TGLR Presents: J. Loonz.
Yo Jordan what’s up how was school this year and how’s college life in general?
Yo whats good with you my man. This has been a pretty crazy school year for me. I kicked it off with a four-month study abroad trip in Prague. I had never really been out of the country so to see Prague along with Amsterdam, Italy, Germany, and Hungary was really a life changing experience for me. Then I got back to school and dropped Nerd Hop Vol 1, which was lovely and I also started a live band called Looney and the Tunes, which has been going really well. Other than that I have just been hittin these books trying to graduate and partying as much as possible.
So your boy Max hooked us up with this interview and he’s been an awesome help. What do you think of him and his “promotion methods” (I won’t detail what he did to get me to listen to you, it’s a bit graphic)?
There is only one word that can be used to describe Max and that is BEAST. The man is just graduating high school and has more marketing and promotional talent than industry professionals. As far as his methods go, I just leave him to his own devices, and it gets results.
So I read your interview with the Daily Northwestern and it seems to me that you’re a pretty cool dude. Do you consider yourself a NERD with special hopping talents or is your album targeted at NERDs?
Well I will say that I hop with the best of them, but this album is really for anyone who is cool with being who they are and if that means a nerd than all the power to you. The main goal of Nerd Hop is to redefine what it means to be a Nerd. At the beginning of last summer I had to have a little sit down with myself and really look into who I was as a rapper and a person. I came to the realization that I was a Nerd. Not a Nerd in the sense that I am socially awkward or I can knock out your math homework in five minutes, but in the sense that I approach everything I do intelligently and passionately. Being a nerd is a state of mind, you can’t just though on a pair of big glasses and think you got it. You really have to live eat and sleep your nerdom not because you wanna make a fashion statement, but because your are completely ok with being yourself. I think everyone should strive to be a Nerd whether your thing is school, fashion, music, or even slangin yayo. Just look at the Clipse, biggest coke nerds ever.
I’m really digging a few tracks on Nerd Hop Vol. 1 like “Look at me Now” and “Oh Really”. I was able to listen to a track off your new tape, “Sleepy Head”, and I’m getting really excited! How does the feel of the second mixtape compare to the feel of the first one?
Well first there is just more content on Vol 2. Vol 1 was just like a little taste of what I am bringing to the table, Vol. 2 is like lunch. I ain’t served dinner yet, but we working on it. Vol 2 also has more of a blend of different tracks with a mesh of concepts that all speak to different parts of who I am. You got your party tracks like Sleepy Head combined with some tracks you can chill out to, mixed in with some heavy lyricism. All in all I think this next tape is definitely a step in the right direction and I look forward to making more music.
Who were you before college, and who are you now?
I think a lot of people go in to college looking to reinvent themselves, but for me college was a place to expand who I already was. Before college I was hungry to be a successful emcee, but I didn’t have the experience or the network necessary to put all the pieces together. Now I am still hungry to make this rap work out for, but I have a better understanding of how to make what I want happen. Education has made a lot of things possible in my life both musically and professionally and I still got a year left.
Did you always have a knack for music and rapping or did you pick up over the years? When did you start doing this shit?
Music has always been in my life. My grampa was a jazz pianist, my dad played the bongos, and my mom was a poet and they used to perform together before I was even born. Both of my older brothers and my cousin rap too, so I came up in a really creative/competitive space. My cousin was my age so we used to spend all day kicking freestyles. The first shit I ever recorded though, was back in junior high. Me and my boy made a CD where we made parodies of a bunch of tracks all about food. It was pretty clownin I might have to release it.
Tell me about your boy Zack. I’ve heard some pretty good stories.
I met Zack my freshmen year in African-American Studies 101. We were both in to music and we became good friends. You know how other people zone out or get distracted, at least for a small amount of time during the day. Well that just doesn’t happen with Zack. He is always working on something and constantly having new ideas. I said Max is a beast but Zack is like The Beast from X-Men. I don’t really want to put him on blast with any stories, but believe he’s doing big things.
Do you speak any foreign languages?
I speak a little Spanish and some Czech from living in Prague. In this new track Europe my first line is some German slang I picked up while I was abroad.
Have you looked at signing onto any labels? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
You know the thing about signing to a label is it could kill you career. Depending on your contract you cold get put in a bad position where you don’t have control over your own music. I’m not saying I won’t ever sign, but there are a lot of things I can do now to make sure that I have more say in the matter when an offer does come to the table. In the near future I’m working on developing my sound, but I eventually hope to make that classic album that full represents who I am as an artist. I feel like rapping is something that will always be with me, so I’m trying to get my hands in to a lot of different things. Hopefully I can start a few businesses, maybe go to grad school, and hopefully travel the world. These next five years are going to be incredible for me, I want to go all out and not hold anything back.
If you could work/collaborate with any artist/producer who would it be?
Man that’s a tough question because there are so many artists that I would love to work with. Personally I have always wanted to work with some Minnesota greats like Atmosphere or Brother Ali. But even as I say that I start thinking about working with some one like Andre 3000 or UGK, rest in peace Pimp C. Too many cats to name, next question.
What are you nerdy about/How much of a nerd are you?
Like I said earlier for me being a nerd is a state of mind, so whatever I do is going to have a little nerd in it. Of course I’m passionate about Hip Hop and I approach it in an intellectual way from how I write to how I market and promote myself. I do have some classic nerd tendencies, though. I have always liked school and I watch cartoons after school religiously until I was like a senior in high school. I still love cartoons, but I’m so busy I don’t really get a chance to watch them like I want. At the end of the day though there is something intangible about nerdiness that I have never been able to quite put my finger on. Maybe its just the fact that you see the world a little differently or have different priorities other than trying to be cool.
What is your opinion on the new musicians that are making it big in the music industry now?
I am really excited about the next generation of Hip Hop artist that are coming up right now. All across the country you have some really talented emcees that are putting out some quality music. Some of my favorites right now have got to be Wale, Drake and Kid Cuddi. I also have been really diggin heads like The Cool Kids, Mike Terror, Big Sean, and Kidz in the Hall to name a few. I gotta show Minnesota love though because I am consistently bumping Heiruspects, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and POS. A lot of the emcees I named have only released mixtapes so I’m watching and listening for their albums. There are also a ton of other heads I didn’t mention who I really talented that I want to hear more from.
What do you think about Mike Posner?
I actually have been working with Mike for a little bit now. Zack and him had a mutual friend so they linked up and we started doing some marketing work for his first mixtape. About a month ago now we went out to Detroit to kick it with him for a few days. He is a cool guy, just really laid back and down to earth. As far as Mike Posner the artist goes, I think he is extremely talented and I can’t wait for him to make more music.
TGLR or some other crappy blog? How’s your blog doing?
Our blog is currently under construction, sort of. I had one of my friends do some graphic design for the site, but we never were really able to finish it. I was like I’m going to wait to start posting until its finished, but that might be a little while, so I think Ill start getting back to it. For the people that don’t know my blog is www.nerd-hop.com. It is of course devoted to all things nerd hop. Eventually I’m going to start putting all my lyrics up there. To me rapping is like poetry so I feel like sometimes people have to read my lyrics to really get everything that’s there. Another blog that I think every underground hip hop head needs to be up on is Midwestbroadcast.blogspot.com. They provide me with content and information about at a broad variety of artists from the all Midwest. He actually just released a compilation CD, called Flyover Land Vol 1 that is fire. Flyover Land Vol 2 is on the way, which I am going to feature on.
How do you primarily get your music out to the fans?
If I told you that I would have to kill you. Na I’m just playing, but we have developed a pretty solid method of distributing content using some methods from this Social Networking class Zack and I both took. So far we have released all the content digitally though facebook, myspace, and blog networks and it has been working pretty well. We have expanded the network since Vol 1 so I think Vol 2 is going to go a little farther.
What is J. Loonz's Theory of Relativity?
Well I have never really thought about it, but I guess my theory of relativity connects to my definition of success. They say success is relative, meaning that it is dependent on your own personal definitions and experiences. One person may feel that a successful rapper has to be ballin out of control with mad chains, and cars, but for me I measure my success by the quality of the music I make. Neither of these definitions is inherently wrong, I guess it just depends on what you really want.
Why Northwestern/How are the fans there?
My main reason for picking Northwestern is because it was the best school I got in to. Some other reason I choose NU was because it was’t too big and it was out of state. Although I love St. Paul, I had to leave for awhile and see what life was like outside the Twin Cities. Another great part about NU is how close it is to Chicago. The Chi is a beautiful city, when its not cold as fuck. Chicagoans has always showed me love and has given me some great experiences musically, professionally, and in life in general. Northwestern fans are getting better. When I first got out here people were a little suspect that anyone that went to school at NU could be a talented emcee, but I have been showing them the light.
If you could have anyone do a hook for you, who would it be?
I’ll take a hook from T-Payne just cuz it’s guaranteed to make me an instant star and a lot of paper. Na but for real though I think it would be really ill to get a hook from Lauren Hill I have always thought she had a beautiful voice and is one of the dopest emcees male or female ever to do it. Where you been at Ms. Hill?
Have you ever freestyled? If you have, how often do you do it!?
I came up freestyling. My friends used to always tell me to imagine Jay-Z or Nas was standing in front of me and was about to give me a deal, but I had to kick something off the top first. I think its a useful skill for any emcee because you can show off your skill where ever you are, but I don’t really like to do it on the track. I feel like I have a lot more control when I write because I select the perfect word for the rhyme plus I can make my rhymes have a deeper meaning beyond whatever it is I’m thinking about at the time. I definitely ebb and flow between freestyling and writing. One week ill write a novel and the next I can’t write for shit, but I can freestyle for days.
Performing Live or Doing Studio Work?
They both have their highs and lows. Performing live is a lot of fun especially with a live band. There is nothing like looking our over the audience and seeing people genuinely vibing with your music. What I like about studio work is the endless possibilities. There is so much you can do to a track. Whether it is in how you spit your verse or how you mix it down or the after affects you through on, when you step in the booth you have the opportunity to create something that a lot of people will enjoy.
If you could make music for a genre other then hip-hop, what would it be?
You know, me and my boy out here at NU used to clown all the time and switch our songs in to other genres. It was mostly country and like emo rock, but it was pretty funny. If I had my choice I would be and r and b singer, but just for the fact that chicks go crazy for singers. The only problem is my singing voice isn’t quite there, yet. I actually just saw prodigy the other night and they put on a sick show, I would love to rock as hard as those dudes.
Ever thought of making a music video and how you would go about that?
Actually I’m working on with a few film majors at NU to do just that. Not exactly sure what song or how the logistics are going to pan out, but the initial phases are under way.
Would you ever collab with artists not in the hip-hop genre?
Definitely. Passion Pit is like a techo, electronica group, but I would love to work with all types of musicians from punk to jazz.
How’s Chi Town? Do you know Chi City MAYNE??
Yo Chi Town is lovely. It’s starting to get warm outside which means summer is almost here, and you know there’s nothing better then the summer time Chi, especially when your twenty one. Ya dig
….You want a Snapple Becky.
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