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Meet Jk D Animator, the man behind your favorite hip-hop cartoons who is sought-after by Drake and DJ Khaled

Kendrick Lamar, as designed by Jk D Animator.
Kendrick Lamar, as designed by Jk D Animator. (YouTube)

Jk D Animator is living proof that hard work pays off.

Three years ago, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jk D, real name Jemmel Matheson, was on furlough from his video editing job in London.

Bored, he decided to start a TikTok channel on which he could post his own short animations.

"I wanted to do something to keep my skills sharp, something just to keep me busy," the London-born creative told Rising Rap.

At first, he didn't get much, if any, feedback.

"For maybe a year or so I was just doing them every day and barely getting any pushback whatsoever," he said. "My TikTok was doing nothing."

Roll forward to today, however, and Matheson has amassed over 2.5 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube and is earning a full-time living from his work.

Most interestingly, mainly thanks to his "Studio 27" video series, he's become rap music's go-to animator.

You've no doubt seen the videos. In short, a rapper, animated in a South Park-esque style, walks into a music studio. They then have some sort of comedic back-and-forth with either the studio engineer or another rapper, before stepping into the booth and dropping some heat.

From Drake to Kendrick Lamar to Schoolboy Q, Matheson's virtual studio has now played host to a multitude of rap superstars, many at their own request.

Here, Matheson talks with Rising Rap about his "Studio 27" series, finding viral fame, and getting commissioned by some of the biggest names in the industry.

Which of your "Studio 27" videos was the first to really take off?

The Drake and Lil Baby video. Basically, overnight, that kind of changed my life. It went super viral on both Instagram and, more importantly, YouTube. In the space of 10 days, I went from like 10,000 followers to over 100,000 followers.

What did you do after that?

Once that happened, I was like, 'Alright, maybe I can make a living off this.' But I didn't quit my job straight away. I was there for maybe another five or six months.

But because of the Drake video, that's why I started making more studio skit videos because I was like, 'Well, if that's what the algorithm wants, let me lean into that.' Eventually, that's what my page became because a lot of those videos are doing really well.

What I didn't expect is what it turned into. Real artists started reaching out to me like, 'How much to have a session in your studio?'

What kind of artists?

From all levels of the industry. So from the bottom all the way to the people that represent people like Drake, DJ Khaled, Kanye. So now it's turned into this thing where as well as it being something where I just make fun videos, the industry is using it to promote artists.

I saw Schoolboy Q shared a "Studio 27" video you made of him performing "Yearn 101."

That was a commission from his label. It's nice when they reach out to you and you get to be a part of the big moments of the year type thing. I'm just trying to stay grateful and stay relevant I suppose.

When it comes to commissions, do you take them from anyone or?

I don't like to promote garbage. There are standards and an integrity. The music has to at least be decent if I'm going to be able to hype it. That being said, I do try to give everyone a chance and usually we can find something decent that I can work with.

And it's not just rappers you work with either, right?

I've done dancehall, reggae, afrobeats, and gospel videos, so I've gone outside of the rap genre where the song has warranted it.

I'm quite eclectic in my taste. There's house that I like, pop that I like, rock that I like, so I think it's more dependent on if there is something about the track that I can pipe up in the studio.

"Studio 27" isn't your only videos series. You also have a series called "Dragonflow Z." Talk to us about that.

To me, Dragonflow Z the fusion of hip-hop and anime. I'm a big fan of anime. I love Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Attack on Titan. That's my bread and butter and I've always felt that those two energies kind of go together.

Is that where you hope the future of your animation career lies?

People have really bought into the concept, so I want to see how far I can push it. I'm really trying to make something special with it.

One of the most common comments I get from that series is, 'This should be on Netflix.' And I agree with them. All the bullshit that's on Netflix that they pump tonnes of money into making, give me a fraction of that and I can make the best show that a lot of people have ever seen. That's the goal long term.


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