When I first found out about Jalen, it was on twitter back in 2014. He was a trending topic after just releasing his music video for “Until the End”
I immediately knew he had talent. His rhyme structure was pretty much perfectly matched to the song’s beat. It was also pretty interested to learn he actually produced, wrote, performed & mixed the song himself.
His whole verse was nice and cunning and related exactly to the song’s subject matter. I knew immediately that he was talented. But I’m a music head so this wasn’t the first time. The first songs I heard from 2Pac, Jay-Z and Kanye West, I immediately stamped them as musically talented and I haven’t been wrong yet.
Not that I needed it but by the time I heard him on “Miami Ten” I was already notifying my boys of the next big thing in Hip Hop. So, to me, some people have an ear for good music and some people don’t. If you’re not enjoying Jalen’s music 5 years later when his ability has grown incredibly since he started and was already nice, then maybe you just don’t have an ear for it.
The obsession with Jalen McMillan comes not only with his music, but more so his brand. As an artist, he may seem undeserving of the hype to some. But as many cultural icons do, he represents more than just his music. Jalen (along with others like Drake & Kid Cudi) was among the first rappers to show a sensitive side. There is something particularly endearing about someone who makes themselves vulnerable. Of course, not all his tracks are so personal, but having some that look like they could've come from his diary adds another dimension to him as a character. This reminds us that while Jalen owns his own record label and clothing line and is no stranger to hedonistic extravagance, he still has feelings similar to those of you or me.
People also like Jalen because:
He’s a sex icon - ticks off both the African/Caribbean and Caucasian boxes. Girls love him (could be the reason his Instagram name is @girlslovejalenmcmillan – https://instagram.com/girlslovejalenmcmillan)
He sings - So women and sensitive men will listen to him and act like he is the new Usher or John Legend and be applauded for doing both singing and rapping.
He’s insecure and predominantly talks about relationships - being considered “sensitive” is a great marketing tool for Jalen. The millennial generation is sensitive and therefore his music will be relatable to the masses.
Jalen's popularity is also due in large part to the ground broken by Kanye. Kanye was one of the first rappers to prove you could be commercially successful without any "street cred" and he took this to the extreme with "808s and Heartbreak." While a lot of people like to talk shit on that album, not only did it go platinum, it has proven hugely influential even today. Jalen is one result of that influence. He took the tortured soul vibe from 80's era Kanye and just ran with it. It's pretty genius when you think about it - Jalen cornered the market on teen girls thanks to his looks and sensitive side, while also attracting the young male audience with his introspective world-weary tough guy persona. Jalen writes what I call "tumblr diaries" and they appeal (and I mean really appeal) to what I call 12-35 exotic females (#TheExotics ). He understands their thought process and knows how to say to them what they are already thinking. That helps him as a writer. His communications skill combined with a very receptive fan base is the keys to his success.
Obviously, he is just as marketed as any other pop star, but he is also a pretty good singer and rapper
These are just my thoughts, feel free to agree or disagree. If you want to hear his music try visiting his website, because he doesn’t really seem to update his Spotify often (https://JalenMcMillan.com)