24
Mar
08

J-KWON IS BACK(interview)

  1. J-Kwon, nee’ Jerrell Jones, literally burst onto the music scene with his hit club1205471536-57952-c7786f075aa.jpg banger ‘Tipsy.’ Having escaped homelessness and a drug dealing past, due in large part to his timely recording contract with Jermaine Dupri’s So-So Def label, the resident St. Louis former teen rapper would then go on to release his highly anticipated solo debut, Hood Hop, in April 2004. Although two additional singles, ‘You & Me’ and, the title track, ‘Hood Hop’, failed to take off commercially, JD and J-Kwon still re-convened in the lab to begin work on what was supposed to become his, then, anxiously awaited sophomore effort, the since shelved, Louisville Slugger. J-Kwon did see a short lived career resurgence with his Petey Pablo and Ebony Eyez assisted collabo, ‘Get XXX’d,’ taken from the soundtrack to the Ice Cube starring vehicle, XXX: State of the Union. But then, he was gone… Fast forward nearly four years later, and J-Kwon is back. Armed with a brand new single, ‘Boo Boo (Holdin’ Me Down),’ and a forthcoming second album, on his very own imprint, J-Kwon is finally giving the masses a real inside look into the Man In The Mirror… , nee’ Jerrell JonesJ-Kwon, nee’ Jerrell Jones, literally burst onto the music scene with his hit club banger ‘Tipsy.’ Having escaped homelessness and a drug dealing past, due in large part to his timely recording contract with Jermaine Dupri’s So-So Def label, the resident St. Louis former teen rapper would then go on to release his highly anticipated solo debut, Hood Hop, in April 2004. Although two additional singles, ‘You & Me’ and, the title track, ‘Hood Hop’, failed to take off commercially, JD and J-Kwon still re-convened in the lab to begin work on what was supposed to become his, then, anxiously awaited sophomore effort, the since shelved, Louisville Slugger. J-Kwon did see a short lived career resurgence with his Petey Pablo and Ebony Eyez assisted collabo, ‘Get XXX’d,’ taken from the soundtrack to the Ice Cube starring vehicle, XXX: State of the Union
  2. . But then, he was gone… Fast forward nearly four years later, and J-Kwon is back. Armed with a brand new single, ‘Boo Boo (Holdin’ Me Down),’ and a forthcoming second album, on his very own imprint, J-Kwon is finally giving the masses a real inside look into the Man In The Mirror…  literally burst onto the music scene with his hit club banger ‘Tipsy.’ Having escaped homelessness and a drug dealing past, due in large part to his timely recording contract with Jermaine Dupri’s So-So Def label, the resident St. Louis former teen rapper would then go on to release his highly anticipated solo debut, Hood Hop, in April 2004. Although two additional singles, ‘You & Me’ and, the title track, ‘Hood Hop’, failed to take off commercially, JD and J-Kwon still re-convened in the lab to begin work on what was supposed to become his, then, anxiously awaited sophomore effort, the since shelved, Louisville Slugger. J-Kwon did see a short lived career resurgence with his Petey Pablo and Ebony Eyez assisted collabo, ‘Get XXX’d,’ taken from the soundtrack to the Ice Cube starring vehicle, XXX: State of the Union. But then, he was gone… Fast forward nearly four years later, and J-Kwon is back. Armed with a brand new single, ‘Boo Boo (Holdin’ Me Down),’ and a forthcoming second album, on his very own imprint, J-Kwon is finally giving the masses a real inside look into the Man In The Mirror… 

  • Todd Davis: Welcome back! Musically, it’s been quite a few years since you’ve last been heard from — Where have you been? And, what exactly have you been up to since the release of your gold-selling solo debut, Hood Hop? J-Kwon: Hood Hop was actually… It went platinum, and I’ve been behind the scenes learning production, starting my own production company, BEATZbyDAKwon, and starting my own film company, 21K Films. I have my own management company, Dream Team Management. I (also) been ghost-writing and developing my label, Hood Hop Music Group. So, I’ve been pretty busy as you can see.TD: Your sophomore release, Louisville Slugger, which had contributions from Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, Gwen Stefani, singers Joe & Brandy, Lil’ Jon, Nelly, T-Pain, comedian Andy Milonakis, to name a few, was put on hold indefinitely due to you being dropped from So So Def Recordings — How come you can’t release what sounds like a stellar project? And, why were you let go in the first place? JK: I was never dropped from So-So Def! Arista folded, and a lot of the artists were moved to Jive Records. Jive had different visions than the previous label. They wanted me to go in a different direction, and there were disagreements. Nothing against Jive, we just didn’t work out as a team. But, I’m still down with So-So Def!TD: You are finally about to drop your long overdue sophomore opus, Man In The Mirror — Explain the title? JK: I’m explaining me now — Me being a young father, C.E.O. and artist. It’s basically a reflection. I’m 21 yrs old now looking at the 17 year old I was then in the mirror, and watching his mistakes. (It’s) all the real life drama I’ve been through since coming on the scene at age 17 — It’s almost self explanatory.TD: For someone, like my-self, who hasn’t heard Man In The Mirror yet, what would you tell that person can be expected?JK: I would call it a classic, and, yeah, there are some highlights and those are me. The album has great production. I produced it, so I’m taking it back to the basics. I like all the songs. This album is giving the fans what they need, (and) not the same ‘ol following the current trends. I’m giving you me at a new stage in my life.TD: How do you feel that this new project measures up to that of your first release? JK: This project is on a mature level. I’m no longer a teen, I’m 21 now. So, it’s new things at 21. (Plus,) I feel like there is no album that can compare to your first, but there are similarities as well as differences. TD: Let’s take it back… How did it all begin for J-Kwon?JK: It began for Jerrell “J-Kwon” Jones when I came out of the wound — Eye of a Tiger, Heart of a Lion!TD: Musically, who did you grow up on?JK: Growing up, my influences were the same as people on the East Coast, West Coast and the South. I grew up on Pac and Biggie, etcetera. Of course, the local scene was bangin’ with Nelly, my man Chingy was bangin’, Ebony Eyez — All my music associates were hot, and we all influenced each other. TD: When did you first realize that you could do this professionally?JK: When I felt the energy from crowds rockin’ to my single ‘Tipsy’ before the deal. (But,) when I was about 12 I decided it was going to be music hard body or the streets hard body, and I was looking at all the O.G.’s in the streets, and there never seemed to be a positive end — This Shit a Movie, Dawg!TD: How did you wind up signed to So-So Def?JK: Man, you know, I hooked up with Trackboyz and had a big buzz in St. Louis. The A & R came down and we went back to New York. I went to L.A. Reid’s office, and the whole staff was in there and everybody in the whole building felt me.TD: Describe for me your sound… JK: It’s just all me. I like to be different and smoove with mine. My swag is like none other.TD: Where do you find the motivation for your lyrics?JK: God, my kids, my mom, my friends, (and) just everyday life. I’m still in the hood. I’m still flying around state to state, so I see and meet so many different people and we all relate on some level where we can talk about life, and that inspires me.TD: Let’s discuss your longevity in this business of music… JK: (I) go with my gut and do what I feel. I’m 21 right now, (and) I got my hands in so many avenues. All of it’s concerning music/entertainment as a whole. So, somebody call them boys and tell ’em I’m going to be here for a while!TD: Any other future business ventures in the works?JK: Movies. I want to direct a movie! I want to be a doctor, (too,) but I don’t think that’s gonna happen, dawg!TD: Is Hip-Hop really dead?JK: Hip-Hop cool wit me. Shit, my daughter like the shit. I’m in the middle (really). It’s some bangers out there, but no one is making history right now — I’m here to make history!TD: What is the biggest misconception about J-Kwon?JK: I’m human just like Y’all. Stop thinking every artist has a big head or (are) too lavish. I make mistakes. I do a lot for others, but people don’t see it. I don’t look for praise. I just enjoy giving people what they want. TD: What activities do you enjoy doing in your spare time?JK: Playing Playstation with my kids or friends, joking around, (and) just hanging out with my brothers.TD: Biggest Hip-Hop moment?JK: My biggest highlight is when my daughter said, “That’s my daddy on TV!”TD: Looking ahead, say, 5, or even 10, years from now, where do you see yourself? JK: On a big ass billboard in Times Square, making movies, (and) somewhere making a whole lot of this paper! TD: As for the immediate future what’s next for you?JK: We pushing the single ‘Boo Boo (Holdin’ Me Down)’ right now for the ladies — I’m finna pull a 1-2! TD: Any parting words?? JK: Remember, man, Hood Hop Music, Dream Team Management, BEATZbyDAKwon, S.O.C — This a Movie, Dawg! (And,) check out my My Space page where you can talk to me directly: http://www.myspace.com/hoodhopmusic86.
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