5 Deep Cuts From Jelly Roll

Jelly Roll is one of the few musicians who has done the impossible, almost completely switching genres from his original hip-hop to country. He continues to use elements of rap in his music but is now fully immersed in country. His transition has given him the chance to open up about his personal life, and he has become an advocate for sobriety and finding purpose in art. Though he’s best known for tracks such as “Son of a Sinner,” Jelly Roll has many songs that are just as deep—even if they’re not quite as popular. Check out these fantastic deep cuts from the rapper-turned-country music star. 

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1. “Sober”

Before he was a rapper and singer, Jelly Roll was a drug addict and dealer. In the 2021 song, he reflects on the pain and despair of addiction and how relapses trigger self-loathing. The country star has been open about his struggles in the past and how music became a form of therapy for him. The song has become an anthem for his fans, especially those who have lost loved ones from addiction. They’ve been known to bring photos to concerts and hold them up in the air while the song is performed.

I fucked up again
Hide behind my sins
I’ve found everything but closure
Learn to swallow pride
Behind these hollow eyes
I don’t see change getting closer
I’ll never get sober

2. “Halfway to Hell”

In 2023, Jelly Roll appeared on The Tonight Show, performing his new song, “Halfway to Hell.” It was the first time he had sung the track on television, and it certainly made an impact. More than anything, it set the stage for his newest album, Whitsitt Chapel, in which he explores his experiences with spirituality, repentance, and redemption. 

“Outside of religion, the idea of being able to be redeemed is just a great idea,” he told Grammy.com. “The idea that who we were is not who we are is so powerful. At that moment, I was like, ‘I want to write a conceptual album, that kind of outlines my journey of religion, my journey of spirituality, my journey of redemption, my journey of wrongdoings.'”

I’m a dive bar Sunday sermon
Holy water with my bourbon
Standin’ on a bridge I’m burning
With a can of gasoline
Am I worth savin’ if I’m always fadin’?
It feels like I’m caught in-between

3. “Same Asshole”

Themes of self-reflection, self-loathing, and the desire to change are common in Jelly Roll’s music. His song “Same Asshole” appeared on his 2019 album, Cross and Crossroads. The lyrics reflect his frustration with his inability to change, even though he wants to become a better person. He also acknowledges his music for giving him a purpose. They aren’t new sentiments in Jelly Roll’s music by any means, but they’re expressed in a new and powerful way in this forceful hip-hop track. 

I try not to think of hard times
I try hard to let the past go
I thank God that I’m a changed man
But some days, I’m that same asshole
The same old me, the same back road
A couple of crosses and a black rose
Singing the same old sad song

4. “Only (Addiction Kills)”

Jelly Roll has not shied away from talking about his experiences with addiction. He has been addicted to both drugs and alcohol, issues that also caused him problems with the law—leading to at least 40 arrests, he claimed in a recent documentary. Substance abuse has also affected his relationships; the rapper’s mother and wife also struggled with sobriety. His song “Only (Addiction Kills)” explores the fears of drug addicts, even ones who are now committed to being clean. 

What if the moon disappears and the sun doesn’t light up the sky?
What if the freedom we’re seeking is only inside of our mind?
What if I love? What if I give my all?
Lord up above, will she catch me when I fall?

5. “Smoking Section”

“Smoking Section” was one of Jelly Roll’s early songs, released on his 2015 album Therapeutic Music 5. At the time, he was mostly unknown and had yet to entirely transition to country music. The song has been mostly overshadowed by his more successful tracks since then, but it’s worth a listen. “Smoking Section” reflects on people Jelly Roll has lost and how he wishes to spend time with them again, even to do something simple. 

Hey baby brother, how ya doin’
The streets still holdin’
The last time I seen ya, you ain’t seem so focused
Can’t believe I ain’t noticed, I can’t believe I missed it
Life been crazy, man, fast life livin’
While Struggle’s sittin’ in prison, I’m sittin’ and trippin’
And I’m sittin’ here wishin’ that you were sittin’ here with me

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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