Born and Raised on the south side of Chicago, Jeremiah Jae is the son of jazz musician, composer, producer and ex Miles Davis Musical Director, Robert Irving III, and the great nephew of the African-American opera diva, Margaret Tynes. JJ excelled in visual art, played the piano and guitar from an early age and started making beats on visits to his father’s home studio and in his grandmother’s basement at around 14 years old. He attended high school at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and spent a semester in college at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, where he developed his many creative skillsets aside from music and making beats, (illustration, painting, and graphic design).
His first online releases as JJ, (Lunch Special pt. 2 and DXNCE), and Young Black Preachers, a group consisting of his childhood friend and god brother, the late Aaron Butler a.k.a. Projeck (1989-2009), and Projeck’s brother, Monroe ‘Tre’ Smith, aka Dirty Sinatra, caught the attention of underground hip hop producer Flying Lotus. At the age of 21, JJ joined Lotus’ independent, Los Angeles based label, Brainfeeder. He released an ep on the label, ‘Rappayamantantra’, in 2011 and the album ‘Raw Money Raps’ in 2012, and also released projects on the London-based label, Warp Records. Meanwhile, JJ expanded his collective of artists, close friends and family under the name Black Jungle Squad (BJS), which still maintains a devoted following. JJ has done guest appearances as an emcee on projects for Alchemist, JonWayne, Samiyam and others as well as production work/collaborations on projects for Captain Murphy, Busdriver, and various BJS artists. Many of his more self-produced and self released projects, for which he creates all the artwork...Lunch Special Pt. 1-4, Bad Jokes, Good Times, Rawhyde, (a collaboration album with his first cousin Oliver the 2nd), DAFFI... to name a few, have received critical acclaim from reviewers at Pitchfork, WNPR, The FADER, Impose Magazine and many more publications and online sites.
His collaboration with North Carolina-based producer, L’Orange, ‘Complicate Your Life With Violence’, was released on the Mello Music label to even more stellar reviews. CYLWV is a hard driving look at issues of war and violence and their consequences on a soldier’s life. The New York Times featured the video from the album, ‘After Alley Life’ in its’ The Playlist’ feature in September 2019. The album is a follow up to the 2014 collab by L’O and JJ, ‘The Night Took Us In Like Family’, which was a heralded classic in the underground hip hop community.
JJ’s music ideology continues to mature and has evolved from his early days in hip hop. His creative expression in the form of visual/multimedia art is another layer he is devoted to fully expressing and expanding moving forward with his career. While the combination of art and music is a concrete part of JJ’s repertoire, he has begun focusing more on developing artwork and process through illustration, painting, graphic art, and animation. ‘Medium Aevum: 100 Knights’, is the latest of JJ’s reoccurring concept driven and historically themed projects and offers an introduction to his drawings and illustrations. His known alter ego persona, Black Daffi, a cartoon mascot who’s made consistent appearances throughout his work, (in particular the album, ‘Daffi’), is but one character in a universe and storyline that JJ is currently developing. His ‘art from imagination’ is defined by the artist as dream content and daydreams. This art plays a key role in the Daffi persona and in the other intriguing characters JJ is continually developing.