With an image that does not look like your typical rapper is one thing being noticed and signed by the same individual who signed The Fugees and Cypress Hill is another. After the Jump check out a sit down I had with the kid.
iR: What do you feel your role is coming into the music industry?
JJ: There’s not too much music that is being made like my music right now. I think that I just kind of make rap cool again for lack of better words.
iR: Right now you have a certain level of mainstream and underground but I tend to disagree a little because if you want good music you can find good music. What tracks do you feel you’ve made that stand out right now?
JJ: The feedback that I’ve gotten right now are two songs “Coolest Girl Ever” and “I Killed Hip-Hop”. Coolest Girl Ever obviously has alot of mainstream potential. The song “I Killed Hip-Hop” just the initial shock of the title could garner attention from Hip-Hop heads and just your normal everyday fan.
iR: So who do you listen to?
JJ: I haven’t listened to new Rap lately. I grew up on Rap and was probably the biggest Wu-Tang fan you could ever meet. I had everything from the solo projects to the side projects anything Rza produced and Ghostface was on that’s what I was about. I listened to alot of underground stuff like Aesop Rock, El-p, Company Flow. Outkast is always a good look. Lately I’ve been listening to alot of Warped Tour type stuff. I’ve been playing alot of heavy metal and hardcore stuff like Devil Wears Prada, Suicide Silence and stuff like that. I just feel the passion in that music more. I feel like Hip-Hop got to a certain point where your not cool if you don’t project a certain image. That concept is just old and dry and it doesn’t motivate me to listen to that stuff any more. These bands that I listen to are about something theres a conviction to what they do.
iR: So you feel that overall the entire genre of Hip-Hop has lost its passion for what they do?
JJ: Well I wouldn’t say overall because if you look for what you want you can find it with Rap. Rap has always been that way and that type of energy. As far as the stuff that gets forced to the general public it just seems very calculated and contrived. I think people will respond to the vulnerability in my music. You listen to the radio and you hear a Hip-Hop song and ,for lack of better words, you don’t hear him talk about his feelings and stuff like that. The general consensus that I see is that Hip-Hop artists aren’t normal people, and that they don’t go through the same things that we do. I want to bring it to the basement level and show kids that we all are the same.
iR: Overall what projects are you looking forward to hearing this year?
JJ: To be honest with you I am interested in hearing the Blueprint 3. The first Blueprint that Jay-Z released was a huge influence on music in general. I think the public soon forgets how big that album influenced overall music. Hip-Hop has sounded different ever since that album dropped. I want to see how 50 comes back in and I’m interested to see how 50 re-establishes his position. That stuff does interest me but as far as stuff that I get really amped up about is the more hardcore stuff more rock music.
iR: One classic Hip-Hop song that you could redo which one?
JJ: To be able to fit my brand of Hip-Hop it would have to be something from Outkast. Just looking at it from the standpoint of would I be able to reproduce and it and kill it like Andre. I would love to do a Wu-Tang cut.
iR: So you have to be looking forward to the Raekwon album coming out?
JJ: I’ve been looking forward to the Rae album since 2001 when they first announced it so it kinda subsides a bit. Its got “Detox” syndrome and you really don’t know if thats ever coming out. I remember when I first got Sirius they started playing “State of Grace”, I think Rza produced it and Ghost killed it. I was certain this was Raekwon’s return, but now its like I’m not sure if it will ever come out.
iR: Moving more into your music with the “I Killed Hip-Hop” thing. Nas did that entire scenario before hand. Do you think that this draws any comparison, because once people see that they will ultimately look at it as a direct bite from Nas’ same campaign.
JJ: I don’t want to say that I drew from Nas but there has been alot of talk about me being detrimental to the whole Boom Bap era. Alot of fans of that era seem to get upset that music like mine or 3Oh3 or stuff like that is detrimental. When we start to bring new innovative styles into the genre there is always a certain backlash from a group of Hip-Hop heads. To not allow a form to grow is the death of it. The “I Killed Hip-Hop” record is me being sarcastic. If I had the power with my little songs to kill Hip-Hop then what was it to begin with? Its more sarcasm, and me saying “look this is the expansion of Hip-Hop not the death”. Nas is a very smart guy and that album was damn near a classic. By those actions he illustrated how intelligent he was because to state that a genre that has such a deeply rooted influence on you is gone and then making a classic record is showing the exact opposite.
iR: In Hip-Hop today Streetwear has kind of merged into the scene, what brands do you like?
JJ: I’m into the skate wear. OBEY is more about a brand and I’ll dig OBEY forever because there is meaning behind it.