It’s Back to School time in September, but if you ask the MC better known as JUS, he’s still on Vacation…with his flow.
JUS turned 18 years of age in February. That's how long he's been mastering how to perfect what he calls his patented Vacation Flow. JUS effortlessly spits verbal attack rhyme patterns. It’s his brashness mixed with skill and a tendency to rap current events that has lead to a meeting this month with A&R representatives and big-wigs from SRC Music Group and Universal Republic. His talented rhyme-like cadence has the ability to carry a hit record and is exactly why everyone must listen to anything and everything by the 119th and Lexington Harlem resident, including, his upcoming album, Domination.
JUS has the industry hot hand for the moment with a scorching hit anthem called “Get Open”. It's a three-minute rant with JUS bobbing and weaving from his own lyrics as it seems like he’s making every word, rhyme, and topic count in a battle against himself. It’s dangerously addicting. It’s not a jailbreak, so to speak, but JUS knowing exactly how to create a radio hit. A big monster motivating beat, some synthesized sounds reminiscent of Swizz Beats, Notorious B.I.G., Naughty by Nature, Big PUN, Cypress Hill. The pump your fist and Tear the Club up factor are there in “Get Open”, just leave the dogs inside.
The Poundcake: That “Get Open” track is THE heat-up… What is the feedback on that track as we speak? Is it getting any mix CD, radio/club burn?
The feedback on “Get Open” is so crazy. It got so crazy to the point where I’m walking in the street and people from little kids to their moms are singing the hook like “Go head! Get open!” As far as mix CD burn, I’m in the process of getting that done right now but the clubs are showing it love and I have crazy burn on the radio in Connecticut.
What clubs are playing Get Open? How did you go about doing that… even in Connecticut?
I know for sure Club Fahrenheit, the Boucaru lounge, I believe Avalon a couple times and clubs in Connecticut. My niggas Maine and Petey, who are also part of MTA, they throw parties for us and to help get bigger venues for the future, they go to other clubs and help them promote so they can get in good and they let the DJ know about the track and it’s done. They are the ones who got me buzzing in Connecticut because they go to school out there and got they own radio show so once it’s there, the word spreads around and then I’m all over.
Hey, Var got the Rover single on Hot 97 FM. Funkmaster Flex is feeling it too! So, “Get Open” has to be a good look in getting in Hot 97 top rotation too, don’t you think?
I definitely think so. I know that when he gets that in his hands, its over. The city is going to be in a code red alert.
Your stuff is way to advanced for being that young.
I’m 18 years old I just turned 18 this year in February. Well, I don’t write my music down I do it all in my head. I know some of ya’ll saw Fade to Black with Jay-Z and seen how he did it. It’s basically like rap meditation. Basically, I just come up with the lines and I say it over like once or twice so I can remember it and then I’m done. I’m glad you asked me that because me and my homies always talk about, 'Will people believe me?' I know that for me being so young and being as lyrical as I am, I know people be like he doesn’t write that, so now when they see that I don’t write, there will be more doubts but hey if you don’t believe me bring a beat to the studio and watch me get my Rain Man on. LOL.
What part of Harlem are you from?
I’m from 122nd and Lexington, the jungle, the east side.
Since you’re from Harlem, do you feel any pressure to do well since Webstar, Lil Mama and Dipset have done good so far?
I don’t feel no pressure at all music-wise because I feel that I’m bringing something different to the table, but what I would like to get that Dipset has, is a movement with my dudes MTA, which stands for Most Talked About. Webstar and Lil’Mama on the other hand have not gotten to that point yet and I feel that my music is not in the same place as them because they are more about making songs that are for dances that get made up in the hood and I’m totally not trying to go direction at all.
You can get Flashy, complex and even make a track for the club. Will songs like “Lip Gloss” and “Chicken Noodle Soup” help your quest since you’re coming 360 degrees, more lyrical than both of them AND you’re from Harlem? I think record execs would try to get you to do something like they did them since you’re from Harlem too.
It does help my grind. When artist get signed for songs like that, my right hand man AK be like “Yo you know what time it is, you got to get it. And I know you are because there is nobody better than you and there isn’t many people in New York who are doing songs.” Some of theses dudes are stuck on battling and when they do a song it sound like they are in a battle and then there's no content to whatever they're talking about. No one knows how to concept or take their time no more.
JUS I have to ask this question. When I’m looking at who’s hot in NYC right now as far as MC’s I think you and Joell Ortiz run circles around some people right now.
I know what I’m capable of and I can see what these other dudes are not capable of. Joell Ortiz is good and I would like to work with him he is about his business also. Joell, holla at me when you see this. He is a New York dude for real and I think he has a chance to help bring us back to what we are known for.
It’s been a long time since Harlem had a mean spit game, since Big L. Nobody has even come close! However, I hear some of the stuff you say like… the whole Vacation Flow. “You dudes are like I-pod Shuffles”, “Money is Yao Ming long”… and that freestyle on your page. I’m seeing another Big L all over again. But this time it’s JUS.
I feel like I’m continuing the legacy of his which was unfortunately cut short. I’m flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as him because he is a legend and that’s what I want to be at the end of the day when it’s all said and done.
When you decide to drop a CD how many tracks should we expect?
Ya’ll can expect from about 16 to 18 tracks. If I get a stable studio situation then it’s up in the air because I’m such a workaholic and you can ask anyone that was ever in the studio with me, I'm quick so it's always mad time left over. It usually takes me about four takes at the most.
Who will you be working with as far as producers.
As far as producers go, Var-EZ of course, and my man Ish. As far as MC’s. I got my big cousin Jay Domma Da Dean Smith who is like Beanie Sigel mixed with Kanye West, he is so on another level. My man Novacane who will totally have you like ripping your hair out and my man Smoke Dza from Purple City. I’m trying to see what’s up with the Heatmakers, Omen, and Ron Browz as far as producers go.
Speaking of Var-EZ, How did you hook up with Var-EZ? His beats go perfectly with your flow without taking away from you. Does he give you a beat and you rhyme over it or do you sit down with him and be like… bring the drums in?
I actually always knew Var-EZ. He lived on 119th and Lexington where I hang out and I’m from 122nd. I never knew he made beats though and he never knew that I was taking music that serious because I played basketball. One day he was playing beats outside in the whip and I just hear them crazy powerful drums he always has and I’m like what’s that and he’s like me. So you know my first reaction is like yea right. Then I went to his crib one day and we listening to beats and this one crazy hard joint comes on and I just went off for about a good 15 minutes straight non stop off the top off the dome and when I finished it was like one of those pauses in the room like and everybody was just looking like gotdamn. Then Var goes, “Yo, I’m giving you that beat” and breaks the silence and the rest is history. Basically he gives me the beat through e-mail and then I rhyme over it. But we did sit down together on “Get Open” and I was giving input and you see how that joint came out.
I guess Var is killing it in the Hamptons. I've seen some of the Eye Candy! Will you perform there? Whats that HYT ME thing all about?
Yea he is killing it like crazy in the Hampton’s. I’m trying to work something out to perform and I’m trying to see what’s up over there too. I didn’t get to make it over there yet but trust me I’ll be there sooner than expected. It’s a HYT ME thing and nobody is out here doing it better, who else has a ten bedroom mansion throwing parties in the Hamptons and are young and black?
I saw the pictures of you in front of the bodega on your page with the Goonsquad. I take it that they are some of the fans you’ve already won over. How many of them come to your shows?
Of course they are fans because they are my peoples but my fan base goes beyond friendship. Listen, we are so deep when I perform that people look and say “Damn, where are they going?” It looks even more crazy because there's nothing but grown men with me. Guys who were locked up that did some numbers. If I can bring the people in my age bracket it would be crazier but you know, there's age limits in certain places.
On that freestyle video, where were you at Kingdome? Was it a freestyle battle?
Nah I was at this other basketball tournament on the eastside called Together We Chill on 119th between 3rd and 2nd. It is crazy over there. you guys at IMPOSE got to come through. It wasn’t a battle, I was rapping for this DVD called Gutta Life. Much love to Arab and D-Lo.
What do you prefer freestyle battling or in the studio?
Hands down in the studio, I don’t like battling because I feel you don’t gain nothing from it. At the end of the day a label is not going to want to sign you off of your battles. Battling is definitely some people field of work but you can’t battle on a album so what are you going to do when it’s studio time? You have to know how to be creative and innovative so you can sell some records and get some money.
Explain that faces in the crowd show. How did you get that opportunity?
I was waiting for this question to come. I read about the showcase on MySpace and I heard from people that it wasn’t one of those corny shows so I decided to do it. I went to the auditions and killed it and they picked me. They almost broke their necks watching me. Now, the night of the showcase. The show was at Club T-NY on February 6. I had to be at the club to do sound check so I went down there by myself. I get down there, the bouncer wouldn’t let me in cause I wasn’t 18 yet. So I called J Hatch and the owner was like he can come in but can’t go to the club part yet until a grown up comes. So I’m stuck at the entrance freezing and I wasn’t able to do sound check. Now I finally get to the club part and I find out that I am the very last performance. Every performance, nobody in the crowd is moving not even for the signed artists who performed. When I go the crowd is basically like we at the end, its not going to get hot now especially when they announced I was only 17. Then when they heard that Big L sample and them drums they couldn’t resist. I had it looking like 8 Mile in there when Eminem killed the freeworld. It was rocking for real. Ask anyone who was at the February 6 2007 show. Then the votes finally get in after a eternity and I come in second place. I was upset at first but then I realized I got the respect and that’s what I wanted in the first place.
I know you have the bars and know exactly how to write a hook for the standard industry hit song. How much do you charge?
I haven’t gotten into to ghostwriting yet but I have been contacted about that lately so I will come up with a price soon. Don’t worry all you rappers I’m a reasonable guy, LOL.
Ok, tell the people what’s up with the Vacation Flow. LOL. That’s some real crazy arrogant shit! But I like that. Were you on vacation when you came up with that? Where were you?
Yes, LOL, I actually was on vacation in Virginia Beach. Like at three in the morning on the beach.
Wow. You’re alone somewhat in this Paperchase. Right now it's not even a paperchase anymore it’s like survival mode. Serious. The industry is crazy… Labels are laying people off. They are merging with other labels. They stopped the advance pay thing for albums. They want more of a percentage of sales. AND check this. THEY WANT TOUR MONEY TOO! How can you get around all this stuff and make some money and… still be able to have fun?
The thing that people have to understand is that at the end of the day, this music thing that we do is also a business. As long as I can record and do the music that I want to do and be able to tour and be with other artist’s then that’s fun for me. Now who is to say that I am going to sell records? We will never know until it is done. So, I know that my hands have to be in some kind of ventures whether it is related to music or not because there's no way you’re going to be living good just off of rap money.
Hey, Explain that offer on the “Get Open” Ringtones again man. LOL.
LOL, it’s a digital record label and that was part of like the 50,000 things they offered, but you already know what direction that went.
How did people get the ringtones of “Get Open”?
You know technology these days. A lot of people have phones in which you can make your own ringtones through Windows Media Player, or iTunes, or whatever program they may have on their computer. My phone can do that too. So, for the people who have my songs, they do it that way.
Any thing you wanna say? Oh, and why do they call you the sheriff?
They call me the sheriff because of my song with Big L, “New Sheriff In Town” and because everyone going to have to deal with me because I’m running this town ya dig? They also call me the G5 because I’m so fly and King Kong because ya’ll little monkey cats ain’t ready you smell me? To the A&R’s out there, come see about me. Thanks to everyone supporting me. Shout out to the whole Harlem, East Side, West Side, Uptown, Downtown. 122nd and Lex, the 90, 119th and Lex, hustle hundred. Killa 1st. The whole S.M.I.T.H fam, my brother from another AK the young boss, my man Jamie the King. My whole MTA Fam, and my family, my mother Barbara, my grandmother Rebecca, my brothers Plaeboy and Moe Bettaz, and my aunt Monica. I love yall to death don’t worry I got us. R.I.P Dee Dee, LA, M-Dot, and my Grandfather Wallace. I’m ready, I’m here, Lex Ave For Life!!!