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The Pulse: JSWISS on His Alchemy with Michael Leonhart, and the Resolve Behind "Blackout"

Robert Adam Mayer

JSWISS is a hip-hop artist who’s no stranger to the jazz club.

He is regularly on the bandstand with the Michael Leonhart Orchestra, sharing his MC abilities while encouraging others to be, as he puts it, their “awthentic” self through his poignant lyrics and rhymes.

JSWISS and Leonhart struck gold with their reimagining of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” and Eric B and Rakim’s “Untouchables.” The band was even featured on NPR’s Toast of the Nation 2020

Their latest single, “https://youtu.be/44L2SuQ_a0Q" target="_blank">Blackout,” is another collaboration from their forthcoming EP Alchemy, set to release this fall. The lyrics express the current sentiment of the Black Lives Matter movement — recalling those slain by law enforcement, like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as historical figures in African American history. “Blackout” is establishing itself as a mantra for the movement, with an accompanying video that features notable figures like bassist Ben Williams, actor Khalil Kain, and young Broadway actress Layla Capers.

On this virtual edition of The Pulse, JSWISS talks about how he's staying connected during the pandemic, what has and continues to inspire his music, and how the current sociopolitical climate has produced a fertile soil to create.