THE ORIGINAL ITZ JALEEL
Producing The Big Picture: Itz Jaleel
Jaleel Cunningham aka "Itz Jaleel" is a rapper from Nashville, TN. He grew up on old school r&b because that’s the music his parents would always dance to. Early on in middle school he was introduced to poetry and that’s where he started developing his pen game without even knowing it. But poetry, at the time, was more like a hobby and he started playing school sports. Then in his Junior year of high school he released his first rap song on soundcloud. He then found liked to rap but it still wasn’t something he saw as “life-changing” for himself. So he'd release a song or two every now and then for awhile on soundcloud even after he started college in 2017. Then around his Junior year at Tennessee State a close relative passed away, and that’s what pushed him to become a rapper.
Jaleel then released his first album in 2020 and that project became the start for “Itz Jaleel”. After graduating from TSU in 2021 he's been spending his time working and making music. He's done plenty of shows around Nashville, with plans to do more shows in ATL soon.
His mentors are family and friends in or around the music industry like Malcolm Dewayne and Langston Hues. And his main goal with music is to provide for his family, and to become one of the greats in the game!
Hi Jaleel! When you look at all the music you have made, what is the big picture for how you want your artistry to be seen?
I would like my artistry to be seen as powerful, uplifting and original. I make music to inspire/motivate others to be yourself and that you can reach your dreams if you put in the work.
You challenge the status quo, how did you identify your purpose for the music you wanted to put out?
I just want to make great music to put my family in a better position, inspire and give back to the community.
When you create your body of work, are there boxes you must check or does everything evolve as it should be and you allow for the checklist to not be completely checked?
When I’m creating there’s no checklist, I like to keep it open and build on as I go.
Who are you paying homage to for your vision as an artist?
As a hip hop artist, I pay homage to the legends in hip hop alive/or those who came before me who made an impact on music. I also pay homage to my family and where I’m from.
You are a visionary, please keep us in the loop of what your plans are for more music and WHERE you are headed next for your fans to connect with you?
I have more music coming. My next release will be in December, and I'll be releasing a single titled “On Me.”