JIMMY is The Undiscovered Unpopular Underdog

By Jimmy PoindexterDecember 4, 2022
JIMMY, Images via Jimmy Poindexter

JIMMY arrives at an office space in a public library in Downey, CA, accompanied by his girlfriend, executive producer & “Overcooked 2” partner Tiffany.

Jimmy “JIMMY” Poindexter is just 24 years old, but getting his start as both a recording artist and a producer almost a decade ago at age 15 has influenced his intuition to move with the energy of a veteran artist. When the Las Vegas-born, North Long Beach-raised but currently L.A.-living JIMMY first started sharing his distinct, saturated, genre-fluid, heavily-Odd Future inspired songs under the name “Jimmy Luna” in high school, he kept the fact he made music away from his family until “it was listenable.” Eight years later, he shaved the name down to JIMMY and had already released 5 official projects and over 40 singles as well as releasing self-directed music videos, interviews and a concert performance in LA. Around the same time, JIMMY helped produce, mix, master and creative direct 3 official projects with the collective he founded PRISM TRIBE.

However, as JIMMY enters a new era, his tastes in music, art, fashion, film and philosophy have expanded along with his appetite for commercial success on his new project *GHETTOLAND. The project is produced, written, performed, mixed & mastered all by him with no features and it’s versatile, emotional, challenging yet encouraging to the listener and overall a refreshingly authentic introduction to the ever-evolving and ever-growing world of JIMMY. This is the story of a kid who is a true product of the Blog Era. JIMMY could be the answer to Hip Hop’s current monotony or the next Pop star in the making— but as it stands, he is the undiscovered unpopular underdog. But not for long.

Why did you leave North Long Beach when you were a teenager?

Family issues. S**t got shaky for my pops and he couldn’t take care of me in a safe space at the time. So he sent me to live with my mom in East Las Vegas to finish high school.

How was that living with your mom?

Definitely challenging at times. There was almost always some s**t going down with her.She had bipolar disorder and insomnia, it’d make her hallucinate or get aggressive sometimes if she didn’t take her medicine.There’d be nights I couldn’t sleep before school because she’d be sleepwalking and roaming around the house messing with s**t so i’d have to listen for her to make sure she didn't accidentally kill us.

I’m sorry to hear that, that had to be terrible for a teenager to go through.

We’d be here for hours if I got into every issue, but ultimately it was a challenging experience. I’d sleepover at friends’ house to get away sometimes.

Why did you leave Vegas when you were a teenager?

Went to college in Denver. The music scene sucked. S**t got a little too heated at my mom’s.So I got out of there just to get away from it all for a bit.

Do you know any artists from Vegas?

Back when I first moved there and started my sophomore year in high school niggas would not shut the f**k up about Dizzy Wright.There’s a lot of other local artists out there too now, I don’t like ‘em though.They have Baby Keem too now though, i’m a huge fan of him.

What about artists from North Long Beach?

As far as the Norf goes, Vince [Staples] obviously, huge fan of him too. Huey Briss is cool too, we’ve spoke before. I don't think he's from the Norf, but there’s a guy named Hey Deon too. Deon is my middle name, funny enough.

How was growing up in North Long Beach in comparison to East Las Vegas?

The kids in Vegas were weirder than the kids in Cali. Not by much, but definitely cut from a different cloth.I went to school in Paramount Unified School District and the demographic is similar there to Clark County School District.In Vegas they’d ask me dumb s**t like “Do you know Snoop Dogg?”Like bro. Of course I do. [JIMMY breaks into laughter]Nah but it’s definitely a different vibe from the same factory sort of thing.

How was college in Denver?

Cool, I was passing my classes. Had my own dorm room. Went to some parties with dorm mates. Left officially after two semesters. I only attended classes in one semester though.

Why’d you leave?

By then I already knew none of it had anything to do with what I wanted to do with my time on Earth. Honestly only went to get away from Vegas. Had a full ride scholarship there so why not?

How'd you get started with music?

I started making beats when I was 14-15 because I saw my older brother making music and scoring films.He went to LA Film School. I would only tinker when everybody left the house and I would pretend I was doing something else whenever they walked in. That turned into writing albums and screenplays to go with ‘em.Started recording. Started mixing & mastering. The rest was history.

What DAW did you use? What did those first beats sound like?

I started on Magix Music Maker before I permanently switched to FL Studio.The beats were absolutely terrible. Like embarrassingly. Somehow I convinced myself they were listenable at first.

What were your early songs about?

Stories I’d create to feel closer to moments that I never got to experience in real life.I’d spend hours planning hangouts that never happened, so I put it all in the music instead.

What were you listening to at the time?

Wayne. Wiz. Big Sean. Odd Future. Gambino. Rocky. Chance. Mac. Cudi. DOOM. Ab Soul. FlyLo. Yeezus. That’s off the top of my head.
JIMMY, Images via Jimmy Poindexter

Tell me about the day you realized you wanted to take music serious.

After I moved to Vegas, I binge watched interviews and vlogs from all the artists I liked.I watched a tour vlog on Odd Future’s Youtube channel. Tyler [the Creator] was in Aspen, CO just hanging out and performing a concert. I was like “Damn, I want to go snowboarding with my niggas and get paid to yell at people.”On top of that, things just felt like they were getting worse with my family.So I decided I would change my life through what I enjoyed, making stuff.

Did you know anyone else that made music at the time or were you a lone wolf?

Other than my older brother, I had a friend in Cali that made music. I use to talk to Steve Lacy on Twitter before he joined The Internet. Didn’t meet anyone else who did until my junior year of high school.

That's random. What did you and Steve talk about?

Not much really, we’d just talk s**t on the timeline. Roast each other, send memes, share music. He’s the one who put me on to Brainfeeder and Sampha early on. Shoutout him.

How has it been for you to see his success especially in the past few years?

I’m genuinely happy for him. At first I was a little jealous because I didn’t even know he was up like that in the beginning and one day I woke up to Tyler tweeting him, it blew my mind. I was like “Damn, I suck.” But it’s been tight watching him grow.

Would you collaborate with Steve now?

If the universe crosses our paths once more, I’d love to work with ‘em. He’s on the list.

Who else is on the list?

Ludwig Goransson. DJ Dahi. Michael Uzowuru.Ugly Frank. Vince Staples. Missy Elliot. The Neptunes. Timbo. Earl. Wayne. Andre.The Marias. 070 Shake. Alc. Knxwledge. Quincy. Too many to name, but that’s a hand full.

You explore multiple genres in your music, what’s motivated you to do that?

I just genuinely enjoy multiple genres and subgenres. I like deconstructing the production and the melody choices and the lyrics and figuring out why the artists do what they do.Genre is just a communication tool in my opinion. Different genres communicate different things to deliver messages to whoever their trying to communicate with. That’s how I see it.

On this new project, you try on Funk, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Rock, Pop & Hip Hop. Was this intentional?

Yeah. When I was mapping things out, I split the tracklist into 5 sections of genre and went from there.

I have a billion ideas. You haven’t seen 10% of them.

Once I have the resources to make what I really want to make, I’m going to be a real problem.

Would younger JIMMY enjoy the new music you’ve released in the last year?

Yeah. I don’t think he’d believe he could make any of it. Back then when I couldn’t make any beats I liked I would write to YouTube beats and when they were better than mine I would be like “Damn, I gotta get better.” I’d tried recreating them piece by piece until I got better.Now I feel like I have a rolodex of techniques and skills to pull from to consistently create the best stuff with what I have available to me. Younger me would be blown away.

What genres did you adopt in those early stages?

Mostly rap. I’d have a stroke of luck or genius sometimes, but I wasn’t good at production yet so I’d just make a bunch of random s**t until I landed on something good. I’d end up making EDM beats just cuz I couldn’t make a good beat to rap on. I’d try to make Jazz, but it’d just end up sounding too weird.

How did you learn to make beats?

YouTube and tinkering. Pressed every button, turned every knob, downloaded hella sound kits and pirated VSTs. Just kept at it and learned FL Studio in and out for years until I started getting good.

Who or what did you look to for production guidance?

For guidance early on I would find a song or an album I really like and then tried to extract the parts I enjoyed and tried to recreate them in my own way. Tyler was a huge inspiration in that aspect. I remember trying to recreate the beat to ‘Rusty’ off “Wolf” for like a month on FL Mobile in class.

When did you know your production skills were ready?

When i’d show people and they didn’t laugh in my face.I dropped a beat tape my junior year of high school and people actually liked it and shared it.Then I released an EP and an album that summer and people really liked those too.

What was it like putting out those earlier projects?

I would release beats and songs recorded on my s****y little iPhone 4 mic on Soundcloud early on. I did that for a little bit until my production got better than I released the beat tape.I thought I was lit when I put that out because I had a friend tell me not to because he thought it was a bad idea so the positive reception proved him wrong.Then once I started putting out fully recorded projects I became known as the “rapper” at school and was performing at school events. People would come up to me reciting my lyrics and wanting to buy merch and s**t.Someone asked me for my autograph. It was tight. Pretty much all of the hype died once we all graduated. I’m just glad people liked the music.

Do you like any of the early stuff now?

Not at all. 98% of it is cringe and terrible, I don’t know what we were thinking. That’s why I scrubbed all of it.There’s little nuggets of “Oh I seen what I was trying to do there, that was actually cool” here and there. I be stealing some of my own bars from that era sometime. People still hit me to this day for me to un-private those songs.

Do you practice making music everyday?

No. I used to. Not so frequently now. I wear too many hats everyday to focus solely on the music aspect. Nobody knows who I am so for the last few years I’ve been hell bent on changing that so I can focus on the creative.I’m a vet though. Once i’m locked back in, the ideas flow back like I never left.

Does focusing on the business & promotion interfere negatively with the creative process?

For me, no. It’s all the same to me. I approach getting the word out there about me the same as I approach making an album. It starts with something real. If I don’t genuinely enjoy what i’m doing I become uninterested and miserable.So I only plan things I can get behind. So when focusing on promotion I figure out how to make it co-exist with the creative process. I’m doing it all myself, so it’s important that I don’t spread myself thin or frustrate myself too much or else i’ll become uninterested.I wouldn’t recommend this to just anyone else not built for this method though.I only get away with it because I know how to do so many things at once.And I only do it this way because I have to to complete my mission anytime soon.

Have you thought about creating a team around you?

It’s all i’ve ever heard my entire career. I have a very specific taste and I only want people around me I genuinely enjoy and respect who also genuinely enjoy and respect me. It’s rare to come by these days. Until that day comes though, the show must go on. Also it’s expensive and money be funny.

You released your last project GNARLY last summer and haven’t stopped releasing since. Tell me about your journey up to this point.

I’ve just been releasing singles and one-off projects trying to push the name forward.I haven’t gained the audience size I want yet, but I’ve seen some growth in the last year despite the setbacks.

How did you become this persistent, what’s driven you?

A few things. I used to play football before and during high school. I mostly played Quarterback, Safety and Cornerback.My dad used to be my head coach at one point. So I think that experience just taught me so much about leadership, versatility, teamwork and persistence, it just stuck with me. I have a family basically on the brink of extinction if I don’t do my thing and inspire my younger siblings. I know I have an it factor worth fighting for. So I keep going.

Do you ever have doubts about your future?

All the time. I have them right now. I try to be as optimistic as possible but I also pay close attention to reality. It seems almost impossible to stand out in these new times because of the many factors we as artists have no technical control of so it starts feeling hopeless most days. I just do what I can with what I have and worry about what I can control.No use worrying about things I can’t. I find confidence in my ability to survive through storms.

Tyler was a huge inspiration in that aspect. I remember trying to recreate the beat to ‘Rusty’ off “Wolf” for like a month on FL Mobile in class.

This new project feels like a reset for you, a reintroduction. Was that by design or was it unintentional?

It was on purpose. I have a handful of new prospective fans and with TikTok pretty much being my only real promotional tool, I felt it would be right to reintroduce myself as much as possible. That’s why i’m making the TV show to go with it. To show people who I am and what I do.

Have you experienced any growing pains with your fanbase?

To a degree. I’ve gotten some interesting DMs on Instagram in the last year. I’ve lost just as many fans as i’ve gained because most of them have outgrown me as new fans discover me.

What kinds of things do fans DM you?

It’s mostly kids from all over the world telling me they found me through TikTok and how "underrated" or "slept on" I am. They all really believe in me. A good amount of them just want to collab or want me to do something for them. Very rarely I get folks who aren’t all the way there kind of harassing me. I’m grateful for it all though, it’s a part of being known. Just keep the sus s**t to the internet.

On “*UNCULTURED” you say, “comment sections turn these dumb niggas into experts.” What’s the last comment that made you feel that way?

I can’t even remember, I just hate that s**t. Sometimes it’s just kids saying s**t they don’t know or speaking before thinking and I dismiss that, but sometimes it’s just grown a** adults saying the most uninformed tone deaf idiotic s**t in full confidence. People older than me. It irks the hell out of me. Why speak if you don’t know s**t? Just shut up.

You bring up your father on “*SEE YOU LATER” and on an unreleased song snippet. Can you tell me about him?

He raised me all my life with my mom even though they were separated. I was living with him in North Long Beach from when I was 5 years old 'til I was 15. He’s always made sure to stay in the loop of what i’m doing, even now. I talk to ‘em every couple weeks or so. Him and my mom, them my niggas.

What did he say when you wanted to make music?

He was cool with it until I left college. Bro was not feeling that s**t for like a week.Then he hit me and was like “Alright, how are we doing this, should I build a studio here at my house?”

“*DESTROY2CREATE” is one of my favorites on the project. What must we destroy and what should we create?

Everything. If we want any real change on this planet outside of brainwashing everyone, we must destroy what’s already in place and create a new thing to replace it.We’ve been in need of an update for a minute. In all aspects.

What did your mom tell you you would be dead wrong about? [on “*FALLEN SOLDIERS” JIMMY raps “momma dead gone, I was dead wrong.”]

About how I view life and how i’d feel once she was gone permanently.I used to treat our time spent together like it was expendable at first, like we had forever to hang out. I would prioritize music over watching TV with her all day after school and she hated that.We lost my grandpa back in 2009 so she knew how it felt. So sometimes she would just say “Watch, when i’m gone, you’re gonna think about these moments and wish you sat here with me instead.” And she was right. I do.

What made you make the switch from Jimmy Luna to JIMMY?

Jimmy Luna never really felt personal to me. I made the name up on a whim just cuz I liked the name Luna when I was 15 and thought I needed a moniker to be taken serious.JIMMY is how I always wanted to be known from the start, I wanted fans to say my real name when they seen me. I knew I REALLY had to change it when I heard my nephew call me “Luna” at a concert of mine. I was like “ew nigga, don’t call me that, that’s for strangers, you know me.” Yeah, grew out of it.

If and when you do blow up and become a popular artist, are you ready for all the attention?

Honestly, i’m not looking forward to it. What’s important to me is getting me and my family out of poverty, making sure my girl is good and making cool s**t. I really just want the bare minimum. Once I have the fame and the money, you niggas will really not see me. I’m going to be home and pop out only when I need to or want to. Studios, restaurants and philanthropy work. That’s all.

What’s been your favorite part about making this project?

The highlights have been putting together the show and sample digging so far.I’m just working out of Tiffany’s parents' house barely scraping by while I handle my business so it’s just been an interesting process altogether. Can’t wait for something to work out so I can get me and her out of here.

The third episode of the show “*MASTER P” you describe your approach being similar to his during the No Limit days, I thought that was an interesting comparison.

I really have to do the digital age equivalent to slanging records out the trunk and owning my own distribution channels like Master P.Nobody else is going to put me on but me. That’s why I feel that way. So if I have to film and print my own press runs, film my own shows, concerts, commercials, whatever. I will because I can. That’s why I respect artists like LaRussell even though I might not listen to him. He’s doing the same.

How did the horror-themed Christmas song “*KRAMPUS” come about?

I wanted my own Thriller [by Michael Jackson]. I watched the documentary and researched articles on it from the time just trying to soak in as much of that energy as I could to put into this project. Instead of Halloween though, I wanted to make a Christmas Pop song.But I thought it would be too corny so I made it dark instead. My girl is really into horror and Halloween, she runs the horror department in our relationship. So she helped me sample dig and come up with the concept and lyrics for it. Rest was history.

What's with the asterisk before the title names?

This is actually the second time I did this. I had a mixtape called *LUNAWXRLD where I did the same thing for a little bit. I scrubbed it from streaming services because I didn't like it anymore. But yeah, it just looks cool to me. Not much deeper than that.

What’s more important to you, lyrics or melodies?

They’re equal to me. It just depends what style of music you’re trying to pull off and what message you’re trying to get across or if that even matters to you in the moment. Right now I have a lot to say and a lot to reiterate so most of my lyrics on the album have meaning.Songs like “*ANTIWOKE” are supposed to be fun though so it’s more about flow choice and delivery there.

I made it for people who look like me and come from where I come from. *GHETTOLAND isn’t just an album or a place, it’s a lifestyle and a mindset. Imagination is the bridge between us and where we want to be, so I want to inspire people to adopt that philosophy.

You appear to be a critical thinker at times. How were you in school, did you have good grades?

Yeah I had a 4.0 GPA. My dad stayed on me heavily about school. If I got anything below a B on any assignment or a class, I got punished.

Were you good in the classroom?

I was chill, but I could be a bit of a class clown sometime. I was always doing bits, always was looking for something funny to say. I was the kid that because the work was too easy for me or I would finish fast and I’d get bored super quickly. Towards the end of high school I stopped caring though. I started sitting in back with my headphones on planning my next moves once school was out.

What’s something about JIMMY that you want people to know that they don’t?

I have a billion ideas. You haven’t seen 10% of them.Once I have the resources to make what I really want to make, i’m going to be a real problem.

How would you describe the quality level of what you’ve been sharing recently?

Alright. But it can be way better. For instance, a lot of the videos I put out I don’t even like myself right now. It’s just what I can put together with what I have in front of me. It’s important for me to make forward progress even when things are this way because i’ll never gain more waiting and complaining.That’s why it’s funny to me when I hear people criticize me and call me a “clone” of other artists or that i'm "going about something wrong" when it’s no deeper than me having access to a phone with some equipment and not having a budget or connections. When you don't have either of those things, you do what you can.I mean we as artists are sharing music & videos to platforms where we're passively competing with multi-billion dollar companies for attention. Trust me, if I could wake up and make the coolest s**t on Earth, I would. Besides, if I can achieve your favorite artists’ aesthetics with no budget, what does that say about their quality?

Have you had anyone big reach out to you?

Not really. I’ve talked to folks from Tyler’s camp. Talked to folks from Interscope & RCA.Had some curators at Apple put me on some playlists last year. That’s about it. No celebrities or influencers.

How did they find out about you?

I reached out to some myself, others found me on TikTok and Instagram. All organic so far.

You only follow your girlfriend on Instagram, why is that?

That’s my gift to her. If I leave this Earth too early, I want everyone to direct their attention to her and take care of her for me while i'm gone. She deserves it. Also i’m done with social media, I just want silence nowadays.

So you don’t use social media at all?

I use it to share my ideas and put myself out there, I don’t casually scroll or interact anymore. I post what I need to post, deliver whatever information I need to and I move the f**k on with my life. I don’t look at my notifications. I've had them turned off completely for almost a year now. If people like what I share, sweet. If they don’t, sweet. The most I do is watch TikToks, that’s my s**t. People are funny on there.
JIMMY, Images via Jimmy Poindexter

What do you want people to know about *GHETTOLAND?

I made it for people who look like me and come from where I come from. *GHETTOLAND isn’t just an album or a place, it’s a lifestyle and a mindset. Imagination is the bridge between us and where we want to be, so I want to inspire people to adopt that philosophy.

What does the best album of the year look/sound like to you?

The music and rollout are fire and unique in comparison to whatever’s going on at the time.It connects with people on an emotional level. And it’s popular, people know it exists.I don’t want just album of the year though, I want album of life.

What albums in recent years fit that description for you?

Tyler’s last two albums. Kendrick’s last two albums. Because The Internet by Gambino. Watch The Throne. There’s probably some i’m forgetting.

You’re living in Los Angeles right now, what parts are you in?

I’m in East LA right now. I just moved from Orange County earlier this year.

How do you like it?

I don’t. I want to move back to Orange County away from everything. Or at least get one of them nice houses in Downey.

When was the last time you were in Vegas?

January of 2021.

What do you usually do when you’re there?

I used to hit up my mom’s house, say what up to her and my grandma. Then hang out with some friends from high school then come back.Last time I went for my grandmother’s funeral dinner.

I’m sorry to hear that. Were you two close?

Not really. We bumped head sometimes, but she loved me. We were really chill once my mom passed. I visited her every year since then. We’d just watch TV and visit my mom at the cemetary.

Any favorite hangouts in Vegas or LA?

Not really. Vegas and LA are kinda lame to me now. I’m boring as f**k, I act like an old nigga I just like staying at home. Playing Call of Duty Zombies and s**t.

How do you have fun then?

Me and Tiffany have Disneyland passes, we just go there whenever we want and kick it, eat Dole Whip. If i’m not doing that, i’m playing PS5 or Super Smash Brothers. Maybe Fall Guys, sometimes Overcooked 2 with Tiffany, sometimes Little Big Planet 3. I got on Multiversus for a little bit. I beat Spiderman: Miles Morales. Still haven’t finished Kingdom Hearts 3. If i’m not playing games, i’ll just watch YouTube or TikTok. Mr Beast is my favorite YouTuber right now, he’s cool. I watched every season of Drawn Together, I strongly recommend that to you all. What else. I read the Boruto and Dragon Ball Super mangas every month on the 20th. Yeah. That’s all I do.

Listen to '*GHETTOLAND' and watch the new TV show below.