Jamal Gasol discusses career and latest album The Novelty of Standards

Jamal Gasol and Bass Reeves album The Novelty of Standards
Cover to “The Novelty of Standards” by Zacksiskart.

The face of Niagara Falls hip hop scene and one of the most consistent artists in Upstate NY is Jamal Gasol. A multi-faceted artist who brings a relatable hunger and grimey street sound that Upstate is famous for.

His second album of the year is “The Novelty of Standards” which is fully produced by Bass Reevez and features NYC based artists RIM and Sauce Heist. The two creatives are promoting the project heavily. A billboard of the album has been put up in Jamals hometown and they also released their first visual for the track “Cataract City” shot by Matthew Sinclair.

Billboard of Jamal Gasol and Bass Reeves
Billboard in Niagara Falls of Jamal Gasol and Bass Reeves

This being his fourth overall project release so far in 2021 including The Ghost of Fritz Deluxe, Blackball with late producer ThatBlessedGirl, and Oxtail with Buffalo/Brooklyn MC and producer Deuce Ellis. However music isn’t the only thing keeping Jamal busy throughout the year.

In his spare time he owns and operates PIFF, a clothing and smoke accessory company. They have various products from hoodies, beanies, and sweatsuits to rolling papers and rolling trays. They even have jerseys, shorts and t-shirts. Everything currently available can be purchased at jamalgasol.com.

We got a chance to chop it up with the PIFF owner about the inspiration for The Novelty of Standards, his entrepreneurial drive, and what it means to represent for Niagara Falls. Read up on the full interview below.

The Novelty of Standards is one of your more intriguing album titles, what inspired the name?

The title (The Novelty Of Standards) came to me early this year around February, March ish. When me and Bass discussed making a project together I wanted to display improvement in my lyricism and say making ability. The Novelty Of Standards is a synonym for a change of persona.”

Photo of Jamal Gasol and Bass Reeves
Photo of Jamal Gasol(Left) and Bass Reaves(Right)

The cover art for it depicts the famed Niagara Falls as well as the Statue of Liberty and the PIFF brand logo. Who did you get to do the work?

Zacksiskart did the cover art. Always amazing when I let him do his thing

What drives you to be such an advocate and promoter for Niagara Falls and be involved with its youth?

The fact that we don’t get no acknowledgement. It’s like they respect us when we speak up but if we don’t they overlook us. So I rep my city heavy for that reason. I’m puttin respect on my city name. The youth are important to me because what we show them now will effect our future later. We teach them will, hope, and drive they can be anything!”

Jamal Gasol with youth of Niagara Falls
Jamal Gasol showing love to the youth of Niagara Falls

You’ve had quite a busy 2021 with this being your fourth project release so far, will this be the last album from you before we welcome in 2022?

I got 1 more album coming on my birthday December 29th. 28 songs

The covers to The Novelty of Standards, Oxtail, The Ghost of Fritz, and Blackball respectively

A majority of your projects this included are 7 tracks or less, do you prefer to make quicker paced projects or do they just come together like that?

Honestly they just come together like that. I like making something worth the while but it’s easy to write for me which makes it seem so fast

How did the “Stir the Pot” series get started and with over 18 of the singles released since 2019, can we expect to see a “Stir the Pot” project in the future?

“It’s actually called “The Cook Up” but shout out to A Dot and C Dot they are the standouts. They sent me a beat back in 2019 and I let it marinate. It was the first Stir The Pot freestyle. I dropped it last December early January to kick the year off. Then they sent me a few more beats and the beats was so crazy! I played them for a week before I even recorded to it and that’s how stir the pot 2 came. I liked that title and said let’s keep stirring the pot and we here now. Season 3 coming 2022”

Do you have a certain artist you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

“I would like to collab with Styles P for sure. He still one of the illest to me since a kid I been a fan. We have similiar styles and he’s somebody that I feel gets discredited more than credited for his bars, lyricism and word play.”

While undertaking your own career as an artist, you have your own clothing brand PIFF, which is doing quite well. How do you stay so committed to both careers and can we expect to see a PIFF store in Upstate soon?

I like to work lol. I’m well organized and structured so I take time out to work on both when possible. I have more fun in the PIFF department bacause of the challenge it does to my creativity. It puts me in a mindset of hustling where you cop based on quality, have a few trial and errors and then you get it right and boom. The PIFF store coming soon”

PIFF brand logo
PIFF brand logo

Being an inspiring figure yourself, who inspires you?

I would say the doubters. All the people who said I wasn’t good enough, I couldn’t do it, I’m not this. And that. They inspire me to go so hard.”

Is there a major goal you seek to achieve in making music?

My major goal is to actually get rich off rap. Like rich rich lol I just wanna create an opportunity for my family and love ones to do things we didn’t have a chance to do. Being a Legend was on my list but I became that already

If you haven’t already check out the video to “Cataract City” off of The Novelty of Standards. Keep up with Jamal Gasol through his social links and don’t forget to keep supporting your locals!!

Written by: Joshua Chaffer

Published: December 8th, 2021