If you let Jay Pharoah tell it, doing comedy and rapping aren’t that different. The Virginia-born comedian is used to getting laughs as a star on “Saturday Night Live,” but Jay wants to show that he has bars too, so he dropped his new video “Problems” on Thursday (May 29).
The clip, which premiered on AboveAverage.com, has Pharoah bragging about women, money and drugs, before his conscious gets the best of him. “You see our pictures, we getting bitches,” he raps, before the beat breaks down and he tears up about Sandra, his one true love.
“I started rapping before I did comedy,” Jay said while laughing during a phone interview with MTV News on Wednesday. “I didn’t say I was good, I said I started before. I used to be garbage, I started writing and battling on MySpace when I was 18.”
Now, Pharoah is perfecting his raps and MC impersonations. Any given week, “SNL” fans can watch the funnyman transform from Jay Z to Kanye West; he also does a mean Lil Wayne as demonstrated by a 2013 “Sway in the Morning” appearance.
Jay says that he has met many rappers, but has never had any of them take offense to his comedy. “I have not heard a rapper that didn’t like my impressions,” he said with a sense of validation. “As far as sports figures though, yeah I heard Shannon Sharpe, he hates my impressions.”
Fans love Pharoah’s impersonations, however, and it’s his comedic success that has further fueled his thirst to rap. “Rapping and comedy go hand-in-hand, you got timing and punchlines. It’s pretty much the same thing, so you’ll see a lot of funny rappers, like Ludacris. Ludacris is hilarious,” he explained. “Tupac was funny too, but he was crucial funny like, ’G–damn, he ain’t have to say that.’ Lil Wayne is hilarious, Drake be saying some funny stuff.”
Jay plans to drop a pair of musical projects this summer, one of which is sure to include “Problems.” In the meantime, check out his SoundCloud page.