve learned so much and been through so much to present ourselves properly to the world.

What’s your greatest wish for the other person’s career and life?

Kent: I want him to get his own GRAMMY for Best Rap Album. I been a fan of his too, for a minute. The fact that fucking Pharrell introduced me to him—at that point, I thought I was up on game. Every time I hear him get in the booth, it’s better than the last time.

Buddy: I just can’t wait for Kent to get his debut solo artist shine. He always felt like the Beyoncé of OverDoz. to me.

Stream Janktape Vol. 1, the new joint EP by Buddy and Kent Jamz, on Audiomack

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