• Billie-Jo Buttner

Artist Interview - AJ Mamba

Updated: Feb 22

Meet AJ Mamba! VxV sat down with the artist to discuss his entry into music, his goals, and the inspirations behind his artistry.

Originally from Philadelphia but now living in New Jersey, AJ Mamba grew up always obsessed with hip-hop but never thought of it as a thing to actually pursue. He developed a desire to start writing music when all of a sudden a lot of different artists came out that he connected to. “Kanye West began talking about things you didn’t think rappers would - like relationships, God. Then in college Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) reminded me of myself.” But it wasn’t until Donald Trump became president that AJ Mamba began looking for avenues and creative outlets.

He has been recording music for about 4 or 5 years now and has landed a record deal with Estabrook Road Records. He says, “I don’t see myself becoming one of the greatest rappers of all time but I feel like there’s a room for me and an avenue for me to talk, be honest and be my truth.”

Further inspirations he credits are artists who, like himself, put their truth out into the world. The likes of J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and Eve instantly come to mind. Wanting to be an artist, director, and playwright seeps into AJ Mamba’s hip-hop, making him a unique storyteller. Despite doing theater for years he has taken a break and is focusing on his music at the moment. But if he could “be somewhat adjacent to Snoop Dogg in the sense that [his] primary goal is music but [he] can be put into certain roles because people know [he] can deliver - then that would be perfect.”

A large goal for AJ Mamba is to become an opening act of someone’s tour. He would like to be on the road for a little bit and have that experience. A more personal goal of his is to start releasing some of the music he’s built up. “I have enough waiting to be released that I’d like to do at least 1 song a month and have my second EP out this summer.” Signing with Estabrook Road Records in itself was a goal he achieved last year and that’s allowing him to release his first EP under their label on February 5th, titled Spoken Words.

On the side, AJ Mamba has a YouTube channel with a friend of his called Loud Stone Entertainment. With 1500 subscribers, they created it to allow them to “geek out” about what they like. “Admitting what we like, I don’t think that because I’m a rapper I have to hide who I am and what I enjoy.”

That thought continues when he’s asked to give advice to aspiring musicians. AJ Mamba stresses the sentiment - “just go for it.” “I used to care so much about what people thought of me. The pandemic made me sit in this room and think about what I want out of life. I like to think that I have an idea from that.” Furthering this point is his friend, Kendall Miller, who sadly passed last year but gave AJ Mamba advice that has stuck with him. “Kendall was one of the first people who heard my music, and he said, ‘now that you’re being honest with yourself and not caring about what people think, you’re starting to blossom and show your full potential. Don’t be afraid to be yourself’. I never had success as an actor, never had success in theater or film because I was trying so hard to be who people wanted me to be instead of who I am”. AJ Mamba credits therapy for helping and believes others should go if they are struggling with themselves and have self doubt.

“I’m in a better place mentally and emotionally than I have been in a long time, and I think it’s because I’m being myself unapologetically”

Our final topic of the interview was a discussion on AJ Mamba’s song “Black People”. He truly wants the audience to know the purpose and origin behind it.

“There were a lot of press releases when it came out, but it made me out to be a person whose music is all about George Floyd and Brianna Taylor due to the timing of its release. It was an easy suggestion for its music video to feature all of the marching, etc. But I think the scary thing about the song is that it was written on NYE of 2019. Amaud Arbury was still alive, Breanna Taylor was still an EMT. I heard a beat and it sparked the lyrics for me; I was able to get out all of these feelings about racial relations and how black people can be just as varied and multicultural and can think differently within our community as much as any other. So if we’re capable of being that diverse in our own community why can’t you see that we’re just like you? And that’s the point of the whole song. It speaks to the song itself that it hit harder than initially would because of the time it was released. I would love to legitimately see our country work towards change.”

Upon concluding the interview it was clear that AJ Mamba does not take any success for granted and feels a genuine connection with the music he puts out. You can support and stay up to date with AJ Mamba on all streaming platforms and at the links below!