By JR Valrey, The Minister of Information
One of the most beautiful things about Ajgod and Honey Gold Jasmine is that they are musicians that are madly in love with each other, in an era where misogynistic and man-hating rap is the prevailing genre that is most popular. Gone are the times when Curtis Mayfield crooned “Give Me Your Love”, Norman Connors piped “You are My Starship”, Anita Baker sang “Angel”, Sade moaned the “Kiss of Life”, or Pac belted out “Can You Get Away”. I come from the politik that everything is political, while at the same time feeling like art and artists should create from every emotion that they feel, whether it is politically correct or not, because it is authentically part of a human experience, and we should never be afraid to face our own fears, ills, and contradictions.
Nevertheless negative feelings and contradictions between Black men and Black women have been solely highlighted and weaponized by the corporate record companies, radio stations, and other media platforms and highly profited from, at the expense of the destruction of the Black family and community, to whom these psychological weapons are marketed to first.
Ajgod and Honey Gold Jasmine’s music and performances mark a turn from this trajectory, and it is refreshing to see Black love and positivity make its way back onto the scene. Check them out in their own words.
JR Valrey: Were y’all in a relationship first then became a group or the other way around? What is key to keeping a business relationship like that strong?
Ajgod: We met at a Juneteenth celebration and built a vibe from there. It was a year before we even began talking romantically. I like that part of our relationship because it gave me time to really be myself with no expectations. Jasmine was always hella vibrant which drew me in. As we continued to be around each other our creativity sparked and our chemistry led us to collaborating more. To be successful in a relationship and do business together it takes a certain amount of selflessness. I really want to see Jasmine win and I know she feels the same about me.
Honey Gold Jasmine: Our journey to collaborating together has been a slow but steady one. We met in 2014 at the Juneteenth Fest on San Pablo ave (Oakland) and our initial connection was purely platonic, and we even worked on a [unreleased] song together. We were friends until we randomly started getting heart eyes for one another in late 2015. We didn’t end up working together on anything else musically until 2017. Ever since then, we have kept our own music pursuits, and we collab as individuals, not a group technically. But, I think that is what makes us work. There’s a freedom and flexibility to letting inspiration spark naturally instead of feeling the pressure to do every single thing together. We also intentionally carve out time for just enjoying each other.
JR Valrey: How do y’all describe your music? What kind of production do y’all as a group like? Why?
Ajgod: I love the phrase Jasmine created “Hyphy Vibin”. We mix R&B with a hyphy spark. We both come from the Bay, and appreciate melody and we mix it into our sound.
Honey Gold Jasmine: I would describe our collaborative sound as eclectic, introspective, and soul driven.
JR Valrey: Who are some of the musicians that you are inspired by? Why do they inspire y’all?
Ajgod: I’m inspired by many artists like Common, E40, Kevin Allen ( Erk The Jerk ), J Dilla. Some of the women that I’m inspired by are Mary J Blige, Patrice Rushen, and Erykah Badu. I’m inspired by originality and authenticity. I like artists that make music with a distinct fingerprint.
Honey Gold Jasmine: My top 3 inspirations are Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, and J. Cole. The thing they have in common that inspires me is the way they share their authentic souls through their music. I love how they are so innovative, and can work with anyone. Also, I love how they can make bops and also give you songs from the soul too.
JR Valrey: Why is it important to y’all that your music has an empowering message?
Ajgod: Music is frequency. Everything is moving even when it seems still, there are molecules vibrating. I believe that words are powerful and affect the matter around us. The power that we yield is most powerful when we are intentional. My motivation is to make a lasting impact so I choose my words carefully.
Honey Gold Jasmine: It’s important to me as a writer because I view my lyrics like affirmations. Singing these songs over and over again has an influence, not only over the fans, but myself. These two factors cause me to consider how the sound will touch people’s souls. So many people are hurting and digesting content that intends to hurt. I can’t see myself contributing to that. Also, I don’t want to box myself in, the parts of my soul that have been hurt and burned deserve a voice too. I’m working on that.
JR Valrey: With there being such an attack on Black men and women relations and the Black family by American white society, why is it important for y’all to show that y’all love each other on stage?
Ajgod: Rap is notorious for being disrespectful to the Black woman. My goal is to always elevate the Black woman and give her the most love. So when I show my love publicly, I am changing the narrative.
Honey Gold Jasmine: Relationships are political whether we want them to be or not, especially within this industry. People market their relationship as “goals” and a statement, but, our love is hella homegrown haha! With that said, I think it’s been a beautiful byproduct of our real life love story, for people to see it as a statement. It’s a blessing to be witnessed for the love we share. It’s sacred and so precious to me. For us, this shit is personal. We both grew up in broken homes, and seeing unhealthy relationships. It’s an honor to be able to work on breaking those generational curses together. I am happy we have grown together. Our love for the Black community and the way we love each other, definitely goes hand in hand because we recognize how important representation is for people at the same time.
JR Valrey: What are y’all currently working on? Are you in the studioAjgod: Right now, I’m helping Honey Gold Jasmine complete her next album. I’m looking forward to the world hearing it. I’m also working on a producer project called “Many Hands Make Lightwork”. It’s going to be a compilation featuring artists like Jae Harmony, Rev the Artist, Spear of the Nation, and of course Honey Gold Jasmine.
Honey Gold Jasmine: I am working on my debut album, set to be released in the Fall of 2022. I’ve been writing to Aj’s beats like crazy, and we’ll be getting in the studio soon.
JR Valrey: Where does the name of the group come from? How did y’all get y’all’s names as musicians?
Ajgod: “Twin Flames” is the name of our project, but it also describes how we feel about each other. We share a deep connection. We both respect the spiritual side of life, and I feel we were pulled together energetically, and were meant to cross paths.
AjGod is a name that I was given by a friend of mine. It represents me claiming my power. I am a god, a little g to the big G. I am on a journey to be the greatest and utilize all the talent god gave me to leave my mark on this earth.
Honey Gold Jasmine: So “Twin Flames” is just the name of the ep, and we chose that name to represent the spiritual concept of finding the person that compliments you on your life’s journey here on Earth. My name Honey Gold Jasmine represents me adorning my name ‘Jasmine’. These three natural elements are some of the most precious, priceless things we can find here on Earth. As a Black woman that’s been through hella trauma and has been resilient, I know I am worth so much. I want women who listen to my music to know they are as well. It also represents my Grandpa Honey, an ancestor who while on Earth made me feel so seen and held. RIP!!!
JR Valrey: How could people stay online with you?
Ajgod: My website – AjGod.net
You can find me on Instagram – @Ajgod510