About Jelly Roll
In an alternative universe, Jelly Roll (born Jason DeFord in 1986) might have ended up a country singer. Instead, his hardscrabble upbringing in the Antioch section of Nashville pointed him toward hip-hop. (Listening to a lot of Wreckx-N-Effect helped too.) At the start of the 2010s, he began channeling his experiences (including a poverty-stricken youth spent in and out of prison) into raps and mixtapes. The video for his song “Pop Another Pill” with Lil Wyte went viral in 2010, and he was off to the races. He released collaborative albums with both Lil Wyte and Haystak, but his first on his own was 2012’s The Big Sal Story. In 2013, he got some unexpected publicity from being sued by the Waffle House franchise for trademark infringement with his mixtape Whiskey, Weed & Waffle House, which forced him to alter the album’s name and artwork. For his first few years of recording, Jelly Roll served up straight Southern hip-hop, but by the middle of the decade his approach had evolved. The mood on records like Therapeutic Music 5 and Sobriety Sucks turned darker, the lyrics became more intense and introspective, and the production began to mix elements of rock and country in with the hip-hop beats. The result was the most commanding, distinctive music he’d turned out yet.