Soundtrack Of My Life: Jamali Maddix

Stand-up comedian and host of excellent Viceland docu-series 'Hate Thy Neighbor'

The first song I remember hearing

Nas – ‘Hate Me Now’ (Feat. Puff Daddy)

“My dad had it on a tape and I remember driving in his car – an old Vauxhall Corsa with no insurance – listening to that song. I must have been about 12. We didn’t bond over it or anything but I remember the hook very well.”

The first album I ever bought


SLIX – ‘Down – Vol. 1’

“It probably cost around the £10 mark. It was him on the cover wearing a tracksuit and crouching down, to relate to the album title. I played it until it didn’t play no more.”

The first concert I went to

Dead Prez – Jazz Cafe, London

“I started going to gigs when I started performing at them – mostly music festivals. I didn’t really go before then. I think the first concert I went to with one artist performing was Dead Prez at Jazz Cafe. That was when I was 25. I remember there were a lot of people wearing Malcolm X t-shirts. It was a packed-out venue and the sound system was really good. My mum used to go Jazz Cafe a lot, to see people like [UK soul legend] Omar. She used to go to those after-carnival raves that happened there back in the day. That was how I heard about the place, from my mum.”

The song that makes me want to dance


Petey Pablo – ‘Raise Up’

“I don’t dance, let’s get that clear. I never will. Even if I get married, I won’t do a first dance. I don’t feel embarrassed about it, I just don’t find the movement of throwing arms around enjoyable. I’ve never liked it. I’m a gun-finger guy. Every two seconds I might throw up gun-fingers. If I did, it would probably be for [this track].”

The song that reminds me of home

Anything by Fire Camp

“When I listen to grime, it reminds me of home. My friends and I used to listen to it on the back of the bus on our phones in east London, on loudspeaker. It was probably by Fire Camp, we played their stuff a lot.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Johnny Cash – ‘Hurt’

“I would have a good playlist at my funeral. I want people to cry l so I would put on Johnny Cash ‘Hurt’. That’s a real tearjerker. Damn Right.”

The song I wish I’d written

Pharaohe Monch – ‘Simon Says’

“I think it’s the best compact rap song. It’s the exact thing that song should be. It’s so succinct. It’s not my favourite song of his, I think he’s got better songs, but that song for me is perfect.”

The album I’m listening to on tour

Benny the Butcher – ‘Tanna Talk 3’

“I’m really unplugged at the moment in terms of modern music. I listen to albums and podcasts on tour. This is real gutter rap. I put it on when I’m on my way to the gig. It’s a nice-paced album to listen to.”

The song I do at karaoke

Lynyrd Skynrd – ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

“I don’t do karaoke but if I was going to degrade myself I’d choose this. It seems like an easy one.”

The song that changed my life

Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Gravel Pit’

“The video to this really influenced me when I was 14. It’s set in The Flintstones and the band are doing kung-fu. It made me think you could do anything visually if it’s done well. That’s one of my favourite videos ever. It makes no sense, but it makes all sense.”

Jamali Maddix is touring his new stand-up show ‘Strip Club Einstein’ now