Iamaura is bringing something to the rap game that some people think no longer exists: Lyricism. Every word he says cuts like a knife and you can hear the passion behind every single verse. His wordplay compliments his gritty and sometimes soulful production as the two are a perfect pair every time. He dropped his first song only a year ago and his first EP titled I. AM. AURA Vol. 1 in July of this year. Since then he’s already dropped two more singles including a remix of Drake’s hit Nonstop, which blows the original completely out the water. I spoke with him to see how he puts out music so quickly, what his next steps are musically and more.
Paul: Who are you?
Iamaura: My name is Keleb K. Jones aka iamaura or Swazay.
Paul: Where’d you get the inspiration for the name “iamaura”? Also, I’ve heard you say “Swazay” in tracks. Is that an alter ego type thing?
Iamaura: To be honest, I was watching a video on Egyptian spirituality and randomly the phrase in my mind “I AM AURA’ came to me. No deep thought about a name and same with “Swazay”. Well I used to think the guy in Scarface name was Swazay as a kid and I remembered it at 17. Lol no alter ego, just cool sounding aliases.
Paul: Aye nothing wrong with that man, I feel it. What got you into rapping?
Iamaura: The fact that I thought it was an easy way to become rich but the reason why I got into rapping isn’t the thing that kept me committed. Once learning the power of music and how I can change people’s lives indirectly in a massive way I become more inspired to become an inspiration through giving my whole self though my music.
Paul: That’s absolutely true man. I think people sometimes underestimate how powerful music can truly be. Speaking of inspiration, which artists are YOUR biggest aspirations?
Iamaura: Tupac, Kanye (old stuff), Capital Steez, Kendrick Lamar had the biggest inspiration on my substance. Jay Z, Andre (3000) and Big Pun had the biggest inspiration on my flow. Nas, Common and J. Cole had the biggest impact on how poetic I am.
Paul: None of these names surprise me and yes, that’s a compliment lol. How do you feel about the current state of rap as a whole though?
Hip-Hop is good and is still progressing contrary to popular beliefs.
Iamaura: Lol thank you. I feel like the current state of rap as a whole is cool. The climate’s going to change as always, I’m apart of the culture and it’s best to find the beauty in it. I think as a creative community we should always let the mainstream faces of our art forms define the art form as a whole. There’s many talented underground artist and people with potential that’ll be the influencers of change. Today we don’t focus too much on lyrics but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any lyrical artists. Someone who isn’t appreciated as a lyricist who should be is Offset from Migos. Today we don’t focus on lyrics as much but that doesn’t mean quality can’t be made so I LOVE the good energy. Hip-Hop is good and is still progressing contrary to popular beliefs.
Paul: Straight facts man. Speaking of change I’d have to say “Make It Happen” is my favorite by you. You went OFF on that one. What was the writing process behind that track or rather, what’s your writing process for a track in general?
Iamaura: To be real with you my writing process just begins with me becoming in sync with the beat, once I do it has to speak to me because if it doesn’t then there’s nothing ingrained in me that I have to say on it, once I hear what the beat is saying to me I think of how to translate it through my lingo, I find the right words that ride the beat and I feel out what amount of syllables flow on the beat. The words able to sound like they are sewed into the notes of the beat. I explore how many flows I can use and shift throughout each verse. Next verse I meditate on what other flows will compliment the beat instead of coming in the same. It’s more about feeling the beat and letting it speak for you instead of speaking what you think the beat will compliment.
Paul: I can tell you put this much effort into every verse for sure. Can we expect music videos anytime soon? I imagine they’d be narrative driven coming from you.
Iamaura: Yes, I’m working on getting visuals out before the year ends for “Are You Down”. I’m debating on whether or not to put an increasing amount of detail or keep it simple and just exude the energy of the track.
Paul: Either way, I know it’s gonna be fire man. I expect nothing but greatness form you, You’ve already teased, Vol. 2 of I. AM. AURA is coming soon. What’s the direction you’re going in for this project?
My mission with my music is to let the people know me and help others grow through learning my mind.
Iamaura: This project is going to be a deeper look into the dualities of Keleb aka I AM AURA. Starting with the tiredness, depression, aggression, transitioning into the rested, balance and happiness. I’m telling a lot of truth in the album, I’m expressing my connections to the spiritual side as well as exposing the physical downfalls that I have. Vol 2. is gonna double the realness, the depth of life and what I’ve been thinking. Truly expressing “my aura” or identity in a sense. My mission with my music is to let the people know me and help others grow through learning my mind. Let them take from me what they want and use it for whatever purpose. I hope it’s for good. Lol.
Paul: That sounds exceptional man, Excited to hear it for sure. To close I’m gonna hit you with possibly the hardest question of this interview: Who had the best album this summer?
Iamaura: KOD by J. Cole too easy lol.
Paul: Straightforward with that one. I disagree but we’ll save that debate for another time lol. Thanks for taking the time out to do this man. You’re headed in the right direction for sure. You’ve already created great things and I know even more great things are in your future.
Iamaura: Lol, no doubt next time. Thank you for taking your time out too bro. Thank you for the support and yes indeed, I’m moving from great to greater. Keeping my focus to maintain the growth. Keep growing as well.
Stay updated with the sounds of Iamaura via his Soundcloud.