Meet Fyah Roiall, top lyricist, hip-hop/grime MC and champion freestyler straight outta Kingston, Jamaica.
Roiall’s dreadlocks, nose rings, painted nails, and stretched earlobes may be a common look for baristas, punk bands or sound cloud rappers from North America, but his aesthetics stand out in a conservative place like Jamaica. He clearly doesn’t give a damn about what people think about him, but the way people feel about his unorthodox vibe does place a nearly insurmountable obstacle between Roiall and success through traditional music channels in Jamaica.
After a series of lead out singles (including “Wolves” and “Amun RA”) off the forthcoming album, Underrated, Fyah Roiall released his final single before the debut album this week. “Soundboii Freestyle,” produced by Grei Show and SpaceAge Rasta, was released with DIY visuals from the artist himself. Always bringing stunning visuals to complement his mood-setting music, he continues to grow his artistic abilities by editing his own videos and designing his own album art.
We connected with Roiall, who is based in Kingston, Jamaica and spoke about the new single, the upcoming album, his struggle with traditional Jamaica, and his experience creating a new genre in a highly siloed industry on the island. No ‘L,’ only ‘W’s,” this project is straight from yard #Jamaica and is pure fire.
Roiall’s newest video “Soundboii Freestyle” was premiered on SBTV in the UK. We had chance to chat with him about the single and how his grimehall sound is being received back home. Check out video and the Q&A below.
Q&A: Fyah Rioall
HipHopCanada: What’s with the title of the album, Underrated?
Fyah Roiall: Underrated, is inspired by the frustration I feel as an artist who doesn’t really fit into any scene, uzzimi. It just come from asking myself, What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing enough of? What should I be doing that I am not doing the right way or am I doing it TOO right.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about the new single, how did that come about? Who are Grei Show and SpaceAge Rasta?
FR: Dem ones are two producers I work well with. In other words “something hard to find”, as it relates to “Soundboii” it kinda just, happened. I was in studio with Greishow and he was making the beat. I was just smoking and listening, got a call from my girl and was about to leave then he said, “yow freestyle pon this mek mi hear Waa gwaan,” so I said, “k”, then that was it, one take.
HipHopCanada: We see your name in the directing/editing credits for most of your visuals and social media content. Can you tell us about that?
FR: It was 2016 and I met a woman who had a video editing program on her computer. I have a habit of teaching myself new things when I’m bored so I played with it every now and then, eventually I made the video for “I Wanna” from my previous project at the time, Audio Therapy, and it came out pretty good, so I kept at it.
HipHopCanada: So your music is really unique for Jamaica, and it’s been said you’re creating a new genre on the island called “grimehall.’ So it’s not reggae and it’s not dancehall… tell us about your sound?
FR: My sound is me, it’s what I like, what I enjoy, what I feel, what I think. It’s basically some mad selfish music in a way, it’s essentially me and what I like, emphasis on the “I.” I’ve always been told I oughta choose between reggae or dancehall but never listened or felt the same passion in the music when I attempted those genres, it’s just not me. And all the greats that I acknowledge are all considered greats because they stuck to what they were on, so that’s what I’m on.
HipHopCanada: How has the reception been of your new sound on the island.
FR: Nothing worth having comes easy, I think that says it all. People are in a lot of cases naturally resistant to anything new. But with time and consistency that thing becomes accepted, revered, even emulated, or as they say nowadays, “becomes of a wave”, and I see bare examples of what I’ve been on from day one becoming what multiple industries are hunting for and or molding their artists to be.
HipHopCanada: We noticed your fans on your IG compare you to a Jamaican Eminem. How do you feel about that?
FR: I feel awesome. I love Eminem, not on a Stan ting, more like a Tupac ting. The things that man does to words bruh, amazing. So the idea of people placing my name and his in the same sentence makes me think my flow and delivery and style of spitting makes them feel how my fav Eminem album makes me feel… and if that’s accurate or anywhere near, I’m definitely doing something right.
HipHopCanada: Your tag line “Bang Bang” – where did that come from?
FR: It came from not knowing what to say on a mad long intro. I was in studio 2013 with Jovi Di Pree going HAM on some beats he been making for like six days in a row and on this one song the intro was super long. So I was in the booth smoking, headphones on, mic sounds great, I was mumbling some tings and the “Bangbangbangbangbangbangbangbang” came out. It sounded lit thru the ‘EQ&Delay’, since then I stuck with it, said it on every song instead of my name, made it into what it is so now when you hear “Bangbang” if you know me I’m the first to come to mind no matter who says it.
You can follow @Fyah_Roiall on Instagram.
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