It is the first track to be released from Come Play With Me’s forthcoming compilation Side by Side: a callout to support women, marginalised genders and LGBTQ+ identifying artists based in the north of England.
Raised in Manchester with Pakistani roots, Jamaal makes ambitious hip-hop that fuses ultra-modern production with intelligent wordplay and tender vocal melodies. Unafraid to confront both personal introspection and wider societal issues, Jamaal’s music displays courage and vulnerability, representing a brave individual voice that allows the listener to view the world through his unique lens.
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Love’s A Joke... reflects Jamaal’s wide sphere of influence and varied musical palette, seeing him ruminate on the pursuit of love and relationships with a sincerity that simultaneously manages to address complex emotions while somehow also conveying a dark sense of humour and personality in the process. The track is the sound of someone wanting to connect, while also knowing the importance of own their self-worth and not wanting to compromise that, “I’m a catch and a king, I am more than a fling, and I am more than the above, if you don’t love me you suck”. Accompanied by a soundtrack of intricate beats and futuristic synths, Love’s A Joke... showcases Jamaal’s ability to fluidly switch between deftly delivered free-flowing rap verses and vocal chorus hooks layered with elaborate harmonies.
Director, Shimmy Ahmed, comments, "I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to direct this one - being as it featured two south-Asian men in an upside down story of unrequited love and I welcomed the invite to direct that. I also really wanted to reference my favourite rapper of all time The Notorious BIG and it felt like a good time to introduce the iconic image of the late great Biggie wearing a plastic crown. Thanks to Ryan Lanji for connecting Jamaal and I and huge thanks to my tiny but super talented crafts folk of Martin Roach and James Yeoman.”