Envy: What made you choose a music career over being an athlete?
J-BRU: Well I didn’t actually choose music over sports. I suffered a significant injury that would have taken months to rehab and it gave me a chance to focus on music for a while. By the time I was healed and ready to play my last year of University basketball, music had taken me places I never dreamed I could go! I always will have a “What if?” in my head to wonder how far I could have gone with athletics, but seeing what I’ve accomplished musically, I don’t know that it matters anymore.
Envy: What is the biggest challenge you face that hiphop artists outside of Canada might not?
J-BRU: In Canada, promoters don’t want to pay top dollar for us (Canadian artists) because Americans come here and rule our radio and television play. We have CANCON, but that doesn’t matter. People across Canada see my new video on Much and say “wow, he must be doing well”. But, in reality, radio stations in Halifax won’t even play my shit (they have in the past, just nothing off my new album)! As long as Canada is saturated with American entertainment, Canadian artists will never be a priority.
Envy: Will hiphop in Canada ever be as big as it is in the US?
J-BRU: As I said above, hip hop in Canada will never be a priority as long as US artists rule the airwaves. So I guess the answer is a resounding NO! We have progressed as a hip hop culture up here but the fact that some emcees have to go to Europe to even start to get noticed over here sucks. Theirs is so much dope hip hop in Canada but does Canada really care? Who knows? Maybe if radio played a J-Bru or a Quake 50 times a day like they do FloRida, kids would start to take notice of what we’re doing? You know if you hear a song 10,000 times you start to like it? Well I think that is how Canadian artists should be played in their own country!
Envy: How did you begin working with Classified and how are you feeling about your upcoming tour with him?
J-BRU: It’s a long story, but someone introduced us in 1999 and I started recording my first album at his place. A few months later I was his hype man and the rest is history. We’ve become great friends over the years. This tour is gonna be BANANAS! I can’t even describe to you how crazy it’s going to be. I’ve never been so pumped to be on a tour before. Class has new music, I have new music, and Canada is gonna see a whole new side to both of us! New music, new live show, and definitely worth the money!
Envy: Are there any Canadian artists you Would like to Work With?
J-BRU: I’m really feeling Son Real right now. Matt Brevner out of BC as well. He’s real dope. Sean Booth, Rich Kidd and Shad would round it out I guess. I love a lot of Canadian rappers, but this is my current wish list!
Envy: Do you find it difficult juggling a personal life and your career, being that you are so well known?
J-BRU: YES!! I actually had a job I loved at Footlocker in Halifax and toward the end of me working there I had a lot of weird experiences! Crazy fan shit. I actually talk about it on my album in a song called ‘I Laugh Out Loudly’. I don’t come home from a tour with $50,000 in the bank so I go out and work odd jobs, but they always get weird as soon as people working there know who I am. I had a major stalker at the last job I had at a call centre!
Envy: During the Junos in St. John’s, you performed Oh Canada in the streets of downtown. How proud did that make you feel?
J-BRU: It’s always a weird feeling doing a huge show with Class because I’m doing the background thing. And, while I love it, and wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise, I sometimes wish it was my show. I’ve seen Class grow so much as an artist and person over the years and I strive for that same progression as well. It’s like the best of both worlds because I am up there supporting a good friend and the hardest working artist I’ve ever been around and it motivates me to want to rock that type of show as J-Bru too! Doing that Juno show was crazy! I still have people telling me how crazy that was. I felt bad for Michael Buble who went up and did his skeeba-dee-bee-bop thing right after we hyped the shit out of that show!
Envy: Do you ever get surprised when you see others quoting/singing your lyrics back to you?
J-BRU: It’s never a surprise but it does make me proud. I pride myself on being a lyrical guy. I want you to remember what I say in a song. I know I’m not the best rapper around, but when you listen to J-Bru you’re going to feel what I’m feeling. That’s what sets me apart in this game I think.
Envy: The first song we’ve ever heard from you was “It’s Raining”. Would you consider this the most personal track you’ve done to date?
J-BRU: It definitely was. However, my mom passed away on January 27th from lung cancer and I wrote a song for her and played it at her funeral. It was definitely way more personal than ‘It’s Rainin’. I think personal tracks are what I’m known for so I think with every album I put out there will always be some more songs of that nature for people to listen to.
Envy: Aside from the tour, what can fans expect from you in the near future?
J-BRU: Well I’ll be touring a lot this year, alongside Class and solo. I just started writing my next album and have a lot of new sounds people have never heard from me before. I’m very excited for it to be released! I also am writing a book which I am hoping to finish by year’s end titled “You Ain’t Black Enough”. It is a branch off of my song from The Jason LP with the same title. It’s going to be about growing up as bi-racial kid the road blocks you face along the way. I’m also working closely with my management company, Live Vision Macro Management, to increase my stature in Canada and abroad!
Envy: Any last words?
J-BRU: I hope you’ve picked up The Jason LP. If not go do that. You won’t be disappointed. I also would like to thank my fans who have supported me to no end with the release of this album and for getting me over 9000 views for my new video “Movin on Up” in just over a month. And one last thing, if you smoke, STOP! And if you love someone, tell them every day because you don’t know when they’ll be gone! I was told my mom had a year to live and she died a month later. One love, one life, one hip hop!