Multi-hyphenate jaboukie Young-White debuted his second single, “ROCKWHYLER”, via Interscope Records. A riff on a common mispronunciation of the dog breed he grew up with, “ROCKWHYLER” was released alongside a glitched-out music video featuring a kaleidoscope of footage recorded on Super 8, infrared, and digital cameras modded by DP Eric Schleicher. Listen to the new track HERE. Watch the music video, self-directed by jaboukie, HERE. Note, caution is advised for photosensitive viewers.
Of the song’s title jaboukie said, “Growing up I had two rottweilers, Juno and Athena. When my family walked them, we’d always get stopped by awestruck strangers asking, ‘Is that a ‘rockwhyler’?’ The pronunciation ‘rock-why-ler’ feels like home to me.” Evoking additional shades of home both near and far, jaboukie used a collage of soundbites for the instrumental including a sample of the Myrtle-Broadway J/M/Z train brakes and recorded conversations with his family in Jamaica. “My songwriting and song production processes usually occur in tandem,” he said, adding, “the distortion effect I used on the bass created a delay that sounded like a snarling dog, so I built everything else around that.”
The grating nature of the song is intended to subvert the hypermasculinity entrenched in much of the classic hip-hop, dancehall, and punk rock that jaboukie has been influenced by musically, especially during the years when he was still concealing his queer identity out of necessity. “Pushing those sounds, those structures, and those attitudes to their breaking points makes me giddy,” he said. “Usually my lyrics are more narrative-driven and punchline-heavy, but the repetition and crassness in this track tap into a more visceral, archetypal kind of character that I both can and can’t relate to.”
The new track features vocal and musical contributions from jaboukie’s dog Callaloo Young-White, who played the theremin on the track and shares co-writing credits. The song was mixed by Grammy-winning mix engineer Alex Tumay (Young Thug, 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, Childish Gambino, Travis Scott) and mastered by Grammy-winning master engineer Joe LaPorta of Sterling Sound (fka twigs, Santigold, Shawn Mendes, Future, Kid Cudi). “ROCKWHYLER” was engineered in studio by Alex Poeppel of Kensaltown East. Musician and digital artist sh44dows contributed visual effects to the ROCKWHYLER video.
“ROCKWHYLER” follows jaboukie’s debut single “BBC” (shorthand for “bad bitch coochie”), which received acclaim from critics upon its release including FADER, who called it “seriously fun” and an “extension of [jaboukie’s] playful and boundary-pushing persona,” while PAPER said it “holds all the off-the-cuff grit of a hot-boxed bedroom-recorded freestyle,” adding “jaboukie has proven to be a master of every craft he takes on, from writing to acting to serving coochie.” PASTE also raved about the track calling it a “horny-as-hell electro-rap banger,” while the LOS ANGELES TIMES said it “genuinely slaps.”
“BBC” and “ROCKWHYLER” are a preview of jaboukie’s first official foray into music, with more to come as he flexes his creative range in an entirely new artistic medium.