Tell us about yourself and your music
I grew up in the golden age of Hip Hop so my biggest influences are artists that gave hope and inspiration to the fans. There are a lot of artists at that time who impacted my own creative passion as a rapper and producer but I would have to say my top 5 from the 90’s era are as follows. 1. 2pac, Nas, Wutang Clan, Outkast and Ice Cube.
I starting writing rhymes as a young teen as a way of therapy and escape. I had a troublesome childhood growing up in the “gangsta rap era” when Palo Alto used to be the murder capitol of the world (getting into fights, parents being divorced and running away with my first girl friend across country on greyhound) so I really feel music and Hip Hop saved my life which is what I express in my song “Bigger Than Hip Hop” from my first professional album “Assorted Elements” released in 2005. I pretty much blossomed my music endeavors in Chico, California and did many shows at house parties and venues around the town with some local friends and artists at the time. After moving back to my roots in the Bay Area and getting two associates degrees at Butte College I formed a group called Monarch not too long after with fellow MC and friend Wesley Wright. We put out a E.P. And L.P. “The Beginning” and “The Transformation” in 2008 and 2010. Both albums were very aggressive, conceptual, militant and revolutionary. We made some great history together, had some well known features such as Zumbi of Zion I, Gift of Gab of Blackalicious, Marty James of One Block Radius and more but we all grow as humans and artists and mutually felt going our separate paths was best.
I completed my BA in Sound Arts at Expression College in 2009 and thats when my skills as an artist and producer really came into fruition. I released “Mr. Opus” in 2013 which is more similar to my original style of my first album but with some of the edginess of the Monarch days and of course a more polished and evolved sound all around.
I released “Good Life” in 2016 which is probably my most Pop Hip Hop sounding song released to date while still maintaining lyrical integrity and class. This features melodic singer and friend Kenny Realz and the beat is produced by talented producer and friend Swoosh. This song is about reaching for your dreams and achieving the good life, along with finding a ride or die chick to share it with. Toast to the good life!
I just released my new single “Like a Boss” an aggressive and lyrically ferocious track accompanied by an explosive and un-compromised beat produced by “The Godfather of Instrumentals” Don P. This smooth polished gem stands a testament to living life like a boss, grabbing the bull by the horns and building an empire made out of dopeness.
Currently I am working on finishing my new and 6th professional studio album which I am most proud of “Spiritual Gangster” and hoping to release it late 2018.
Talk to us more about your latest release
I think my bio pretty much sums up what the new release is about but I think the video really compliments the visual concept of the song.
What inspired you to write this release?
Basically, not only from the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur but the beauty of it as well. Its basically a token of never letting what life throws our way discourage us from chasing our dreams and living the kind of life we intended to live. We were all given certain gifts in life and just because those gifts aren’t conventionally accepted in society like being a Lawyer, Doctor or Computer Programmer doesn’t mean we should be ashamed of the beauty God gave us. So the motivation was what the song expresses, living life like a boss and trusting our own dopeness.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, most likely in the spring and summer if the right opportunities present themselves.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I just do what speaks from the heart. Obviously I take the influences that motivate me and that bleeds into my music but I always try to stay original and true to my craft.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Honestly, G Eazy is bringing some heat, I’m not really a fan of Future but love the “Mask Off” track especially the beat. I think as a female rapper Cardi B is on top of her game, Kendrick is dope and he may not be new but Yelawolf def gets some spins as well. I dont just listen to Hip Hop though, I love all music.
Tell us about your passions
Working out, being in nature, trying to increase my piano skills, I want to start taking some painting classes because I used to draw, beautiful women are always an inspiration lol, eating good food, being with friends and fam but most importantly trying to live a healthy and positive lifestyle.
What else is happening next in your world?
There is always a lot going on and many moving parts so I try to keep a good balance as much as I can and always look out for the next best thing!
Thanks for an awesome interview, Jesse!
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