Unveiling Jema

A New Era of Hip-Hop Artistry

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“My Name is Jema” serves as a prelude to Jema’s music, offering a deep dive into the psyche of a complex, multi-layered artist.

Entering the arena as an MC with years of experience in spoken word poetry, Jema introduces himself to the world with intentionality and purpose. From the very first moment, it’s clear that this is not just another rap artist – Jema is here to make a statement, to ignite the soul and to take us on a lyrical journey.

This picture of Jema was the inspiration behind the concept of the video and the painting by Jay Coachman that’s revealed at the end – photo by @ElanVitalVisuals.

Jema is a Tampa-based Hip-Hop rapper skillfully intertwining old school essence with the beats of the new school, pushing Hip-Hop boundaries and inviting listeners on a resonant exploration of the human experience.

Hip-Hop is often described as poetry with a beat, and Jema’s artistry epitomizes this idea. The beautiful art of spoken word allows the listener to strip away exterior distractions and focus purely on the words, creating an intimate connection.

This style of performance demands the audience’s undivided attention, drawing them into the heart of the message. Jema accomplishes this brilliantly, creating a sense of intimacy that pulls the listener in close, as if he is speaking directly to them.

The visual begins with a powerful monologue from a true relic of the Hip-Hop genre, Cotton El Murkot — an MC who witnessed the birth of the artform and spat verses that ignited the streets of New York. His words serve as a foreshadowing of the fire Jema is about to drop.

Jema is a true scholar of the craft, his cadence flowing effortlessly, weaving lyricism, wisdom and braggadocio into a symphony of sound that demands attention.

In the midst of Jema’s lyrical onslaught and philosophical musings, a poignant quote from Nas emerges, serving as a guiding light amidst the lyrical labyrinth. “Let the embers of wisdom guide your steps as you carry the torch forward, lighting the way for future hip-hop pioneers.” This quote encapsulates the essence of not just the video, but Jema’s entire ethos as an artist.

On this latest video, Jema stands alone in front of paintings of Hip-Hop legends. He exudes confidence, prepared for what comes next.

Byron Boykins, the multi-talented creative force behind Eyeconic Studios/Eyeconic Creations Photography in Pinellas Park and the videographer for this shoot, transitions the camera seamlessly between Jema’s intense performance and a painter’s brushstrokes.

A powerful metaphor emerges — one that mirrors the evolution of Hip-Hop itself. Nas’s words echo through the visual narrative, reminding us of the responsibility artists like Jema carry on their shoulders. They are not just performers – they are torchbearers, entrusted with the task of preserving the essence of Hip-Hop while pushing its boundaries ever forward.

Byron Boykins, photographer and videographer of Eyeconic Studios, on the set of the “My Name is Jema” videoshoot – photo by @ElanVitalVisuals

Jema’s reverence for the legends of Hip-Hop, depicted in the paintings surrounding him, underscores his understanding of the genre’s rich history. But he doesn’t simply seek to emulate his predecessors – he aims to carve out his own path, guided by the embers of wisdom passed down through generations.

The juxtaposition of Jema’s intricate wordplay with Nas’s timeless wisdom creates a tapestry of thought-provoking lyricism, each line adding another layer to the narrative of hip-hop’s evolution. Nas’s quote serves as a rallying cry for Jema and artists like him, urging them to embrace their role as torchbearers for future generations. As the video fades to black, echoes of Nas’s words linger, a reminder of the enduring power of Hip-Hop to inspire, provoke and enlighten.

The camera then switches smoothly between two scenes – Jema performing his verse a capella, and a painter creating a new piece. This visual metaphor highlights the creative process, revealing glimpses of the painter’s work while keeping the final masterpiece mysterious.

Jema performs amidst five easels, each featuring a painting by Jay Coachman of Coachman Creations — depicting Nas, Andre, DMX, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne. These visual homages to Hip-Hop’s greats symbolize Jema’s respect for the genre’s lineage and his aspiration to join their ranks.

Jema “hits them in the mouth,” as the MC would say, with a complex piece dense with introspection on life, fate and his journey as an artist. A philosopher himself, he blends philosophical concepts with wordplay and cultural references to convey themes of resilience, adaptability and self-awareness.

In the face of life’s challenges, Jema shows us that we must stay sharp and versatile, critiquing superficiality and those who get stuck in a box.

The creative team behind the “My Name is Jema” video shoot – Jeremiah Woody (Jema), painter Jay Coachman and videographer Byron Boykins, posing amidst paintings of hip-hop legends on the set. Photo by @ElanVitalVisuals

One of the standout quotes Jema lives by is from Shunryu Suzuki – “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” This principle is woven into his verse, advocating for continuous learning and growth.

Jema illustrates this with a powerful story, comparing himself to clay, a versatile material, and a triple entendre referencing basketball player Klay Thompson and Muhammad Ali, whose birth name was Cassius Clay.

Even more interesting, Muhammad Ali’s father was a steadfast abolitionist, further emphasizing themes of strength and resilience. It takes someone unbreakable to fight against the world’s social injustices. Jema is declaring himself a man who will advocate for the people, remaining unbreakable in his pursuit of justice and the spread of knowledge.

He later discusses the fate of humanity versus nature’s power, describing the organic destructiveness of humanity’s tendencies and our futile attempts to progress. He critiques the wastefulness of time and the fragile structures we build, ultimately questioning how much time we have left as a species and our role in our own extinction.

Jema mimics his pose next to Jay Coachman’s painting of him, revealed at the end of the video

Each of Jema’s bars takes us on a journey of knowledge, blending mythology, sports, personal philosophy and just about any other fact you can get your hands on. This level of thoughtfulness in his lyrics is what makes his artistry so compelling and refreshing in the hip-hop landscape. It’s a reminder that Hip-Hop can be a reliable medium for conveying intricate and meaningful messages.

Throughout the video, quick flashes of quotes from the rappers painted behind him give us insight into Jema’s deep connection to and respect for Hip-Hop. In his final lines, he declares, “And when they ask me for my name because it’s one to remember, you can tell them my appellation, or my title is Jema.”

As Jema walks off-screen, the scene transitions to the painter, now outside with one mahogany canvas, staged in the center of the building. Coachman places an abstract portrait of Jema, symbolizing his place among the greats.

Jema’s introduction is a manifestation of where he sees himself in the future, solidifying his place in hip-hop. He is more than just a lyrical rapper – he is a methodical, intentional artist and a philosopher of our time.

The video ends with a beat looping ominously in the background. Is this instrumental a preview of a future track? Or another layer of Jema’s intentional artistry, leaving us thirsty for more?

One thing is certain – this introduction leaves us excited and curious about where Jema will take us next.


Jeremiah Woody (Jema) is one of ten artists awarded NEA grants through Creative Pinellas for transformative projects in Pinellas County. Jema is partnering with St. Petersburg’s Barbershop Book Club.




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