On a rubber-melting day near the end of summer, I drive to North Hollywood, Los Angeles to sit down with Jitta on the Track. Jitta — whose name comes from the southern term “Jit” (used to refer to a small child) — is a Florida-born talent who grew up in Connecticut. Now he’s in LA, the land of the multi-hyphenates, sharing his two greatest skills with the content-hungry public.
On one hand, Jitta is a rhymer with a dexterous flow — smooth verses that get at big ideas. His discography has everything from EDM-inspired pop records to hard-hitting squad anthems. On the flip side, he’s a visual artist — creating work that challenges the viewer without ever feeling heavy-handed. One day that might mean he’s painting portraits of Aaliyah or Marilyn Monroe, the next he might riff on Bob’s Burgers or The Simpsons.
Regardless of the medium, the gift of creativity is in Jitta’s DNA. He was adopted at a very young age (his adoptive father was paraplegic, “But he taught me how to walk… I love that guy.”) One day, young Jitta went into to a graphics shop. The owner of the shop told the boy that he reminded him of a friend. In an odd twist, the shop owner’s friend turned out to be Jitta’s biological dad.
“I met him there and I’m still in contact with him,” Jitta says.
Turns out, the youngster’s father was also an artist. The connection felt like kismet.
That’s not to say that Jitta had a linear path into art. He didn’t go to art school and doesn’t rely on pro tools. His pieces are often painted on his phone or a tablet. He’s not afraid to riff on pop culture or mash up cartoons. The first piece he sold was a deformed President Trump head. In the years since, he’s done work for Post Malone and other rap stars, and also does brand work for big companies.
The game plan, he says as I tour his studio, is to eventually save up and create a huge art installation in LA and possibly an art show. Of course, there’s rapping to do too.
“I always knew I could draw and sketch,” Jitta says. “But most definitely the music came first. I started making music when I was 18, put my first song out at 19. Did my first tour at 20. Now I’m 25 and developing myself to be the best, realest artist I can be.”