Jamie Nelson doesn't go for the braggadocio.
As an emcee, he is an observant storyteller, inspired by his surroundings — the old man walking his dog around Robertito's Taco Shop on Blackstone Avenue.
"That guy walks his dog around every day," says Nelson, who does his lyrical storytelling under the moniker Gentle Jamie.
He plays Friday night at the Cellar Door in Visalia.
Until this past year, Nelson was mostly known as one-half of the wildly popular and oddly singular comedy rap duo Argyle Pimps. Or, he was Cockamamie Jamie, the guy who peed himself during a rap battle (and won). There was video footage. It went viral.
When he started booking shows this spring and debuted a new album, "Survivor Series," it marked his turn as a bona fide solo artist.
His first gig was a flop, Nelson says.
The second was the Catacomb Party on the Fulton Mall. His set — and its surprise finale — turned out to be one of the most-anticipated and talked-about of the festival, despite being behind schedule and having issues with the PA system.
Since then, he has become an artist-to-see. His stage show is full-on theatrics, including some gunplay, spraying blood and brains. It's all fake, though it does involve some cleanup.
His album will likely get distribution in Japan, and there even is talk of a new Argyle Pimps collaboration, with beats supplied by Young Einstein from the Southern California group Ugly Duckling.
The opportunity sounds appealing.
"When God made him, he made him to someday collide with us," Nelson says.
Still, he worries about losing his creative voice.
When the Argyle Pimps disbanded in 2011, Nelson disappeared from the scene.
"I was told, point blank, directly that the group was over," he says. "I couldn't come to grips with it."
For close to two years, he rode the ego wave of monthly iTunes sales, but did little creatively. He has worked hard to foster those creative desires this year.
"I can't let go of that," he says. "It's a good feeling."
It also can be a struggle, Nelson says.
The live shows can be hit or miss, and even on the good nights he can still be more affected by the heckler in the back of the bar than by words to the contrary from tongue-tied fans.
"I'm still very much a fragile dude."
It's been a lot like breaking in a pair of new shoes, he says. They may look good on you, they may be just your style, but they just feel terrible.
Emcee Gentle Jamie plays 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St. in Visalia, with a special set from his comedy rap duo Argyle Pimps. Hip-hop rockers NoGenre opens. Tickets are $7. Details: (559) 636-9463, www.snvfoundation.org
This reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org or @joshuatehee on Instagram and Twitter.