It’s An Infinite Cycle Interviews… Junclassic
Since Late Nights and Early Mournings, I’ve been following Junclassic‘s career and I finally got a chance to interview him this week. This was probably one of my favorite interviews I’ve done so far, so read week #3′s interview from Junclassic after the jump.
P.S. I am “Killa”, it’s not bad…
If there was one song that describes your life right now, what would it be?
Wow thats a great Question Killa. U mean off Imaginary Enemies right? It would probably be “Arrival” blended into “I Can’t Die” if I ca freak it like that. My time is coming. People are starting to embrace my music and Im making some great connections with cats making big moves. And they respect my grind. Thats all summed up by “Arrival”. I gotta blend it with “I Can’t Die” because life is always issuing challenges that threaten to take us under. I can’t let difficult financial circumstances be the thing that stops me. Not now.
What do you consider to be your proudest accomplishment as a rapper?
Getting my nephews out the street thru music and positive influence. Well, they still dabble in the street cause they got no fear and simply ain’t having it from nobody (me neither) but the lure of doing wrong has been greatly diminished by my strides in HipHop. My scholastic achievements play a part in that positive influence to my nephews too. Im the 2nd in the fam to graduate College. 2nd in the fam to go to college.
When people hear that you’re from Jamaica, Queens, I’m sure that 50 Cent’s name would come up. Do you think that there is more to Jamaica than you and 50?
Absolutely! There’s Onyx (RIP DS), Lost Boys (RIP Freaky Tah), Grafh (who ima big fan of) and the whole Black Hand, Tribe Called Quest (bet cha didnt know they from the Southside/St. Albans), LL Cool J, Consequence, then you move over to Hollis with the Legendary Run DMC (God Bless JMJ) and it goes on and on. U also got nice parks in Queens. My homie LP just moved from Flatbush, Brooklyn to Queens and him and the fam LOVE Queens for the tree lined streets and 24 hour stores in close proximity. Queens is almost suburban till u hear them shots in the distance and see the D’s slowing down as they approach you.
On Southside’s Savior, you introduced Lejon Lewis in “Lovin Life”. Who is he and what made you give him a chance to showcase his talent?
See thats why you the Truth Killa!! Thanx for asking about Superstar Lejon Lewis! He’s actually my nephew. The only son of my deceased Brother Bobby Lewis (LOVE U BOB!!!). He’s a 15 year old prodigy Fam! Does his own production and writes all of his material. Extremely talented. Sad thing is, I compared him to Michael Jackson after he laid the hook to “Lovin’ Life”. He did this 3 months before Michael died. Once Michael passed, I didn’t wanna make the comparison cause I figured people would say Mike’s death influenced me to compare them. Not true. When Lejon hits that high note in “Lovin Life”, you tell me what u hear? Lejon also did the hook to the song “ZeeZee’s Groove”, which he sang to his little sister ZeeZee. And he’s a Lil Pretty Boy too! Ladies, hit my myspace up, Lejon is in my top friends!
It’s clear that family means a lot to you because it’s a subject that comes up in many of your songs. How does your family influence what you do?
Family keeps me going. Sometimes we argue, but we love and need each other. Every album I’ve put out has a song dedicated to a family member. In fact, I usually have more than one song dedicated to family. I did “Come Home” off my first album dedicated to my nephew going to Iraq. Also did “Never Can Say Goodbye” for my niece and nephew who moved away from me back in 2007. On my sophomore album I did “Pretty Toni”, a dedication to my niece who was proud of her choice to be a lesbian and I totally support it. I think its important to let ya family know how much you care about em. What better way than thru music? Plus I think are going thru the same things many my listeners are so perhaps hearing my family stories will inspire my listeners and/or their families.
What made you release your newest project, Imaginary Enemies, in a nondigital format?
I wanted to do something different Killa. Wanted to help my label Classified Recordings stand out. And I really wanted people to go looking for the Imaginary Enemies CD, so I decided to get some siiick artwork done, press up a limited number of CDs and number each copy to create a Limited Edition Collector’s Item release. When Kanye did that battle against 50 with Graduation, he used some ill artist from Japan for the artwork. The illest artist I know resides in Uptown NY. My man Mr. Alan Coogan-Prieto painted the front cover with oil paint on canvas. Did all the comic book-like sketchwork thruout the booklet. Do you know some “industry folks” thought my album artwork looked “suspect” to the point where they wouldn’t even listen to the cd, let alone review it for their prestigious websites/publications? Can’t please everybody no matter what u do my G.
What is the most meaningful song on Imaginary Enemies to you and why?
Definitely “ZeeZee’s Groove” without a doubt. My Brother’s family decided to move away from Southside Queens after my Brother passed. I totally agreed with the move, cause Southside ain’t nowhere to be without a Man in The House, but I became so close with ZeeZee that I felt like ‘my daughter’ was leaving me. So I wanted to leave her with an instructional on how to live her life despite facing such a deep tragedy so young. Thats why in the 3rd verse Im just talking to her about everything she went thru. Thats how I used to talk to her while driving past Baisley Park after picking her up from School. The whole song is supposed to feel like a conversation. I really talk to her like that man. “People are cruel ZeeZee. This world is a hard world. You have to be tough!” I didn’t sugarcoat stuff for her after My Brother left. I think she respected the fact that I vibed with her like that. And she dug it when she listened to “ZeeZee’s Groove” so Im happy. My whole family loves that song. First song of mine my father ever listened to.
I hear that you and Large Professor are collaborating on a song. How did you connect with him and is it possible that there can be more than a song being made between you two?
Ayyite! U doing ya research! I BEEN a fan of Large Pro since “Looking At The Front Door” and I had spoken to him briefly in 2004 when I was working for MF GRIMM. I had been hitting up his myspace telling him how Im doing my own thing and how I would love to work with him. He had this beat on his page called “Corona” and I hit him one day and told him I LOVED the track and he hit me right back for the first time ever saying, “You like that? Its yours!” Maaan I couldnt believe it!! Im working on that song now. Actually laid it down but I was sooo nervous because it was a Large Pro beat yaknow? I rushed thru the song. Tryin to flow all ill an shit. So I gotta relay it. Hoping that song will be well received. Its a concept song so who knows? In terms of doing more than one joint with Large Pro, sheeeiiiit, all I can say is that im gonna try to impress him with the one track he hit me with. If I get lucky enough to do more music with Xtra P, I’ll let cha know Fam.
Who else would you like to work with in your career?
Wow, another great one Killa. To me, Nas is the GOAT of this shit. So I’d LOVE to work with Mr. Jones on a track. Try an outdo him (yeah riiiight But Im Sooo SERIOUS!). Ima huge fan of Alchemist’s production so to work with him would be a dream come true. Also love The Neptunes beatwork. Big fan of no samples when its done right. Shawty Redd’s shit is dope!! Would love to see what I could come up with working with eL-P. I like that futuristic spacey shit sometimes yaknow? And eLZhi. Would like to do a banger with him. Evidence too. Oh, and DJ Premier! How could I forget him? And Moss too. Moss is dope! Oh, IllMind is a BEAST! Would love to do a track with Jadakiss and Styles P.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in being a rapper?
The more you can do on your own for yourself in This Game THE BETTER!!! Relying on people to make you pop is usually not a good look. So build relationships and work hard and people will respect your ability to connect with people and they will respect your work ethic. I honestly believe that Lil Wayne would not be at the top of the game if he didn’t start unleashing material like a madman in 2007. Pac still got records we ain’t heard cause of his grind in ’95. In the End, they gotta respect Hard Work.