Rapper and man of faith Jean D’eau could be used as an example of why we shouldn’t let our present circumstances lay the foundation of our future. Jean may be from the streets but he was blessed to have been able to “GET OUT” and live by his own code. Although Jean D’eau has found success in music, he would also like to take a shot at acting and modeling. Be sure to stay updated with him via social media and also by exploring his website www.whoisjeandeau.com!
Words + Interview By: Krystal Luster
I came up with the name on lockdown. I’m usually real low key so nobody really knows except for the people closest to me. I’m unknown, like a John Doe. My birth name is John and D’eau is French for water. My flow is like water so I just kind of used it as a double entendre. John Doe=Jean D’eau.
Tell us about the name “Jean D’eau”.
You caught a case at 16 years old. What happened? I was being young and stupid.
Prison is prison and everyone has different experiences. How was it for you, personally? I went through different stages. I had good years and bad years. For example, I was just wilding, trying to adapt to my environment the first half of my bid. I went back and forth to lockdown for fights, riots and other altercations. Then later on as I learned the system, I started getting money. I started selling contraband (drugs, cigarettes, phones, etc.) so I was making a lot of money. Those were my best years. Then, I got sent to lockdown and did my last 3 years in isolation. Those were the worst years.
Were there enough activities available for inmates to keep themselves productive? NOPE! There’s no such thing as rehabilitation in Georgia prisons anymore. There used to be all sorts of trades and educational programs available but now, majority of the level 5 prisons are locked down most of the day.
Did you pick up the Islamic faith while in prison or before? What is the biggest misconception about Islam? I embraced Islam in prison. I was familiar with it because my mom grew up Muslim but I wasn’t religious or spiritual or anything before I went to prison. I’d say the biggest misconception about Islam is that we worship something other than The Creator. Most people don’t understand that Allah is Arabic for “The God”, meaning the One and Only God. Contrary to popular belief, Islam is a religion of peace. Terrorism and other things going on in the Middle East are not a part of Islamic beliefs. They are radicals who misconstrue verses in the Qur’an to suit their own agenda. Islam changed my life and my perspective. I had to go through what I went through to become the person I am today. I don’t think I would’ve had the same mind frame as I do now if I hadn’t served time.
What bit of advice can you give to those living the street life? “GET OUT!” like the movie, lol.
Do people often think being a rapper and practicing the Islamic faith is a contradiction? Absolutely. I’m not going to sugar coat anything. We’re not supposed to listen to or make the type of music we listen to and make. It’s haram (forbidden). Technically, only certain instruments are forbidden like string instruments, for example. But, some of us make it worse because of the content of our music. For instance, if my lyrics were cleaner, the subject matter was more positive and I rapped over pretty much only drums and permissible instruments, then that would be halal (permissible) because poetry is halal.
How do you make the two work? I just stay true to myself and I don’t worry about what everybody else is doing or have to say about what I’m doing. Allah knows my heart and intentions and only he is the judge. Only I will have to answer for my actions on the day of judgement. I can’t change overnight. The Qur’an was revealed over a period of 22 years and the wisdom behind that is that it takes time to change. If the Qur’an had come down all at once, no one would have embraced Islam.
Has music always been a passion of yours? How did your career start? I’ve always been passionate about music. I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I got locked up and started to watch people come up over the years. I got my start rapping at one of my childhood friend’s studio at his house the day I came home from prison. I haven’t looked back since.
How would you describe your sound? I’d say I’m like a mix between 90’s-00’s Hip-Hop with a little bit of today’s style over 808’s.
What is your relationship with Ralo and how did you meet him? I met Ralo through a mutual friend. I did time with another Muslim from the Bluff and when he came home I use to pull up on him and show love and that’s pretty much how me and Ralo crossed paths. After that, I would pull up on anything he had going on in Atlanta to show support because I was proud to see another Muslim progressing in the rap game.
Tell us about your latest project, “ Who is Jean D’eau?”. I spent four years putting this project together. I didn’t want to release it until I had all the right pieces together to make it successful. I had to make sure I had a budget to push it and I had to make sure that all of my paperwork was straight so that I own the rights to it in case it became successful.
What is the overall message in your music? I want to show people that there is always a way to turn a negative into a positive and overcome adversity. There are not many people who have done as much time as I have that are able to come back to society, adapt and have a positive impact. Majority of the people that have done large amounts of time come home institutionalized and end up going back to prison for whatever reason. I want to show the world that is not about where you start, it’s about where you finish.
What does it mean to live “By The Code”? I live by Islam. I’m from the streets so I live by the street code. I live by the code of silence: Omertà. Those are my codes. I can’t speak for anyone else.