In a recently released video interview, local rapper JDott Trife recalls his high school principal’s good-bye the day JDott was kicked out of school. As the MC tells it, his principal said, “Oh, don’t worry about him, by the time he’s 21 he’ll be dead or in jail.” But JDott was determined to prove him wrong. “It was, like, wow, if that’s what you expect from me is to be dead or in jail,” he says. “I made sure that I never made that motherfucker right. I’m way past that age. I felt so amped, so heated. When you come from environments when succeeding is very unlikely, you just develop this ambition, this dedication to prove everyone wrong.”

JDott made it past age 21. He lived for another decade, and when he died in October, it was from colon cancer—probably not what that principal would’ve predicted. The ambition and amped-up energy in his interview also animate his music—he definitely raps like someone who knows what it’s like to be told you won’t make it to adulthood. To judge from 3 Days Before Jesus, a three-song EP that dropped yesterday (when JDott would’ve turned 32), those forces animated him till the end.

Produced entirely by Nascent, the music on 3 Days Before Jesus was meant to be part of a bigger project. Though JDott passed away before he could do more work, it’s clear from these simmering cuts that he wouldn’t have let anything hold him back.

Leor Galil
writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.