As a DJ, producer
and MC J Love is a throwback in a sense many younger cats may
not realize. Today we find a lot of specialization in the
elements of Hip-Hop; many people see DJs, MCs, b-boys,
producers, graff artists and urban entrepreneurs as distinctly
different from one another. They tend to characterize each group
as having its own separate identity, hierarchy and set of
procedures. This is, of course, in complete contrast to the way
Hip-Hop started. Back in the day the same cats would DJ, MC,
write graffiti, rock and bring the speakers for the party. Being
a triple threat was a minimum requirement as opposed to the rare
exception it is today. But while times have certainly changed,
there are always new lessons to be learned about what it takes
to succeed and earn respect among Hip-Hopís elite. J Love makes
for an excellent case study. Recognize.
RiotSound: Where are you from originally?
J Love: Queens, New York.
R: How did you first get into music and what motivated you?
J: I always loved music since I was a kid. When I was first
exposed to Hip-Hop, I was in love. Listening to AJ Skratch and
La Di Da Di I was hooked. It was a good thing Ďcause I was like
too caught up in the music Ė it saved me from the streets. I was
fucking around in the streets and if it wasnít for music, who
knows where I would be right now.
R: Unlike other mixtape DJs, you donít seem to gravitate to
the artists thatís hot at the moment. How would you describe
your outlook as far as what you try to get across on one of your
mixtapes and what artists you tend to support?
J: I just try and keep my format the same. I never been a ďdickriderĒ;
just Ďcause a certain artist is on top doesnít mean his music is
banginí. You have to impress me, so I look for what I like. It
may be a Jay-Z song one minute and a Large Professor song the
next; but to me it makes sense. I donít try to support anyone
regularly, I just try and keep it real with myself. The way I
look at my CD is Ė would I listen to this if I was buying it? So
basically Iím making the CD for myself first and then everyone
else gets a copy too.
R: With mainstream rap music becoming so commercialized, do
you feel that the mixtape scene has really surged in recent
years since fans are looking for other ways to hear the type of
music they canít find in stores or on the radio?
J: Shit, I mean some artists, if it wasnít for the mixtapes they
would be dead. The radio only plays like 30 to 40 songs a day;
in 24 hours you gonna hear the same 30 to 40 songs Ė so that
means thatís 30 to 35 artists, depending if a certain artist has
two songs in rotation. So what can the rest do? They have to
look for other outlets and mixtapes supply that avenue. The
music game is very corny right now so a lot of artists are stuck
and donít know what to do. But Iíma just be me and see how I
R: Hidden Darts The Best Of Ghostface mixtape you did was
written up in XXL. At that time did that bring you a lot of
exposure and introduce you to people that otherwise might have
J: Maybe. I always had a nice following on the mixtape scene
since I first came into the game, so itís hard to say. But, I
mean, look at that CD Ė Ghost wasnít even hot at the time.
Bulletproof Wallets came out and people wasnít really feeling
him like that, the album didnít even do good. Jay-Z was the
nigga at the time; but I went against the grain and was like Ė
yaíll missing something right here, this is that shit you need
in your life Ė the review was a shock but like I knew the CD was
hot when I did it, so people had to recognize.
R: In recent years you have been getting more and more into
production, doing tracks for Large Professor, Cormega and Masta
Ace, among many others; as a producer where would you like to be
and where do you see yourself several years from now?
J: Well, what a lot of people donít know is that in like í97 I
had an album deal to produce a compilation LP. I had completed
it and had crazy artists on it. Tragedy, Cormega, Large
Professor, Smif & Wessun, Brand Nubian, Guru, Inspektah Deck, OC,
Masta Ace; there was more but thatís all I remember right now.
But shit didnít work out over there and Iím not the type of cat
to let someone put my livelihood in their hands, so I took my
reels [two inch tapes], contracts and broke the fuck out from
I think its just now that I am getting a little more recognized
for the beats but I always loved beats, thatís my favorite shit
right there. Thatís why I am about to put a CD out called Better
Your Life with 25 songs that I produced, just so I could
showcase my production skills and niggaz see what time it is
really. I even have a few tracks on there rhyming, so Iíma
surprise a lot of people. As for the future, I just want to be
respected as an ill nigga in the game; like yo Ė he really do
his thing in everything he does. Just the props and respect; I
mean getting paid helps it all the more but respect is the first
R: Being a supporter of the Wu, how did you feel about Olí
Dirty Bastardís passing? What was your reaction when you first
heard about it? What was it like making that tribute CD?
J: That shit was crazy to me. Olí Dirty was always my favorite
in the group, that shit had me sad. I always felt he never
reached his full potential and now he was out of jail and back
rhyming again and it just came at a fucked up time, mad love
goes out to the Wu. Definitely went and repped for the nigga,
went to his wake and all. I felt like I keep losing MCs I really
have mad love for, Big Pun, Big L and now Olí Dirty. It was
crazy but thatís life, things happen; what can you do? But when
I did that tribute CD I just wanted it to come off correct. Mad
DJs ran out and did some corny CDs so they could get a little
money real quick right after his death Ė but that shit is weak
to me. I am paying homage to a great artist, shit is genuine
R: How come you have never done a best of Gangstarr mixtape?
Is that something you may do in the future?
J: Yes sir, definitely part of the Legends Series coming up in
R: You pride yourself on getting all the rare, hard to find
joints on your mixtapes. A lot of times you hear about rivalries
between mixtape DJs as far who got the best exclusives. Are
exclusives really that important to crafting a good mixtape or
is it something that some people tend to blow out of proportion?
J: Well, now-a-days it is Ė Ďcause all these top mixtape cats Ė
without the exclusives what else does their CD consist of?
Thatís why I try and stay away from that, Ďcause I have all the
same exclusives all these DJs have but half the time the songs
suck. Iím not making a CD just for the playlist to have big
names on it Ė but thatís how the majority of these DJs do it.
Itís pathetic if you ask me.
R: Before you started making mixtapes and producing, were
there any DJs and producers that you looked up to? Who are some
of the DJs and producers out now that you can say you have
J: Plenty, as far as DJs, Kid Capri, Marley Marl, Red Alert,
Chuck Chillout. Producers who I looked up to and still do to
this day are Rza, Large Professor, DJ Premier, Beatnuts, Diamond
D, Showbiz, Lord Finesse, Peter Rock, Havoc, Alchemist is nice
too. I know there is a few I am missing but thatís of the top
R: What up and coming MCs are you feeling at the moment?
J: Game is kind of ill, Killa Sha, J Hood, La The Darkman Ė heís
not new but he has some heat; Mayhem, my nigga Raze, Exquizite,
even J Love.
R: As far as J Love, what should the fans be looking out for?
J: Like I said I have that Better Your Life CD coming out real
soon with 25 bangerz from top to bottom, no weak links Ė so be
on the lookout for that and the mix CDs at your local
R: Do you think you will ever stop making mixtapes and just
J: Maybe, if the mix CD game keeps going the way it is. Itís too
overcrowded right now, thereís a new mixtape DJ everyday, shit
is horrible. But for now Iím not going anywhere so rest assured
Iím here to make life hard for the fag DJs.
Shout out to RiotSound for having me for the interview and keep
checking the website -
www.J-LoveOnline.com is about to undergo a major redesign;
also scoop that Better Your Life CD coming out real soon.