Jarred Brooks might be on the verge of a ONE Strawweight World Title shot, but when the #2-ranked contender isn’t training for an MMA fight, he can usually be found with his headphones on.
And more often than not, the brash American is blasting hip-hop music.
The 28-year-old Indiana native is a massive hip-hop head who has a wide musical palette, ranging from 1990s conscious rap to the latest indie offerings.
Brooks is so infatuated by the culture that he’s even grabbed the mic and dropped some bars of his own, including this diss track aimed at #4 contender Hiroba Minowa ahead of their fight at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE in January.
Brooks’ favorite rapper is Eminem, one of the best-selling music artists in history.
Eminem – who hails from Michigan, where Brooks now resides – initially entered as Dr. Dre’s protege in the late ’90s.
Very quickly, he became a household name due to his crafty punchlines, jaw-dropping wordplay, never-back-down attitude, and edgy songwriting that captured the hearts of a generation.
“If you’re talking about the best of all time, you got to go with Eminem. I would say the reason why is because of [his] lyrical ability mixed with the show performance inside of the song. He treats it like a real performance, and you can hear that in his music.”Brooks on his love of Eminem
Brooks is also a big fan of the late underground icon MF Doom.
A decade after kick-starting his career under the name Zev Love X in a trio called KMD back in 1988, the London-born emcee donned his trademark mask and changed his identity to the one that hip-hop aficionados love today.
In addition to his clever persona, the legend achieved critical acclaim for his solo music, his originality, his lyricism, and his production.
“MF Doom is definitely the most slept-on rapper ever. I like him more than Eminem, but I got to give props [more to] Eminem. But yeah, MF Doom, his lyrical ability mixed with his flow and how different he is compared to other rappers and how smooth he is [is why I like him so much]. And he produces as well. He produces his own music. So, that’s why I would put MF Doom probably as my number one, but he’s number two right now, I guess.”Brooks explains his difficult choice between MF Doom and Eminem
A Tribe Called Quest
While his list mostly contains solo emcees, Brooks is also fond of classic hip-hop groups.
And if he has to pick one, “The Monkey God” will go with A Tribe Called Quest.
The New York-bred collective originally formed in 1985, but the four-piece became a true presence in the ’90s due to their socially conscious lyricism.
Their contributions to the culture helped influence the backpack rap movement and even saw them get nominated for possible induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.
“I mean, you got Phife Dawg. You got Q-Tip. You got some of the best guys in the world, and you had J Dilla go on an album for ‘em. So yeah, much respect to A Tribe Called Quest, and I think that they’re definitely in my top five as well.”Brooks on A Tribe Called Quest
Brooks also has a love for the West Coast – especially Earl Sweatshirt.
The Los Angeles-based artist earned his initial claim to fame as a member of Tyler, The Creator’s rap crew, Odd Future, but he’s been able to expand from the collaborative effort and stand on his own as a solo artist.
In fact, the 28-year-old just dropped his fourth studio album, ‘Sick!,’ this past January and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Lyrically, he is very inclined. He knows what he’s doing. He studied the game from the beginning. I think that he has grown as an artist as well and not fed into the media bullshit, and just going and being himself. I like the underground rappers, for sure.”Brooks on Earl Sweatshirt
The strawweight absolutely loves the energy coming from the Brooklyn drill scene, so it’s only fitting that he admires one of the movement’s founding fathers, Bobby Shmurda.
Shmurda started to develop a presence in the mid-2010s due to his hard-hitting lyrical content and his viral “Shmoney Dance,” which was the hot thing to perform on Vine at the time.
Though the New Yorker experienced controversy in recent years, his music nonetheless impacts Brooks – especially during fight weeks.
“The reason why I like Bobby Shmurda is because he has everything that you would want out of an entertainment rapper. He’s definitely an entertainment rapper, but I get so pumped up to his music. Everybody, when they see me in Singapore, when they see me with my headphones on, I look like a crazy person ‘cause I just get into Bobby Shmurda mode and just try to murder things.”Brooks on Bobby Shmurda