Nov 26, 2000

J-Zone

by

J-ZoneWelcome to the first of many interviews to come from Jbutters. For my first interview I had a chance to chat with Mc/ Producer/ Dj/ label owner/ Lucy Liu stalker J-zone on a variety of topics such as his new release “A Bottle of Whup Ass” and Headwrap chicks. Enjoy!

Jbutters: Which part of Westchester County are you from?

J-Zone: Are you from there?

JB: I used to live in Mt. Vernon

JZ: Ok well I lived about ten minutes from there in a place called Larchmont

JB: I was reading a lot of your interviews so I will try not to ask the same questions you’re always asked like “Is it true your first album was your senior college project?”

JZ: Lately I’ve been giving really stupid answers just to fuck with them ill give an answer that has nothing to do with the question

JB: I’m not one to do the serious interview I prefer to have fun with it occasionally asking a silly question

JZ: I have a serious side but I’m a superficial cat. I take things seriously but I try to have fun. A lot of times I’m sarcastic and you won’t know if I’m joking or serious. I’m into a lot of things that are not quote unquote what good hiphop is supposed to be or what people expect of me. Like when they ask me what’s my favorite record this year and I say sipping on some syrup I’m being dead serious. They think I’m playing because I have a sense of humor

JB: You recently returned from a tour in England tell me about that

JZ: The shows were hot. People were into it and they knew the music. I went for 3 weeks but we only had 7 shows. The tour was arranged kind of fucked up so we had 7-day periods with no shows. One time we had 4 shows 4 days in a row then we had a week off

JB: So did you get to do a lot of sight seeing?

JZ: I tried to but the weather is so bad and the food is so shitty I caught the flu and came down with a bad stomach bug. I ate some bad shit over there. I just got real fucked up in the game

JB: How was the tour you did in Australia?

JZ: I liked Australia better then Europe. It isn’t much different than New York when you go to places like Sidney in terms of hiphop audiences. Its no where near as grimy but you still got the girls with the headwraps in the crowd who get mad when I go and do my thing

JB: You always say you make a lot of women mad at the shows. What do you do to piss them off?

JZ: Nothing! I just be rocking. One time I performed at the Nuyorican and it was headwrap night. I don’t know why the hell they booked us with this poetry reading girl. They were all snapping instead of clapping

JB: Was that words?

JZ: Yea and I had a T-shirt that said Bitch magnet

JB

JZ: So when I got on stage all of them just folded their arms. You could hear them sucking their teeth before I even grabbed the mic. We ran through some joints and our sound system cut off. It happened a few times and I found out the next day some girl got mad and told the soundman to cut it at a certain songs. That’s weak I don’t agree with a lot of shit they say but I don’t boo and do all that other shit when they do their thing. I have a show at the knitting factory tonight I hope it goes all right

JB: What other shows do you have coming up?

JZ: I got S.O.B.’s Dec 26th, and then I go to Amsterdam

JB: Do you prefer shows overseas since most Mcs feel they get more love abroad?

JZ: We get way more love overseas. They know all the words. I dunno in New York the market is saturated. People in New York have no sense of humor. They take everything so literally. We get on stage and do some dead wrong shit but we’re doing it out of fun. The name of my crew is the old maid billionaires…

JB: Where did you come up with that name?

JZ: One day I saw the cash money millionaires and I said yo we gonna be richer than them. We get onstage and throw monopoly money. Overseas I guess my stuff has a lot of British humor in it so when we do shows they get the joke

JB: I don’t know why anyone would be expecting a serious act when your grandmother is on the cover

JZ: You should know where I’m coming from once you see the cover. Everyone has a cover with a subway train, picture of records in the crates, conventional graf piece, or picture of the crew everyone does that

JB: And you just have your grandmother…

JZ: Yea

JB: Is she on your street team too?

JZ: Yea she be out there handing out posters, beating people down handing out stickers

JB: I heard your thinking of doing a compilation album have contacted other artists about appearing

JZ: I want to keep the same lineup. The artists Id like to work with ODB, Ghostface, Luke, Suga Free an actual pimp down with DJ Quick, Devon the dude, someone real country like juvenile or something I just don’t have the money to get those kinda guys

JB: Who is Captain Backslap?

JZ: That’s my alias. I was thinking about coming out with an album under that name. I have captain backslap; Huggy has Thug Penis, Big Daddy Papshmere. Al Shid is Ike Turner. It’s just our nicknames in the crew

JB: If you could backslap one person who would that be?

JZ: AHH Man the list is way too long! I would probably backslap those headwrap chicks at the shows spoil all our fun. They always come up to me at the show saying they were offended. How many times do I have to say certain things pertain to certain people? If you are not like what I’m am talking about on the record you shouldn’t be offended. I don’t get offended by certain Mcs because they are not talking about me. It’s not like they said J-zone or all producers from Larchmont. That’s different if they are singling me out. If the women are not what I’m talking about don’t get mad. I also want to smack up all the people downloading my shit. My Napster page is dumb long

JB: Originally there weren’t many underground mcs on Napster

JZ: In part it’s good because people who would never hear my shit have access to it. I would rather they had it no matter how they got it. It’s the heads that go to fat beats and sandbox. I would understand if they downloaded a couple songs to peep it. Instead they download everything including interludes and all that. Then they ask why isn’t he making more material, its because I don’t have the money to.

JB: I guess it’s easier to download then to buy an album and find out its wack

JZ: Yea I understand that. If you only like 2 or 3 songs then download that so you can remember me for certain shit. Other cats download the whole 40-min then put Quassimoto on the same CD trying to get the best of both worlds

JB: What’s the worst album you have ever bought?

JZ: I’ve bought a lot of shitty albums

JB: The worst I have ever bought was the Dr. Dre and Ed Lover album “Back up off me”

JZ: Oh man you bought that!?!

JB: Yea I don’t like to admit it I had to end up throw it out because people kept laughing at me when they saw that in my record collection.

JZ: Oh I know what the worst LP I bought was. Play it again Shan. That was a bad album. I liked his first 2 albums, the 3rd one had this song “time to defend ourselves” that I kinda liked so I bought the album and there wasn’t one other dope cut on the whole shit. I like a lot of bad rap so its kinda hard for me to say cuz I like a lot of shit that is bad by all standards but entertaining. A vanilla ice record is entertaining. The Mc Shan album was bad and unentertaining.

JB: People talk about some other heads from queens like Mobb Deep and they don’t like them but I find the humor in Mobb Deep. People don’t seem to see it

JZ: I do. Prodigy once said, ” I put a hole in your face so big it almost took his whole face off” when I first heard that shit I was rolling. Speaking of Queens rappers everyone bitches about how Nore doesn’t say shit but he is hilarious. Ill buy a Nore album knowing it’s artistically bad but funny.

JB: Running Laps around the English Channel..

JZ: Nah he said some other shit like “Put the bogey out in your face and now your face look like ash tray face” and he said, “Nore you getting fat boy I tried to lose weight but I like being fat boy” its hilarious he rhymes the same phrases. You gotta understand there are records that are entertaining, some good music, some both and some neither. Nore isn’t good music but he is funny to listen to.

JB: I always tell people they take rappers like that too seriously

JZ: I used to be on some shit upset with the state of hiphop, but if you find the humor in a lot of it makes it a lot easier to deal with. That’s why I didn’t re-release my first EP because my views changed. I’m not gonna press it anymore. A lot of the material is 3 years old.

JB: Dissin the crystal Mcs

JZ: Yea why waste time on record with people who aren’t in my realm. I’ve taken a look at my immediate circle and the underground aint all it’s cracked up to be. I wanted to be apart of the independent movement. All this time I was glorifying the underground and dissin commercial and it turned out they were the same thing just less money

JB: You mentioned not releasing your first EP since it sold mainly on Word of Mouth. What are you doing differently to promote your new music?

JZ: Whup ass was more or less Word of Mouth but I was doing more shows, interviews, I put the website up, did a tour in Australia and had stickers made. I don’t have the money to do real promotion but I did release a 12″ before it came out to help promote it. I’m building off the buzz from the first EP. I did a lot more groundwork for Whup Ass but with my next release I’m not pressing the records.

JB: So you’re going to get a distribution deal?

JZ: I have distribution through Fat Beats but I’m pressing. It’s a pain in the ass to anticipate how many records your gonna need. My back is bare from carrying records to stores when they run out. I lose money shipping records. Doing all the grunt work for the label doesn’t leave me much time to make music.

JB: This is all part of your normal day?

JZ: My normal days vary. Some days I have to fill up orders, go back to the lab work on my music, make beat tapes. Then some days I hold studio sessions in my house to make some extra cash or I might have a show or go record hunting.

JB: Even with all that I assume you prefer having your own label and not have to worry about sacrificing some integrity

JZ: Yea definitely but I want a P and D deal to give me a lot more free time. I’ll even take a loss in the money for that.

JB: I got a hypothetical question for you. Say you see Chi Ali on the streets”

JZ: Haha

JB: Do you call America’s most wanted right away (extra cash for pressing records) or do you let him slide?

JZ: I approach him and say let’s do a record

JB: Word! Doing A record on the run?

JZ: You know how much loot that would make. Id be like yo Chi check this shit out one record we’ll call it “On the run”, “They coming to get me”, or some shit like “Get the fuck up off me”. Hit the studio white label it make mad dough and if he gets caught use the money from the record to bail him out. Ill work with money Fuck this running shit come to the studio for a couple hours

JB: That’s ill I got one more for you. I know people are always asking you about your love of Lucy Liu. Say you guys get married but she didn’t approve of your career in hiphop. What’s the next step do you stop making records?

JZ: Beats or rhymes?

JB: Everything as far as putting out music

JZ: Id probably put out something under an alias name cuz I love making music but I wouldn’t tell her to leave I gotta have her

JB: So I guess hiphop isn’t your first love

JZ: Music is my first love not hiphop so I couldn’t give up my music but I couldn’t give up Lucy either. I don’t love hiphop that much! If I had to choose id get me an office job fuck making records I already made 2 id probably have made a 3rd and 4th by then. Id just lay up in the crib and be a pornstar. I would give it up for Lucy.

JB: Have you seen Charlie’s Angel’s?

JZ: Yea the movie was aight but of course Lucy…Fuck hiphop I’d give that shit up in a minute! You can print that.

JB: You said music is your first love. I read you wanted to originally be in a funk band do you ever sample any of your live music or play in your spare time?

JZ: In my spare time I do. I’m a trained musician, I can play 5 or 6 different instruments but the sound I look for you can’t really get from live music. Its hard to get it on a keyboard I was trying it out at Sam Ashe the other day. I just can’t get the sound I like. Ill play bass lines live but I don’t sample bass lines much.

JB: You talk a lot about your problems with women. We all know there is more love for Mcs overseas did you have any luck tour?

JZ: Yea Australia had a fair share. I went and got my kangaroo piece. Europe though I was sick as a dog. When I was in Europe I was stressed out the last thing I was thinking about was women. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. At first it is but some of them are corny and stupid you can’t even talk to them for five minutes. I’m not really into that.

JB: Do you have any lines?

JZ: Usually when I put a gun to their head that seems to get the number faster

JB: If you weren’t making beats or rhymes what would you be doing?

JZ: I’d probably be a male escort. All I can say is I wouldn’t be doing a job with a shirt and tie not a regular 9-5. I can’t hold a regular job it’s a disaster

JB: What kind of jobs have you had?

JZ: Every summer growing up I was a custodian, I worked in an icehouse…

JB: An icehouse? What do you do at an icehouse, chop ice all day?

JZ: Nah put in bags I almost choked my boss

JB: Why?

JZ: Cuz he was a dick. I hated that bastard I worked at KB toy stores for a month then I bounced. I worked at recording studios but I hate turning knobs for someone else. I worked for AAA last summer that was the worst.

JB: What was so bad about that?

JZ: Cuz from 8-4 I would do the same thing everyday. For the pay they were giving me they could blow me.

JB: Id rather do this for free then actually go to work

JZ: I’m a cheap bastard. I had to pay to see Charlie’s Angel’s but usually people are like lets go to the movies I’m like fuck you or you should buy this shit. I buy my shirts off Ebay I don’t give a fuck I’ll admit it. I save all my money and it will be a Friday night and I’m at home fondling my balls but I won’t have a day job! Everyone will be going out and ill be at the crib going to bed at like 11pm. I’ll sacrifice my social life to not have a day job

JB: Is there anything in hiphop you would change?

JZ: I would make the conversation time to get groupies shorter. I shouldn’t have to hear about your life and goals.

JB: I noticed a Ice Cube sample are you a big NWA fan

JZ: Yea

JB: Which album do you prefer death certificate or niggaz4life

JZ: At that time probably death certificate but I feel Amerikkka’s most wanted was the best album out of all NWA related material. (This conversation led to him putting on death certificate and more ice cube talk) That’s my number one influence along with the first LONS album and Public Enemy.

JB: Where is the highest level you want to take your career?

JZ: I want to make albums that are cinematic. A lot of people have said they don’t want to clear all those samples so I doubt I would be on a major label. I want to make the ultimate album where you are listening to it and you feel like you’re in a movie and can visualize everything.

JB: What do you say to heads that ask for promos?

JZ: Pay me. Seriously I feel them out. I didn’t make promos I made 4,000 copies of Whup Ass. They are getting a cover a legitimate copy that I spent money to make. If they are a DJ with a show with any weight then yea but if they are just some herb off the street asking for 8 copies for his boys I need proof he’s legit. People don’t understand I’m doing this with my own money. Those same cats saying I should be making a lot of money are downloading my shit. If you like my music then support it.

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