Written by: Lauren Demir
Photos: David Franco
Collages: Annie Mcgill
Jords, 22 year old rapper from Croydon dropped his Album Means to An Ends in September. The 14 track project tells a thorough and personal story of Jords journey so far, “Everything I have done up until now has gone into the album. Its taken a year to complete but I feel like its taken 10 years because all the experience has gone into it.” Nick Dre, executive producer of the album, bonded with Jords over Jay Rocks album, Easy Rock, among other things, and has been working closely with Jord’s on the project for the past year. The album blends a range of different sounding beats, from rap, jazz and even a bit of grime, which all manage to sound cohesive. The track listing is fluid, with the moment when a certain song ends and another begins not always clear, keeping you inadvertently hooked. Jords uses his rapping and singing together with skits and features to tell his story very clearly. He explains the dilemma that comes with making an album “Does it depend what an album does or depend what does an album sell? Personally what I do on a project is all about the sound.”
Jords’ laid back character is noticeable and he seems to be the kind of person who is happy to adapt to situations rather than sticking to a rigid plan. We decide to go to on a walk with a few spliffs, to have a relaxed conversation and learn more about who Jords is, what he stands for and what his music represents.
Jords and his manager Trickz are arranging the track list for his upcoming live show when we arrive at Nick Dres studio. After 4 years of gradually working together, Jords decided Trickz was the right person for the role. A recurring theme that Jords returns to throughout the interview is how he prefers to know people and their energy before working with them. On the table in front of him is Malcom X’s biography which he started after Randy Valentine suggested it to him. He explains about the session where Randy recorded his parts to Your Mind, “We didn’t talk about music. For the first half an hour we we’re talking about books, then rolled one and then just speaking about life. The music came afterwards.” He also remixed Kadiatas Onda, putting his own spin to the relaxed song, “He's sick man and a really cool person. He's just got that energy you connect with.” They plan on jumping on a song together in the foreseeable future too, he tells us. There is a list of features on the album with everyone sounding comfortable and adding something extra. Jords’ attitude to how he chooses who he works with explains how all of the features feel organic, as everybody is on the same wavelength.
Jords jokes about having middle child syndrome, with his mum using his older brothers name for her password and his dad his younger sisters. There is no love lost between the siblings. Jords names his brother as his main influence.
His brothers passion for football and seizing the opportunity move to America to become a coach is what motivated Jords to peruse his passion for music. He explains about his brother, “He led in his example. He came to a stage where my parents wanted him to do the normal school route and he was like ‘I really want to do this thing that I love.’ If my brother didn’t show me that there’s a way that you can do what you love I wouldn’t have done that. There is no way I would be as happy.” Jords parents wanted him to go down the academic route, hoping he would study engineering at University, as Maths and Physics were his favourite subjects at school. It was during 6th form when he dropped out to concentrate on music.
Trickz has got him practising regularly in order to have him prepared for his live shows. Jords explains how he’s always watched documentaries of the greatest performers with him reeling of a list, “Jimmy Hendrix, I’ve got a Marley one, Marvin Gaye and then obviously J Cole Forrest Hill Drive, Jay Z when he goes back to the Barclays Centre.” But he admits that its different when he watches them now because he is watching them for more than their entertainment value, “Now I’m consciously doing the things that I was doing subconsciously. You’re turning your habits into a science.” Its the J Cole Forrest Hill Drive documentary that has resonated with him the most and acted as a major musical influence to him. “The way he's living right now is everything I want to be doing. On the tour bus making beats, going and seeing the world. Literally enjoying life.” You can hear Coles influence in the album, such as in The Lights, Part 1, The Lights part 2. Jords is looking to emulate the balance that J Cole has found with his music: the ability to make touching music that both him and his fans enjoy, and therefore naturally, sells.
After watching his Mahogony Session where he performs The Drive with just a guitar as accompaniment, we had our expectations set for his unplugged show. But actually seeing him perform at La Chiffere was something else. Together with his live band, features and presence, Jords aced it. This was a tough feat considering his 2 supporting acts Malick IV and Shaé Universe (chosen by Jords) both are strong live performers. Jords performed an array of songs off the album engaging the crowd, with each song invoking a different reaction from them. Phone lights in the air, sing along session, shouting for a reload, or laughing alongside the lyrics. If anything, this further proved Means to an Ends is an album where people actually listen to the lyrics, from top to bottom, again demonstrating Jords successfully has told his story.