In February, New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a controversial press conference where he suggested a social media ban on drill music. Adams explained that his son Jordan Coleman sent him drill music videos, and what he saw was so “alarming” that he thought social media sites should remove the subgenre from their platforms.
The Mayor’s comments went national, sparking debates far beyond the New York Metropolitan area. But what’s less known is that Adams’ son Jordan is a rapper who goes by the name Jayoo. He’s released two albums (with another on the way) and he currently works at Roc Nation in the film department. The names of his projects are space-themed, but he raps from an everyman perspective reminiscent of J. Cole or early Drake, writing songs about trying to make it, as well as a fair share of boasts about his romantic conquests.
Coleman tells Complex that he sent Pop Smoke videos to his father after Adams had met with the late rapper’s family and wanted to know more about him. He says he texted Mayor Adams shortly after the press conference and told him: “Dad, you cannot speak for me. I have drill rappers on our label as clients, and I like drill music. You cannot ban a genre. And I’m not sure why you said what you said, but I disagree.” Coleman says Adams responded, “I understand what you’re saying, and you’re allowed to disagree. We come from different times.” Though Coleman spoke highly of Adams during our hour-long conversation, it seems they have fundamental differences in opinion on drill music.
The subgenre, created in Chicago, has become a convenient scapegoat for politicians all over the country looking to vilify rap as the reason for their city’s violent crime. In New York, drill artist’s aggressive lyrical depictions closely reflect a pandemic-influenced uptick in the city’s violent crime rate, but it’s not the cause of the violence. Poverty is, and it’s on state and city leaders like Adams to address those root causes of criminality.
While Coleman says he thinks it “makes sense” that Adams isn’t for “people who are committing crimes and then going and bragging about it on songs,” he doesn’t agree with banning drill music. He hopes that more meetings like February’s City Hall discussion between Adams and New York rap artists like Fivio Foreign, B-Lovee, and Maino will help “bridge the gap between the police and artists.”
Coleman vies to be a liaison between City Hall and the New York hip-hop scene as his rap career ascends, but at this point, he has no plans to get formally involved in his father’s administration, because he’s prioritizing his music and film endeavors. The 26-year-old has an extensive entertainment background. He started as a child model for the New York Daily News, where his mother worked as a reporter, before trying his hand at acting, with auditions for the 2008 film A Raisin In The Sun and the role of Drew on Everybody Hates Chris. Eventually he found success voicing Tyrone The Moose on The Backyardigans, which he says helped open doors for his Say It Loud film, which features stars like Kobe Bryant, Jadakiss, and Swizz Beatz talking about college.
“I decided to make a documentary about the importance of education for kids of color and it incorporated their favorite celebrities,” Coleman recalls. “[The celebrities] were speaking as if they went to college, or wished that they stayed in school.” In 2016, Coleman held a Ted Talk on “Steps To Success,” in conjunction with his alma mater American University. These days, Coleman works at Roc Nation as a creative coordinator for the film department, where he helps develop movie projects, while also pursuing his rap career.
We spoke with Coleman about his perspective of Mayor Adams’ stance on drill rap. Many people in the city are wondering what the future holds for New York rap during the Adams administration, and he has a better vantage point than most. The interview, edited and condensed for clarity, is below.