J-Zone's Three Hour Groove Marathon - 04.30 (NYC)
The day has finally arrived! And no, it's not an April Fool's prank. My seventh solo album (and 12th over all), Fish-n-Grits, is out now in multiple formats.
Fish-n-Grits Out Now!
Catch me at Robert Bar in Downtown Brooklyn on Saturday, April 30 (into Sunday, May 1). Heavy ammunition and dancefloor burners, all on 45s. Plenty of static and cue burn - funky drums, James Brown wannabes and out of tune horns bouncing off the walls all night long. I'll have Fish-n-Grits CDs and some of my own 45s for sale. Come through and bring/tell a friend! Info on flyer.
Also check for it on Spotify, Amazon and anywhere else. I've been asked about vinyl, so let me explain something about vinyl: Double vinyl is very expensive and the pressing plants are reporting wait times of 6+ months. Pressing 7"s has been bearable; double 12" is a task. So I want to make sure the demand is truly there (and remains there months from now) before going down that road. Remember: I am a one man show - from the music to the shipping to the finances!
That said, if you need a vinyl fix, the 7" single for "Funky" b/w "Go Back To Sellin' Weed" is available HERE (among other titles)
Here's a blurb on the album:
J-Zone, self-proclaimed “jack of all trades, master of zero,” may be familiar to you for any one of his six lives: Indie hip-hop’s class clown; an off-kilter producer with his own identifiable style; a frustrated music business casualty who penned a nervy memoir about the life of the working class musician (Root For The Villain); a tongue-in-cheek, encyclopedic music journalist; a late-blooming drummer with a knack for channeling the spirit of classic break beats or a DJ with a deep love for funk 45s.
On his seventh solo album (and twelfth overall), Fish-n-Grits, J-Zone visits all the stops of an artistic and musical journey that spans well over two decades. Comprised of both limited edition 7” vinyl-only releases (dating back to 2014) and all new material, Fish-n-Grits is equal parts vocal and instrumental. The New York native uses his rap time to pick fights with the delusional state of the music industry, gentrification, the good and bad of nostalgia, police brutality, political correctness and hip-hop’s generational conflicts, but never without his signature brands of humor and sarcasm intact.
As a student of samplers, drummer, multi-instrumentalist and collector of archaic studio gear, Zone was able to chef Fish-n-Grits into his most sonically versatile album to date. A stew of dirty, funky live drumming, bizarre samples, pulsating percussion and menacing bass that stretches in vibe from a circa 1969 funk instrumental to a twisted, analog interpretation of trap music, Fish-n-Grits has moments inspired by just about everyone. It’s obvious that The Meters, Prince Paul, The Incredible Bongo Band, Project Pat, Kool and the Gang, Public Enemy, George Clinton, Kool Keith, Bernard Purdie and Tim Dog have all carved out space in Zone’s music library, but the sound remains his own.
J-Zone’s zany alter egos (Chief Chinchilla and Swagmaster Bacon) also get booth time, as do long time collaborators Al-Shid, Prince Paul and Has-Lo. Serving as a bridge between Zone’s 2013 comeback offering (Peter Pan Syndrome) and a forthcoming group project with Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins (SuperBlack), Fish-n-Grits captures his development as an artist and musician, with occasional nods to the past.
In the meantime, J-Zone can be found laying down drum tracks (Danger Mouse, Marco Polo, Stretch & Bobbito Documentary, Fresh Dressed, his own drum break series), throwing down live funk 45 sets, repping SuperBlack, making the occasional beat and interviewing unsung musicians for Red Bull Music Academy.
Fish-n-Grits Promo Video
So I have a new album called Fish-n-Grits dropping April 1 and I was told I needed to do some type of video promotion. I hate doing music videos because I'm not good at hip-hop hand motions and I own about two complete outfits. I've made 12 albums and only have two music videos that I actually appear in - that explains how I feel about doing rap videos. So I did this instead. I brush up on old instruments, do some DJ routines, reveal where I found inspiration for this album, visit my favorite drum shop and give a glimpse into more behind the scenes stuff I do everyday. Enjoy.
New J-Zone 7" Single: "Funky" b/w "Go Back To Sellin' Weed"
The half instrumental / half rap 7" series continues! The A-Side is self-explanatory, with funky drums for days. The B-Side is a plea for all the human toe jam of the music business and rap squeegeemen hustling CDs in Times Square to return to lives of crime and leave music alone. Rather you sell some weed than cheapen what many of us do with the utmost level of seriousness. Music ain't a hustle! Listen to both songs on Soundcloud below and click the buy link if you wish to have the wax in your collection. Or just get it on Bandcamp HERE if you don't need any convincing!
Full-length album, Fish-n-Grits, drops around April 1st.
In Memory of Edith "Evil E" Mumford
Rest in peace Grandma aka Evil E, my hero, my partner in crime, the cornerstone of Old Maid Entertainment and inspiration behind all I do. Thank you for helping to raise me and being my foundation. Your influence will live on as long as I do.
Love, your grandson.
SuperBlack: "White Privilege"
Redbone Capone (Drums, Vocals), White Thought (Production, Turntables), Moe Lotto (Bass and Guitar)
Just a taste of the upcoming album. I'll leave it up to y'all to figure out who's who!
J-Zone Interviews Legendary Drummer, Mike Clark
Mike is the man behind "God Made Me Funky," one of the most sampled drum breaks of all time, and the Oakland funk sound. Also discussed: Herbie Hancock, the Headhunters, playing as the white guy in the Black Panthers' house band, Brand X, why he hated the Beatles in the 60s, Betty Davis and more. I took a lesson from him once - he's the real deal with a great story. Enjoy!
J-Zone Interview on Open Mike Eagle's Secret Skin Podcast
Pretty candid interview I did with a fellow artist. I opened up to recording artist Open Mike Eagle about some of the dark years between leaving the music business in 2009 and returning in 2013. Essentially Scared Straight for aspiring artists and the stuff that made up the harshest moments in Root For The Villain, but hey, I'm still here!
J-Zone joins Questlove and Just Blaze at Mobile Mondays, NYC (1.11)!
Three DJ / drummers on one bill in celebration of Just Blaze's birthday. Anything is bound to happen.
Al Shid: "Clubba Lang" (Produced by J-Zone)
I rarely make beats for rappers anymore (because so many rappers are hardheaded, unreliable assholes), but my musical chemistry with long time Old Maid partner in rhyme, Al Shid, is pretty effortless. Here, we close out 2015 with some new brutality.
Enjoy Shid's latest, "Clubba Lang" - an ode to the brutal mindset of the greatest character in the Rocky series.
J-Zone: Backyard Breaks Promo Video
I shot a lil' promo video detailing the process of recording Backyard Breaks. Directed by Ricky Comuniello. Enjoy!
J-Zone: Backyard Breaks
I've returned to the (drum break record) fold with Backyard Breaks, a follow-up to my debut drum break LP, 2014’s Lunch Breaks. This 18-cut offering continues where its predecessor left off, but offers more variety in a smaller package. Where Lunch Breaks channeled the drum mojo of the late 1960s exclusively, Backyard Breaks explores a wider sonic timeline of drumming and recording. The late 1960s approach is revisited often, but this sophomore effort also captures the tighter, punchier and more focused sounds of the mid and late 1970s, as well as some of the less orthodox rhythms and fills from those eras, giving the sampling producer a mixture of sounds to work with. Percussionist Ray May adds congas to a handful of tracks to mix things up and capture the b-boy spirit, while more options in the way of mikes, drum kits, snares and cymbals – in addition to more head room with the recording levels for more producer control - make Backyard Breaks a well-rounded follow-up to its predecessor.
Between the recording of Lunch Breaks and Backyard Breaks, I've done studio drumming and sample replays for Danger Mouse, Marco Polo, RA the Rugged Man, Czarface (7L & Esoteric and Inspektah Deck), Apathy and many others, as well as providing drum tracks for film scores like CNN’s Fresh Dressed and the Stretch and Bobbito Documentary. Hopefully that means you dig the shit and can use it. I can't afford to sue anyone, so go ahead. If you make a fat check off one of my breaks, just hit me up and buy me a new drum kit or something.
If you want to preview before you buy, check out the entire record on Soundcloud HERE
Vinyl is limited to 500 units total. Buy one from my Bandcamp page and get a bonus (digital) break for free:Check the Backyard Breaks product page HERE
Buy the digital version at The Drum Broker HERE.
J-Zone, Pete Rock, Edan, Dan the Automator, Brand Nubian and others at Mobile Mondays (NYC) for Dante Ross' Annual Birthday Bash!
Now that's a line-up! Monday, October 19th at Bowery Electric, NYC. 45s only from us DJs...and a show from Brand Nubian. Celebrating another year with producer, A&R and all-around tastemaker, Dante Ross. Check the flyer for details.
J-Zone interviews his favorite drummer: "Funky" George Brown of Kool and the Gang
It's not too often you have a chance to sit down and discuss music with the musician who inspired you to play your instrument. But it happened last month, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. One of the most sampled drummers of all time, "Funky" George Brown of Kool and the Gang has had a major fan in me as a drummer, DJ, sampling producer and all-around music nerd/Kool and the Gang fanatic for over 25 years. We pretty much discuss it all in the interview, which just posted on Red Bull Music Academy:
New J-Zone 7" Single Out Now!
I figured I'd keep this series going for my creative sanity while I'm preparing other projects. "Seoul Power" is the instrumental (A) side; "I'm Sick Of Rap" is the vocal (B) side. Won't get into details, you listen and be the judge. The digital download also includes three bonus tracks: "Rap Is A Circus...And We Hope the Elephants Trample Everybody" (Featuring Chief Chinchilla and Swagmaster Bacon), the instrumental of "I'm Sick Of Rap" and a bonus/alternate version of the A-Side, "Seoul Dyn-O-Mite".
Stream the main two tracks from the 7" below on Soundcloud
J-Zone (on the wheels) at Kings County Saloon, Bushwick NYC (8.29)
In celebration of Pen Pals' album release, I'm closing the party with block-rocking, dance floor-igniting funk and soul at their party. The action goes down next Saturday, August 29. I'm on from 10PM till 2AM. I rarely DJ in New York anymore, so come on down. The joint is in Bushwick (Brooklyn). Flyer TBD.
The greasiest in funk and soul, as usual. Bring your dancing shoes.
J-Zone In NYC and Dallas
Summer is typically quiet for me. All my fall releases have been handed in to the pressing plants and my guest lecturer hat is off for a few months - nothing left to do but hit the practice room, the library, the studio and the road for a few spot dates. I have two of those this month. Catch me on the wheels:
7.21.15 @ El Cortez (17 Ingraham St., Brooklyn, NY) - Midnight set time
7.26.15 @ Three Links Deep Ellum for "Swapping Block" record swap (2704 Elm St., Dallas, TX) - 2PM - 6PM
The greasiest in funk and soul, as usual. Bring your dancing shoes.
New J-Zone Happenings For Fall 2015!
Here's what I have cooking for later in the year. Exact dates TBA. You can't plan anything around vinyl pressing plants and other third parties.
- Backyard Breaks, my 2nd drum break record and follow-up to Lunch Breaks.
- "Seoul Power" b/w "I'm Sick of Rap" 7" single.
- Possible mix tape and/or video from Super Black, my band with Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins. Album next year.
- A filthy space funk EP I recorded with guitarist Pablo Martin from Tom Tom Club. Our group is called The Du-Rites. We played all the instruments ourselves. God bless multi-tracking.
- Stuff I played drums on in various genres, plus the Stretch and Bobbito documentary.
On the writing front, hopefully some stuff I'm trying to finish for Ego Trip and my video interview series with fellow Westchester native, Elgin Swift, about under-appreciated rap albums of yesteryear called Buried Treasures. Both endeavors will hopefully give some of my favorite musicians more recognition.
That's all I've got for now.
J-Zone on The Cipher Podcast
An in depth 90-minute interview on the acclaimed podcast. I address every possible thing under the sun. Probably the most thorough interview I've ever done. Enjoy.
J-Zone Gigs: May 2015
Been in the studio a lot more than on the road, but I'll be spinning the best in funk and soul in Philly, Chicago and Cambridge/Boston this month. I'll have 45s and books for sale as well. Here's where I'll be:
05.02.15 - Brewerytown Beats (2710 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia)
Rockin' with the good people Skeme Richards of Hot Peas and Butta, Ox The Architect and KosherRican to celebrate new location for the record store. 5-10PM, but I may leave a bit early to catch some of the fight.
05.07.15 - East Room (2828 W. Medill Ave, Chicago)
Helping good friend DJ Rude One celebrate his birthday in style alongside PNS and RTC. 10PM-2AM
05.08.15 - The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago)
Getting busy on the set with the Soul Summit crew on a Friday night.
05.09.15 - Rodan (1530 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago)
DJ Rude One and I back at it for those who can't make Thursday's jam.
05.23.15 - The Middle East (472-480 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge)
I join Mr. Jason aka Frankensteez in my second visit to the Soulelujah! party.
J-Zone Instrumental Box Set: The Headband Years (1999-2006)
After random requests and some YouTube archiving, I decided to compile a lot of my old instrumentals from early in my career in one place. After ten straight hours of real time digitizing, file searching and digging through (size 13) shoe boxes, here are 70 instrumentals from my old catalog. My own records, beats I made for others, old MySpace-era instrumentals that were never readily available, etc. There are some obvious omissions (primarily from the Music For Tu Madre and A Bottle Of Whup Ass days), but DATs, Hi-8 tapes, beat up show vinyl, ADATS and Apogee CD-Rs are to blame for why I don't have a lot of that stuff anymore. I'm straight Bandcamping this one - no 3-D fancy record store day vinyl reissues, no iTunes, no Amazon, no Spotify.
Or you can stream and read more about the box set till your privileges run out.
J-Zone presents…"I Smell Smoke" b/w "Time For A Crime Wave" 7" Single
I guess it's time for the latest installment in my half-instrumental-half-rap 7" single series.
"I Smell Smoke" (Side A) is an up-tempo (by current standards) instrumental that employs some of my funkiest drumming, sloppiest organ playing (I try) and weirdest samples. Then my trainer from the gym (seriously) passed by the house with his conga drums, so we jammed and I threw that on the end of the record for people who dance and stuff.
On the b-side/rap cut, "Time For A Crime Wave," my sidekick, Chief Chinchilla, pressures me to address gentrification, police brutality and the music business over a beat I made while in a bad mood at 3AM. I strive harder and harder to make wanton misanthropy a high art form with each day I am alive, so I balance these records out with instrumental music to uphold my positive image.
Buy it on vinyl or digital download here (Bandcamp)
Or just listen to it and share it via Soundcloud:
J-Zone Talks Beginnings, Beats, Sampling, Drums and More in Learn From Legends Series
I was filmed a year ago for the Learn From Legends series. Legend I'm not, but I appreciate the call. I talk about my studio intern beginnings, my first album, old beats and the frustrations of learning a new instrument later in life. Shouts to Rodney Hazard, Andrew Kelley and crew. Give Rodney's joints a listen at victimvolunteer.com
J-Zone, Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins are Superblack!
No photo necessary - the headline says it all. I've finally gotten a chance to work at length with two talented cats I grew up studying and respecting greatly. So for the last year Prince Paul, Sacha Jenkins and I have been working on an album and it's finally done. Our group is called Superblack. Produced by Prince Paul, Sacha on bass, guitars and the brains behind it and me on vocals, drums and whichever instruments were needed during recording. More info coming soon, but check this Prince Paul audio interview from Conspiracy Worldwide Radio from mid-February where he gives up more details about the album.
Celebrity Cash Grab
I haven't been writing all that much as of late (if you exclude songs), but some of these Kickstarter campaigns are pretty annoying and it made me want to write an opinion piece about it. So I booted up my cracked copy of MS Word and dug in. Here's my new article at Medium/Cuepoint - give it a read.
J-Zone Lands First Official Film Score
That is if you exclude the porno (Asian Bang) and the soundtrack to the non-existent movie (To Love A Hooker) from 2006. Last year I worked with a team of fellow musicians and producers (Prince Paul, Sacha Jenkins and Noah Rubin) to score the original music for Fresh Dressed, a Jenkins-directed and Nas-produced doc on the evolution of hip-hop fashion. Fresh Dressed is currently screening at Sundance film festival and will air on CNN repeatedly this spring.
The film score is the first in a series of projects and endeavors I have planned for 2015, including the resumption of my limited 7" series (with "I Smell Smoke" b/w "Time For A Crime Wave"), a group called Superblack (alongside Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins), a drum break record to follow up Lunch Breaks and an instrumental project with K-Def, one of my all-time favorite producers. But I will mention those in greater detail as they are ready for consumption. That way, if I'm abducted by aliens and they never materialize in time, I won't look bogus.
J-Zone Crashes Ol' Dirty Sundays
I could go on about 2015 being my year and all that stuff, but I could also end up flipping burgers just as easily. So we'll take things slowly, one happening at a time. I'll be throwing down an incredibly funky, dirty, nasty, mean, pulsating all-45 DJ set for Ol' Dirty Sundays at Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on January 25th. 813 folks unite. Check the above flyer for additional details. Stay tuned for more gigs, more music and more news as the year rolls on.
J-Zone's Annual Free Drum Break Download + Discogs Feature
Following last year's tradition of giving up a drum break to download (for free or for a donation amount of your choice) for the holidays, I present "Lucky Strikes." Sample it, cut it up, whatever. If you donate something, it'll go towards a new ride cymbal or a couple of lessons…so I can make more breaks and/or become a better drummer!
Download (for free or your specified price) "Lucky Strikes" drum break on Bandcamp
And speaking of my recent foray into picking up drums, I was asked by Discogs.com to list five drummers who inspired me to learn a new instrument as an old man. Not easy to narrow it down to five, but I managed and you'll read about some bad ass drummers.
J-Zone Funk 45 Extravaganza on Beatminerz Radio
While folks trampled each other over flatscreen TVs on Black Friday (or boycotted from home and posted their reasons on Facebook), I was in Da Beatminerz' Brooklyn basement putting down a one hour funk 45 onslaught DJ set. It got really raggedy up in there.
J-Zone: Lunch Breaks Promo Video (Part 1)
ReDefinition Records released Lunch Breaks on vinyl last week. Vinyl ran out on my Bandcamp in less than an hour, but there's still a few tapes left there. Otherwise, it's got distribution, so pick it up at redefinitionrecords.com, ughh.com, hiphopdrumsamples.com or wherever you buy your records.
ReDef shot some video footage of me working on drum stuff behind the scenes and interviewed me about why I chose to pursue playing the drums at 35 years of age. I chronicle the two and a half years of hard work and research that followed and culminated in Lunch Breaks. Peep the video below.
J-Zone Storms The Middle East!
I'm bringing the funky 45s on a bus again…this time to Cambridge/Boston to rock the Soulelujah party. It's by far the funkiest night in town, so come check me out this Saturday.
"Mad Rap" Gets Official Video!
I have the lousiest YouTube presence of anyone in the modern music business. Never did like being on camera but we're in a visual age, so I'll meet the rest of the world halfway. My "Stick Up" b/w "Mad Rap" single just got a fresh pair of legs thanks to a wildly imaginative collage-style music video created by my talented friend, Kevin Young. And I'm barely in it. That's a win-win.
Some of you will note I have the same exact outfit on in all three of my existing music videos. As mentioned, I don't like being on camera, so I'd like to think of myself as the king of utilizing all available b-roll footage. But I do own multiple outfits. No, I'm serious.
New J-Zone 7" on iTunes + Zone Does Dub
For people without turntables (or people who use Serato), the "Stick Up" b/w "Mad Rap" 7" got a digital release this week (besides the Bandcamp download).
Check for the songs on Spotify, Amazon and similar sites as well.
And speaking of "Purchase," I hit the studio with my old college professor from Purchase College, dub artist Joe Ferry, to cook up the song "Highlife." I'm on vocals giving a partly autobiographical account of pain-killer addiction and life on the road as a musician. I also played live drums on the track, which was a challenge, but an education in different grooves.
Thanks to all who've supported the new single in one way or another.
J-Zone asks: "Can We Finally Bury the Word 'Hater'?"
It's been awhile since I did some serious writing, but here's a timely piece I penned for Cuepoint/Medium to tie in with the "Mad Rap" cut from my new single. I address quite possibly the most annoying and misused word in our modern vocabulary and challenge some of rap's biggest stars who are protected by the word. The piece won't change anyone's thinking or suddenly free up our opinions from the financially rooted chains of hatership - I just feel the elephant in the room has been ignored for too long.
And buy the new single ("Stick Up" b/w "Mad Rap") on limited edition 7" vinyl or digital download via Bandcamp HERE
Both songs will be available on iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets later this week.
New J-Zone 7" Single Out Now!
Following up 2013’s Peter Pan Syndrome and some recent collaborations with Broken Bells and Your Old Droog, I return with a 7” single of my own material to keep the funk flowing. “Stick Up” is a dirty, dusty instrumental that features me on the drums trading syncopated funk grooves with carnival-style Hammond organ in a stylistic nod to the beloved late ‘60s funk 45. The flip side, “Mad Rap,” is a vocal affair explaining why I hate the word “hater,” while calling out a handful of celebrities and the death of the unpopular opinion. “Mad Rap” would ruffle some feathers if I were actually rich, and it holds the distinction of being one of few non-comedic records in my catalog. Listen to and buy the limited edition (500 copies pressed) 45 or download it at my Bandcamp store.
J-Zone x Broken Bells (Part II)
Here's my remix for "Holding On For Life," another Broken Bells joint to follow up last week's "The Angel and The Fool." This one features me playing an old raggedy drum kit and an organ I bought from RJD2. I drove to Philly to buy the drum kit, then drove back a week later for the organ. Make all my time on the NJ Turnpike worth it and check it out, download it, whatever suits you best.
The remix just received an official premiere on OkayPlayer, so check it all out below. Also, catch Broken Bells on tour if you can - dates are listed along with the song in the link below.
J-Zone x Your Old Droog x Sacha Jenkins
Sacha Jenkins and I are 2/3 of a new group called Superblack (more on that later). We laid down some music for Brooklyn's Your Old Droog, who continues to be the talk of the rap world among those with good taste. The song is called "Secondhand Gunsmoke" and features me on live drums (channeling the spirit of Zigaboo Modeliste as best I can) and production, and Sacha Jenkins on guitar. Check "Secondhand Gunsmoke" out below.
J-Zone Remixes Broken Bells
I've always wanted an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work with artists outside the familiar rap vein - and I finally got it! I remixed some stuff for indie rock band Broken Bells' latest album, After the Disco, over the summer. The first of the two songs, "The Angel and the Fool," debuted today on Earmilk.com. Check it out below. Stay tuned for my remix of "Holding On For Life," which drops in the near future and features live drums and raggedy organ chords from yours truly.
J-Zone staying busy…with music!
It's hard to believe that four years ago, I had completely retired from making music. After a book, an album, some side projects and a realization that I couldn't find a job that paid a livable wage after five years of searching, I'm back to working on music. Here's a rundown of the stuff I have coming down the pike - from 45s of new J-Zone material to drum break records; to remixes for popular indie rock bands; to supplying music for major B-Boy battles.
- "Stick Up" b/w "Mad Rap" vinyl 7". Funky instrumental featuring me and my drum kit vs. the Hammond organ on Side A. Rap joint on which I address how much I hate the word "hater" on Side B. Drops in the next few weeks on Old Maid Entertainment. Scroll down to the previous update for a snippet.
- I did two remixes for indie rock band, Broken Bells. Should premiere some time this month on the Sony/Columbia blog.
- I produced and played live drums on a joint for that new-on-the-block, swift-rhymin' force that's got people who like real rap music excited, Your Old Droog. Should debut in the next few weeks.
- My Lunch Breaks drum break series drops on vinyl and cassette in mid-October on ReDef Records. Here's a snippet:
- I'm part of a new group called Superblack as rapper, drummer and part-time producer. More info on that group coming soon.
- I made a few original B-Boy breaks for this year's Red Bull BC1 Finals in October.
There's also some other stuff I'm waiting for confirmation on. I've also been trying to get the writing going again, so there may be some blog stuff in the near future if I can stay inspired. The writing hasn't really been there. Okay, that's' enough "I's."
Thanks to those who've supported my return to working on music.
A sneak preview of forthcoming J-Zone 7" single!
Just approved test press for my upcoming 7" single dropping this fall.
Peep the above Instagram video for a snippet of "Stick Up," an instrumental featuring me and my drum kit having a lil' duel with the Hammond organ. The flip side is called "Mad Rap," which features me dissing Russell Simmons, the L.A. Clippers and some other idiots. Stay tuned!
Follow J-Zone on Instagram
I had no choice. Remember that when you remind me I made a song called "Gadget Ho."
That's the name. Clips of new music stuff in the works, photos of my off the wall rap tape collection and drum stash…the works.
J-Zone lays down live drums for new LP from Saucy Lady
Boston's own (by way of Japan) multi-talented Saucy Lady just released her latest LP, Diversify, in Japan last week. The Japanese edition features yours truly laying down some live drums on the "Movin'" remix.Especially the CD - the packaging and design alone are worth the money.
J-Zone profiled on songlyrics.com
It's been dead silent 'round these parts - going completely off the grid for awhile is necessary sometimes. So while preparing for the next round of projects and practicing/honing my craft(s) like I'm 16 again, I present a murmur of press in an otherwise silent period. Here's a profile I got in the "Mr. Sandman" column on songlyrics.com for doing what I do best - being a rapper hardly anyone knows about!
J-Zone's 6 Favorite Drum Recordings; Lunch Breaks on vinyl coming soon!
Yes, I'm slowly getting back to writing...but only when inspired! To celebrate the release of Lunch Breaks, my 31-track drum break release, on vinyl, I present my six favorite recorded drum sounds of all time. I also give a glimpse into the arduous process of drum miking that I used to create Lunch Breaks.
More info on the Lunch Breaks vinyl coming soon. Buy the digital version of Lunch Breaks here
J-Zone's 'Lunch Breaks' Available Now at Drum Broker!
Following the positive response to the live drum stuff on Peter Pan Syndrome, I've hit the studio to lay down 31 dirty, funky, nasty grooves for your sampling pleasure. Drum kits and individual drums were bought, used and sold on a weekly basis to get a variety of sounds. I don't sue people for sampling me, so if you buy this package, go on and load 'em in. Just give me some credit if your record blows up.
J-Zone Picks His Sleeper Rap Cuts of 1994 at NME.com
Time to put the writer hat back on for a bit. It's been 20 years since I officially entered the music business as a junior in high school. And I'd never slight Illmatic or Ready to Die, but here are some of the more slept on tunes I was bumping at the time.
Read about it HERE
"Crib Issues" (Official Music Video)
My friend and videographer Kevin Young hooked up another brilliantly lo-fi music video for "Crib Issues" from my recent album, Peter Pan Syndrome. If you taped videos on VHS as a kid, enjoy old rap album art, have a serious hang-up about sleeping over other people's (filthy) houses and/or have an appreciation for mildly grotesque humor, you'll dig it. That means I made it strictly for myself…and if you happen to like it, good.
Enjoy the video…not available in 1080p
J-Zone's live, one hour, all-45 DJ set (audio and video)
Last weekend I ventured to Brooklyn to spin an hour's worth of really funky and soulful 45s in the basement studio of Da Beatminerz (DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Mr. Walt). It was freezing down there, that's why I'm looking ultra preppy, DJing in a Greg Brady collar shirt and a cashmere sweater.
It streamed live and was archived, so here's the video footage/sound:
Play it while you decorate your faux tree or something.
J-Zone re-creates "Substitution" breakbeat on the drum kit
Not perfect, but feel free to sample it, cut it up, whatever. Free download. (Or donate a buck or two to help finance this snare drum I need - so I can re-create more break beats!Download "Zonestitution" on Bandcamp
J-Zone plays "Rhythm Roulette" with Mass Appeal
The crew from Mass Appeal met me at Breakdown Records in Bayside Queens (my stomping ground) to select three random records blindfolded to take home and try to flip into a beat. See how I fared in the video below.
Peter Pan Press (Part Three)
As the year and the initial buzz for Peter Pan Syndrome wind down, here's the third (and final) round of press for it. Check the in depth and meticulously put together Fireside Chat / Red Bull interview and a couple of recent album reviews below.
J-Zone On the Wheels...and On the Mic!
In celebration of the release of my good friend Louis Logic's first album in seven years, I figured I'd rise to the occasion and get on stage (with mic in hand) for the first time in nearly as long. New York City, come boogie with us at Glasslands in Brooklyn on November 3. I will be bringing the infamous box of greasy funk 45s to DJ the event and keep the music flowing in addition to rocking a few cuts off Peter Pan Syndrome. Peep the flyer below for the slammin' full line up and other details.
Peter Pan Press (Part Two)
This is probably overkill, but if you're on this site you just might give a shit. Here's the second round of press for Peter Pan Syndrome. Overwhelmingly positive feedback, reviews, etc.; there are some interviews and artist features in here as well. Thanks to all for your support, from reviewers to those who bought the cassettes and flipped 'em for five times the price on eBay! Much love.
J-Zone's October Gigs
Catch me on the one and twos in NYC, Chicago and Boston this month.
10.14 @ Bowery Electric, NYC -
Mobile Mondays (with Prince Paul, Dante Ross, Max Glazer and the Mobile Mondays Crew)
10.18 @ The Owl, Chicago
10.19 @ Soul Summit, Chicago -
Double Door (with Supreme LaRock, Dave Mata, Sloppy White, Duke Grip)
10.31 @ Church, Boston
(with Porn Theatre Ushers and Frankensteez)
Peter Pan Press (Part One)
To my surprise, the album has gotten a good amount of high profile press. Positive or negative has never been the issue; I'm just glad some folks give enough of a shit to say something about a J-Zone album! In addition to the Bandcamp feature from a few weeks ago (scroll down to check that out), check out the recent action:
More to come. Stay tuned.
"Gadget Ho": J-Zone's First Music Video!
With the exception of interviews, beat making videos, cameos, single verses and videos of songs of mine using puppets, I've never had an official music video. Yes, after 15 years as an artist, I finally decided to film one to promote Peter Pan Syndrome. Shout out to Kevin Young and the crew in Charleston, SC for participating and making the shoot a lot of fun. Enjoy! And stop sending emoticons, suckers.
Peter Pan Syndrome Available on iTunes and Amazon Now!
So I guess this is the post I use to remind you that Peter Pan Syndrome is now officially out! That means you don't need a tape deck, CD player or knowledge of Bandcamp to support it.
Thank you to all who supported the album (and continue to do so). You (and your spending habits) are greatly appreciated!
It's Out! + J-Zone's Bandcamp Artist Feature
So it's finally out! You can buy Peter Pan Syndrome on CD or digital download in the J-Zone bandcamp store (to your left!). Tapes are sold out, as are both package deals. Thanks for your overwhelming support! That support also led to an artist feature on Bandcamp. Check it out here:
And for all who've asked: Yes, Peter Pan Syndrome will be released on double vinyl, sometime in October. I may do a super short run of tapes one last time for those who missed it. Album available on iTunes and Amazon this coming Tuesday (September 10th).
J-Zone in the Studio (Video)
You know I hate texting, still use a Walkman and have run a small business since 1999 without owning a printer; but did you know I'm also a Luddite when I'm working on music? Of course I am!
I don't shoot a lot of videos, but here's one of me in the studio during the making of my upcoming album, Peter Pan Syndrome, using the most raggedy, busted, broken, obsolete equipment I could find, including my two girlfriends (cassette decks), Betsy and Diana. I also played the drums wearing a carpal tunnel brace, used a constantly shedding, cheap-ass Ikea rug to muffle the studio and still use the computer monitor that probably came with the Commodore 64! It's all about limitations and mistakes. Perfection is for suckers.
Hear a 16-year-old J-Zone On One Of His Earliest Demos!
If you already missed the 5-song demo giveaway with the order of Peter Pan Syndrome...oops! But you can still enjoy one of them by checking out the Soundcloud player below. Recorded in 1993, it's just me, my SP-1200 and a raggedy turntable. I recorded in one take straight to cassette back then because I couldn't afford a reel to reel, so you line-for-line punch-in magicians have no excuse!
Peter Pan Syndrome Pre-Orders and Previews Begin!
It's that time. Not gonna write a drawn-out blurb; either you dig the album or you don't! Check out seven cuts from the album on the Soundcloud player above and place your pre-order in the Bandcamp store. Irreverence, the lampooning of all things sacred and status quo, foul language, funky beats, my live drumming chops (still in progress but hopefully one day will be there) and more.
Album is available on limited edition cassette (in two different shell colors) or CD with special bonus packages including my first demos from high school, the instrumentals for the album, free CDs from my back catalog and more! More to come. Release date is September 5th. iTunes release date is September 10th. Physical product ships August 30th. Vinyl of the album will be available in October. Enjoy.
Peter Pan Syndrome Album Cover
J-Zone Speaks on Upcoming Album, Adult Rap Life
New J-Zone Album To Be Released In September 2013
No, not a misprint. Don't ask, it's a long story, but I guess there's some truth to that artists never truly retiring thing. I'm putting the finishing touches on my eleventh album, which is also my first in five years and the first J-Zone solo album in nine years. (Yes, I handle most of the vocal duties, as well as the production, drumming and other little odds and ends.) Will not divulge the title yet, but look for it shortly after Labor Day and check the site in August for leaked songs and previews that will set the tone. Details on guests (the very few I have), album title, formats and any gigs that will go down in conjunction with the album release will slowly emerge over the course of the summer.
I will also be taking a brief hiatus from the pen, so unless something insane happens that I can't wait to lampoon on my Ego Trip blog, I'll be dedicating the summer to getting the album ready for release. Stay tuned.
Father's Day Special: J-Zone's Dad's Top 5 Favorite Rap Albums!
So in honor of Father's Day, my pops bumrushed my Ego Trip column to talk about his 5 favorite rap albums of all time. I can't make this shit up. And no, I didn't have anything to do with his choices, as bizarre as they are. One thing's for sure: he's a hip-hop head.
J-Zone in the Twin Cities!
Word to the midget formerly known as Prince, I will be on the wheels of steel this coming weekend for two parties in lovely Minneapolis. On Saturday, I will be at Ginger Hop (201 E. Hennepin Ave.) for The Back Spin party playing breaks and uptempo hip-hop oddities alongside resident DJs King Otto and Kevin Beacham. Sunday is the main event: Catch me laying down the funk 45s like a madman at Clubhouse Jager (923 Washington Ave. N) for The Good Thing, a funkafied patio party. I will also be making radio cameos on Kinda Cloudy Radio (KFAI) on Thursday and Rhymesayers Radio on Saturday. Let Google be your friend to find it. Flyer for Sunday's event above. See you there.
J-Zone Featured In New Movie About Getting Old In Hip-Hop
Look, I won't be getting my SAG card anytime soon, but I am one of many thirty-something hip-hop artists to be featured in an upcoming film called Adult Rappers. The plot? [Gasp] Getting old in hip-hop, aka Never Never Land.
Here's a funny outtake from the film featured on XXL.com in which my dad is interviewed about how I made out in my very, very brief stint in a traditional nine-to-five job.
The film is excellent and should be out in the fall. I'll have a new album out by then as well. Yeah, instead of creating a monster.com profile, I learned to play the drums in my 30s instead like a fool. If you're gonna avoid reality and embrace Peter Pan Syndrome, may as well do it full throttle until you wake up one day and it's too late to go to the other side. F**k it. When I show up at the Pearly Gates, I'll be there with a Jheri curl and an interesting story to tell.
J-Zone Celebrates Mother's Day with 10 Great (Crude) Rap Songs About Mamas
J-Zone's M.O.P. "Rugged Neva Smoove" Appreciation Post... and the Mystery of "1-5-4-Fuckin' 5"
I show love for one of my favorite rap groups of all time, M.O.P. - then play Columbo and try to decipher one of Billy Danze's hardest rhymes that has been shrouded in mystery for nearly 20 years!
J-Zone Makes a Beat! (Video)
I'm in the studio working on a new project and thebeeshine.com caught me in action. For all who dig my production and are interested in seeing a video of the process...Boom!
Accepting Rap's Generation Gap
Life on the road means sometimes you can't update in a timely manner. But better late than never. Here's a piece I posted on Ego Trip last week about...[gasp]...getting old in hip-hop and accepting the rap generation gap.
J-Zone and Large Professor in Ohio!
Attn: Ohioans - The legendary Large Pro and I will be on the turntables spinning some funky vinyl for your listening and dancing pleasure at Anabell's in Akron (784 W. Market St.) Saturday, March 16, 10PM-2AM. We'll be celebrating the birthday of Forrest Getemgump, a dear friend and serious record collector and DJ. $5 admission. Be there!
I wrote a eulogy for a rapper and album that actually changed my life over at Complex.com. Tim Dog R.I.P. (1967-2013)
So Valentine's Day is on Thursday. I don't mean to piss on anyone's parade, but here are my 25 favorite rap songs about love gone terribly wrong! Plus one honorable mention for good measure. Enjoy!
J-Zone's Freshco & Miz Appreciation Post / Freshco & Miz Documentary
Every so often there's a group that has all the tools and all the potential - then they disappear. Freshco & Miz was that group in 1990, and they inspired me as an aspiring rap participant so much that I ended up searching New York City from end to end for their nonexistent debut album. Read my appreciation post for the obscure, albeit highly skilled duo and check out World Supreme's hour-long documentary on these unsung heroes of hip-hop.
J-Zone talks money vs. art at Onion A.V. Club
Already getting a lot of responses on the interwebs, here's an interview I did with The Onion A.V. Club about some of my most grueling financial and professional moments as a musician. Funny, disturbing, discouraging and encouraging at the same time, it's long but worth a click.
Zone boards Bolt Buses, airplanes for December's live gigs
A long, long overdue vacation, life shit, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy... they all made for a quiet November on the music / writing / everything J-Zone-related front. But I'll be rocking a dance floor near you in December - well, maybe if you're on the east coast. Make-up dates, delayed release parties, the works. Here's the December schedule.
12/1 - Boston, MA @ Good Life with Mr. Jason.
All 45 set. Be there at 9:30 if you want to catch the action; I go on early.
12/12 - Washington D.C. @ Fever Bar and Lounge with Champion Sounds DJs.
All 45 set.10PM
12/13 - Washington D.C. @ 1920 D.C. with Champion Sounds DJs.
Hip-hop and ya don't stop! 10PM
12/17 - NYC @ Bowery Electric / Mobile Mondays with Prince Paul.
The official rescheduled release party for my 45.
12/22 - Akron, OH @ Anabelle's with DJ Boogie Blind. 10PM
J-Zone hits Chicago, NYC and Boston
I'll be on the decks throwing down some sets in the next few weeks in celebration of the 45 release. Laptop on one hand, box of 45s in the other. Catch me if you can. After this run, I go on vacation, something I haven't done in over a decade. So if this is the most recent update you see and we're in November...I wasn't abducted by aliens.
10.18 - Empire Liquors (Chicago)
w/ DJ Rude One and Shon Dervis - 10PM-2AM
10.19 - The Whistler (Chicago)
10.21 - Rodan (Chicago)
w/ DJ Rude One (Chicago 45 release party) - 10PM-2AM
10.21 - The Owl (Chicago)
on the late night - 2AM-4AM
10.29 - Bowery Electric (NYC)
w/ Prince Paul and The Mobile Mondays Crew (NYC 45 release party)
10.31 - Church (Boston)
w/ Mister Jason (Frankensteez Release Party / Halloween Jam) - 10PM-2AM
J-Zone's 15 Favorite 45s
Now that my 45 is out, it's time to pay homage to some 7"s that inspired me to put my latest brainfart in that format. Dirty, nasty, funky 45s. Bizarre, hilarious, psychedelic 45s. 45s I got off crackheads. They're all there.
J-Zone 45 shipping now, Sto' open for business
No music from yours truly in four years, but every once in a while I still get the urge. That said, I pressed up a limited run (500 units) of randomly colored vinyl 7"s of some stuff I've been working on. "The Drug Hunt (Remix)" (the A-Side) is a lil' uptempo instrumental, but I don't do drugs. A lot of people do, though. "The Fox Hunt" (the b-side) is a P.S.A. on dating pretty women in New York City from Breeze Brewin (of The Juggaknots) and yours truly. It also features cameos from the ever legendary Prince Paul and my man Oxygen. The verdict? Sometimes a fine woman ain't worth the hassle!
Buy this piece of wax at the now open for business J-Zone Sto' (or the banner at the top of the page will bring you there). Every so often I'll get random requests for J-Zone back catalog on vinyl or CD - I've just never had the gumption to put it up for sale. I figured I'd put whatever I have left in the Sto' and clear out my basement at the same time. Thanks to Jzanaught at blackwellspace designs, I finally have a marketplace for all this stuff. Out of print vinyl, CDs, books...knock yourselves out. But once it's gone, it's gone! The book is the only item that I will continue manufacturing if it goes out of stock.
Check out audio clips of all products in The Sto', but for the lazy, here are Soundcloud embeds of both sides of the 45. If you dig what you hear, "take youe ass to The Sto' wit' that!" (Ice Cube, 1991)
Check out audio clips of all products in The Sto', but for the lazy, here are Soundcloud embeds of both sides of the 45. If you dig what you hear, "take youe ass to The Sto' wit' that!" (Ice Cube, 1991)
P.S. - A "sto'" is a store, as pronounced by Ice Cube in his Jheri curl days - if you haven't deduced that already. Enjoy
J-Zone presents... 20 Great Rap Songs Under 2 minutes!
“Niggas wanna get up and rap and rap and rap and rap, man, fuck that!” – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
A note to rappers: Buy a stopwatch. Unless you’re Too $hort croaking a prostitute with a load of sperm, nobody wants to hear you rap for more than three minutes. The true indicator of good music is the rewind button. Click the link below to check out my latest piece at ego trip...and keep it brief, son.
J-Zone Talks Rap 12" Covers at Complex Magazine, Ego Trip
This week, the crew at Complex gave me a buzz and asked me to contribute to a piece on the 50 greatest rap 12" covers of all time. I talk art and go off on tangents, but there's never a dull moment.
And it wouldn't be right if I didn't represent for the home front (Ego Trip) - I followed up with a handful of personal favorite 12" covers that didn't make the Complex list. This gave me the chance to go obscure and ridiculous.
J-Zone presents...15 Shots to the (Cop's) Dome
Check out some of my favorite anti-police brutality records via my most recent appreciation post / list at Ego Trip. Noticeably absent from the list are classics by Brand Nubian, N.W.A. and Cypress Hill, but they were covered already in the list the good folks at Up North Trips blog posted awhile back.
J-Zone's Top 5 Possible Cases of Ghostwriting
Leave Nas alone. Enough ghostwriter talk. Only one Nas song can even be mentioned in the same sentence as the word ghostwriting, but there were 4 other cases of ghostwriting elsewhere in hip-hop that I always suspected.
J-Zone's "Mad Rap" Appreciation Post and Top 10 "Mad Rap Album" List
Is it me, or have rappers not been mad in almost 20 years? Anger has become the "cooties" of the modern rap world, meaning the era of pissed off rap albums is long gone. Despite a world that grows increasingly fucked up by the hour, insouciance and assimilation are the code of the day. The brothers aren't maaaaad anymore!
Chief Chinchilla & Ego Trip heckle rappers' furs
Anyone who actually followed my rap career knows I was known for wearing ratty fur coats on stage and for photo shoots. Well, over at Ego Trip the fellas wanted to discuss the best and worst notable previously living pieces of clothing in rap history. I wanted to contribute to the article, but I thought my sidekick, Chief Chinchilla (wink), would be a better candidate to ridicule (or give props to) the furs in question. P.E.T.A go to hell.
J-Zone talks rap tapes at StrictlyCassette.com
I know a lot about cassette tapes for a brother who's never been locked up. I continue with the knowledge for all my analog pimps and pimpettes out there.
J-Zone's 9 Favorite Shout Out Tracks of all time
Yo, the ampersat killed hip-hop, son. In one fell keystroke, our friend the @ joined forces with the death of liner notes to completely obliterate the sixth element of hip-hop from the hip-hop album – shout outs to your boys. The "shout out track" died of natural causes sometime in the mid-’90s, but looking back on this short-lived hip-hop album ritual, here are nine of the greatest album filler shout out tracks of all time (at Ego Trip).
J-Zone on Stay Hatin' Podcast
My trip to the Bay Area was a productive one: A serious throw down at the 45 sessions (shouts to DJ Platurn, E Da Boss, Mophono and the crew), the acquiring of some seriously funky 45s, a BBQ in East Oakland with the OGs from Captial Tax, a drumming session at the Hieroglyphics offices, words of wisdom from Tajai of Souls of Mischief, a cool in-store at Groove Merchant, and getting up with folks I haven't seen in years. But I was also a guest on the Stay Hatin' radio podcast with Matthew Africa, Serge Dun, and Soft Money. We let the comments fly on music old and new, in addition to speaking on random subjects like why I feel hip-house was better than rap-rock collaborations, MySpace pimpin', why Golden Era rappers are becoming the Vietnam veterans of the music business, and the sudden disappearance of the J-Zone Wikipedia page.
J-Zone hits the Bay Area - 45s and Books in tow
The last time I was in the Bay Area, I was (gasp)...rapping. It's been a long time coming, so I booked a trip with the intent on playing some funky 45s and doing some Root for the Villain promo. This is where I'll be.
07.19 - In-store / Root for the Villain book signing at Groove Merchant Records in San Francisco
07.20 - All-45 DJ set for The 45 Sessions at Disco Volante in Oakland
07.22 - All-45 DJ set in San Jose (TBA)
Further information can be found on flyers above. Hopefully I can find some Pooh-Man tapes out there.
J-Zone & Chief Chinchilla's Gators-n-Furs Mix Show Reunion! Free Download!
For those who actually remember and enjoyed these themed mix shows (which dropped monthly in 2007-08): Here's the random G&F reunion that happens every now and then.
This show's theme: Safe sex. After all, why spend hours at the gym preparing for summer when you're walking around with a sexually-transmitted gamma ray? Just a thought. From STDs to unwanted pregnancies, this show is the soundtrack to the irresponsible, painful, and scary (albeit hilarious at times) adventures of glove-less love. Strap up, y'all.
Oh, and this mix is on the new J-Zone Soundcloud page. Stay tuned to / follow it for upcoming music.
J-Zone pays tribute to Kool and the Gang at Mobile Mondays (7/9)!
It's no secret that Kool and the Gang are my favorite band of all time. Well, at least their first 12 or so albums. Hell, even their poppy, sanitized smashes of the '80s are catchy if that's what you're into. Anyway, I'll be DJing an all-45, all-Kool and the Gang tribute set on Monday, July 9th in NYC. Funky and FREE! Come through and check me out with the MM crew as we keep it Kool in the dead of summer. Details on the flyer above.
J-Zone + Hot Peats and Butta
My musical and literary journeys have afforded me opportunities in a wide variety of niches that are polar opposites to the tenth power. My adulation for "ign'ant" rap and all of its hyperbolic, tasteless attributes has gotten me magazine columns dedicated to Big Tymer$ and Project Pat records. On the flip side of the coin, my dual life as an unlikely funk 45 fan/collector and '60s/'70s TV junkie has gotten me hooked up with one of the most respected names in the field: Hot Peas and Butta. It's an honor to write and spin music for a posse that includes heavyweights like Skeme Richards, Supreme LaRock, DJ Amir, DJ Kamui, Chairman Mao, Monk One, Unkle Chip, and Cosmo Baker. I'll be sharing the dual decks with the crew in the near future, but for now, check out my column, "J-Zone's Tool Box." I'm in the midst of a review series on 45s from my favorite band of all time, Kool and the Gang.
J-Zone presents...Why Chris Brown and Drake Could Never Really Have "Beef"
Chris Brown and Drake have "beef?" How is that possible? R&B is dead and it's singers are soft for one key reason. Word to James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Big Red from The Five Heartbeats, Ike Turner, Michael Jackson, and every other singer who ever had a conk, perm, or Jheri curl.
J-Zone presents...Tim Dog's Official Online Dating Profile
With the creator of my favorite rap album of all time up on grand larceny charges and the subject of this Friday's episode of Dateline NBC, it's only right I imagine what Tim Dog's online dating profile looks like. For the unaware, Mr. Dog was busted for gaming wide and fried women out of their money in a Ponzi scheme disguised as a Kickstarter for his rap career. Tim Dog - salute!
J-Zone on Tacos & Chocolate Milk Podcast
An hour-long discussion about any and every thing under the sun between J-Zone and QN5 frontmen Tone Deff and Pack FM. That can only mean one thing - things get stupid! Root for the Villain, upcoming music projects, the ups and downs of the music business, killing animals as a child, f*ckable and unf*ckable celebrities...it's all there!
J-Zone presents...Miscegenation On Ya Station! 10 Raps About Interracial Relationships
Let's look at the Top 10 rap songs (and one honorable mention) to ever bumrush the subject of crashing a party on the other side of town and laying the pipe down and search for an answer. Yes, it gets interesting when love, lust, and race create a three car pile-up. Summer is here and love is in the air! But should you be careful of who you love? Click the link below to find out via my last entry at Ego Trip!
J-Zone presents... 5 Rap Songs Rick Ross Should Remake
New on J-Zone's Ego Trip blog! While the rap world was up in arms about Lupe Fiasco's remake of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's "T.R.O.Y." (and Pete Rock's disapproval of the remake), a thought occurred to me: Who would be best fit to cover classics from rap's "golden era"? Rick Ross in particular has a personality that would create an interesting marriage if paired with some rap cuts of yesteryear.
J-Zone plays Soundset Festival on May 27!
I'm honored to be rockin' the wheels of steel for this year's Soundset Festival. (Sorry, the fur coat has been declared a carcinogen and put to rest so I will NOT be rapping.) With names ranging from Atmosphere; to Raekwon and Ghostface; to DJ Premier; to Aesop Rock; to Lupe Fiasco and many, many, many more, it's one of the dopest hip-hop festivals around. It all goes down at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN - if you're in the mid-west (or love hip-hop enough to get your ass on a plane), come through and get a piece of the action!
For tickets and more info, check soundsetfestival.com
Peep the full line-up in the video above.
Rap Controversy: 20 Years Later
Now that we're 20 years away from the L.A. Riots and the most controversial hip-hop calendar year in its history, I've chosen 10 uber-inflamatory rap albums (a few of which are unintentionally hilarious) from 1992 (or on the cusp of '91 and '92), aka "the PMRC-era," and pose the question:
"Would they still be controversial if released in 2012?"
The Official Willie D: "F*ck Rodney King" Appreciation Post
On the heels of VH1's special on the L.A. Riots (and the 20 year anniversary of the riots themselves), I present an appreciation post for the greatest and most controversial song of the time frame (next to Ice-T's "Cop Killer," of course): Willie D's ""Rodney K" (aka "F*ck Rodney King"). Fuck all that sangin'!
Blame It On The Cover
Solid album, shitty cover. My picks for the 8 worst offenders from the "Golden Era."
The Return of Gator$-n-Fur$!
Well, at least this one time. Dazeddigital.com somehow coaxed Chief Chinchilla and I to reunite for a reunion mixshow - three and a half years after our falling out. The theme of this very special installment? The music biz, what else?! The ups, downs, highs, lows, and the pertinent question facing rap fans old and young today: What is a "hater?" I try to be diplomatic and respect the younger generation of hip-hop kids. But Chief ain't trying to hear that shit! Heads roll, people get dissed - you know how it is when Chief's on the set. This was fun, and hopefully we can tolerate each other enough to bring Gator$-n-Fur$ back to the people. Enjoy!
What if N.W.A Broke Up On Twitter?
After all this Mobb Deep Twitter drama / hoax shit, that's the question that randomly popped into my head yesterday. I tried to take four years of beef and squeeze it into 18 tweets. The whole load would've been blown in about 48 hours and rap history would've been quite bland if social media existed back then.
Shout to Brett Rollins at Ego Trip for the artwork. And the moral of this? If you have beef with another entertainer, don't set it off with a tweet. You look wack.
J-Zone in the Boston Phoenix - and in Boston
And to complete the New England experience, I'll be spinning alongside fellow obscure rap enthusiast Mister Jason on Saturday, April 14th, at the Good Life in Boston. I guess you can say it's a book release party - five months late! But when have I ever played by the rules? Above all, it's a party!
9PM til about 11:30 PM - then it goes Top 40! Come cop a book (if you haven't yet) and hear some funky tunes.
Good Life Bar
28 Kingston Street
Boston, MA 02111
J-Zone's Live Squad Appreciation Post
Ah, another nod to a controversial and largely forgotten NYC group from the golden era. I'm sure this is the stuff Tipper Gore lived to assassinate. And there's some audio from Live Squad's never officially released LP - the goodie bag mission continues.
J-Zone interview at Ruby Hornet
Here's a recent phone interview I did with Chicago-based rubyhornet.com. Transcribed, of course. Enjoy.
J-Zone presents...Diggin' in the Tapes: WNYU Demos '96
Alright, it's no obscure video of a baby Wu-Tang on Bronx public access TV. (That was a once in a lifetime find.) But going through my shoeboxes of tapes has again revealed something dope. I wear a size 13, so you know the box has room for plenty of jewels and the box is for a pair of Sauconys, so you know its contents go back. For all fans of Last Emperor, Natural Elements, and college students / indie rap fans in NYC circa 1996, check out some rare demos.
Root for the Villain on Chuck D's Twitter feed, in The Source, and more!
Accolades for the book are still rolling in, albeit at a senior citizen pace. To have your work acknowledged by your childhood heroes is always gratifying, but this was better than waking up to a snow day in the fifth grade.
The book was also given a brief (positive) review in the latest issue of The Source magazine (Issue #251, with Tyga, 2 Chains, and Mac Miller on the cover). Say what you will about that magazine, but as an avid reader and purchaser of it from 1991 to 1996, that fills a void in my heart.
Here are some links to recent online press:
As always, thanks for the continued support!
J-Zone's 10 Favorite Sample Flips
Long before all this book stuff, any notoriety I had was mainly due to beats I made. As a sampling producer, I appreciate not only crate-diggin', but putting in work and making the most of your records. I also appreciate the works of producers who never became household names, so to Sir Jinx, DJ Pooh, Bilal Bashir, Ced Gee, E-Swift, Markell Riley, and Uneek, my hat is tipped.
J-Zone's 20 Greatest Sex Rhymes
I see Cupid shot'cha in the ass again, huh? Fuck all that. Let's kill all the formalities and flowers. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is what truly motivates you to make those donations to Hallmark and that swank sushi spot with the $27 California rolls. Let's hear from some folks who understand that concept. I present to you my 20 greatest sex-related rap songs of all time. Happy Valentines Day…[insert Snoop Dogg in Baby Boy voice] "scrub."
J-Zone and his 45 Collection on 02.06.12 (in NYC)
How rare is it that I bring out my toolbox (courtesy of Home Depot's hardware section) of funk 45s? So rare that I never bought an official case for them, so bring your ass out to Bowery Electric on Monday, February 6th! From 9PM til 2AM, I'll join the Mobile Mondays Crew (Operator Emz, Joey C, Natasha Diggs, Miss Rebecca, and Snkr Joe) in bringing you the best in rare (and not so rare) grooves - the funk is on!
I'll also have copies of Root for the Villain for sale, so come cop a book and enjoy the music.
Mo' Beef: J-Zone's Favorite Obscure Diss Tracks
For rap O.G.s only!
So generational rap wars are the new thing now, huh? Yawn. Common fans will call Drake soft. Drake fans will call Common old and a "hater." Ice-T vs. Soulja Boy. KRS vs. Nelly. Lil Kim vs Nikki Minaj. What's next, Sister Souljah vs. Kreyshawn? (That'd be a good one, though.) The whole purpose of dissing someone is to show them up in front of one audience. That said, now that Root for the Villain is out, I'm back pushing the pen at Ego Trip... and my first boost of post-book motivation comes in the form of my favorite under the radar hip-hop diss tracks. You can call it "rare beef," if you will.
J-Zone: The Mathematician
Since Jay-Z reportedly stopped saying the word "bitch," J-Zone will carry the torch by explaining the making of his song "The Bum Bitch Ballad" - in math equations. For kids (it's censored) and folks with calculators only.
Root for the Villain makes SPIN Magazine and Soul Train's "Best Music
Books of 2011" lists
Yeah, I thought it was a hoax at first, too. My book, Root for the Villain, clocks in at #7 on SPIN Magazine's "Top 10 Best Music Books of 2011" list. It's in good company; I Want My MTV is also on the list. Click here to read the entry and a brief Q&A I did with SPIN.
The book also made Soul Train's Top Books list for 2011 (link). That accolade hit a special place in my heart because I used to watch Soul Train and figure out the scramble board long before the contestants did when I was a kid. I was hoping one day I'd get the free Jheri curl activator you received for doing the scramble board in an expeditious manner. Maybe they'll send me some so I can set this curl off right next summer. I WILL get a Jheri curl before I die, just to be an asshole. It's gonna hang in the back, too. Then I'm gonna remake this video.
Root for the Villain makes SPIN Magazine and Soul Train's "Best Music
Books of 2011" lists
Press for Root for the Villain is continuing to roll in. The more the better; I've run out of ways to convince you to give a shit! From The Onion A.V. Club to XXL Magazine, here's a third round of J-Zone book-related press.
Props in Twitterville
What do Questlove from The Roots, RJD2, W.W. Norton Books, and Atmosphere have in common? They actually have two things in common: They're all far more well known than I am and they all have publicly endorsed me and/or my book, Root for the Villain, on Twitter recently. I won't tell you to buy my book, but I'll tell you all four entities know what the hell they're talkin' 'bout!
Here's What They Think About You (Part Deux)
Book reviews and interviews continue to roll in for Root for the Villain. Order the book and stuff a stocking (or a Kindle) via the links at the top of the page. Find links to the latest J-Zone press in the L.A. Times, Complex Magazine, Examiner.com, and more below!
Scroll down for older press for the book. More to come!
No Vaseline: Here's what they think about you.
Now that my book is finally out on all formats (Kindle folks can now read digitized versions my analog stories – find links all methods of reading the book at the top of the page), here comes the feedback and press. From hip-hop blogs to The Boston Globe, Root for the Villain is showing up on a few desks and just may be more than something to balance a table leg.
HipHopDX.com (book review)
Beyond Race.com (book review)
TheRapUp.net (book review)
Chuck D's Rapstation.com (audio interview)
J-Zone on his 5 favorite Rap-A-Lot Records releases at Old to the New (interview)
Tim Dog Appreciation / Book synopsis at Just One Record (video interview)
Scott's Mindfield.com (interview)
Root for the Villain was also mentioned in this article in The Boston Globe (link) about Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" tour. I was interviewed for the article as well.
More to come – stay tuned!
Another Wasted Night
The fourth excerpt from Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure is for all who are socially homeless in a constantly changing, insular neighborhood-infested, and deceptively segregated NYC (despite NYC's bogus reputation as a "melting pot"). Don't let the 2011 remix of Brooklyn fool you. One hilarious night I had on the town explains it all. Or, maybe I'm just getting old!
P.S. - Heavy D and "Smokin" Joe Frazier, Rest in Peace. Your contributions to this world will never be forgotten.
Root for the Villain official pre-order begins now!
After weeks of last minute annoyances, British vs. U.S. punctuation rules (and their roles in copy editing hell at the 11th hour), and explaining why my book was technically available on Amazon but I hadn't said anything (all long stories), the time has come! Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure is officially available at the J-Zone store on Createspace.com and on Amazon.com now! Get your copy of my curmudgeonly, rap-inspired, bullshit-assailing tome today!
I'd like to thank all of my fellow cassette tape lovers and supportive readers that ordered their books directly from me / this site. The support showed yesterday was overwhelming. So overwhelming that I've run out of books and have to dub 57 sets (that's 114 tapes in total) of audiobooks by hand! (Please be patient, I'm doing this 24/7 and looking for another cassette deck.) Therefore, the book is only available via the above createspace and amazon stores at the moment. It will soon be available at sandboxautomatic.com, turntablelab.com, and other one-stop spots for hip-hop paraphernalia. The direct purchase option will be back very shortly; I'm waiting for more books to arrive. No need to bullshit y'all - I'm a one man operation over here and I've simply been stretched to capacity with the resources I've got. I'm human, shit! But I damn sure ain't complaining and ain't averse to busting my ass for the people! Stay tuned for more excerpts, the Kindle version of the book, and feedback from the press. Peace!
Root for the Villain: Slangin' Advance Copies
Official pre-orders (on Amazon, Createspace, and select websites) for my book begin very shortly, but I've always been one to undercut the system. For those interested in a signed copy of Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure straight from yours truly, I'm slangin' 'em in advance. I have to show love for those who appreciate cutting out the middle man.
And that's not all. I really didn't want to do an audiobook, but that the request of Prince Paul, I gave it a go. There's a catch, though. Root for the Villain's audio book is (double) cassette tape only and I only have 30 sets left (I gave my people in the tape appreciation community early dibs on my stash.) That means they're limited edition, so buy em fast, buy em slow, but once they're gone, there ain't no mo'!
Order your book or book + limited edition audiobook on cassette package below. Choose your shipping option, check out and you're done!
Root for the Villain (Book only)
ADVANCE COPIES SOLD OUT!!!
Personalized copy of the book, with one of only 50 copies of the limited edition, double cassette-only audiobook:
Scroll to updates below to read three excerpts from the book. If that ain't enough to convince your stodgy ass, check out this video. It's one part ode to my favorite rap album of all time (Tim Dog's Penicillin on Wax) and one part explanation of what Root for the Villain is all about.
Offical release date for the book is November 15. E-book will be available around that time as well. The war on bullshit begins! Root for the Villain.
Back on the Plantation: When Rappers Get Day Jobs
Third excerpt from Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure. What happens when your rap career ends and money is short? You go the Tim Dog route and juice a woman for comeback album money, you go the Hammer route and launch another search engine, you occupy Wall Street while you starve and freeze, or you (gulp) get a J-O-B!
Pre-ordrers for the book on Amazon, Create Space, or directly through J-Zone himself will begin next week...
Root for the Villain Excerpt: 5 Rap Songs That Got Me in Deep Shit
J-Zone was a well-behaved kid until he discovered rap music. 1990 was the year it all went downhill. A series of ass-whuppings from a girl, an attempted chain snatching, run-ins with knucklehead kids from across town, and other assorted debauchery that greased the wheels of puberty: They're all there. And they're all rap music's fault!
Stay tuned for more excerpts from Root for the Villain, J-Zone's forthcoming collection of off the wall memoirs and rants.
Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure
The back cover.
What do Danger Mouse, Prince Paul, and others have to say about me / and or my book? Read and find out!
Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure
Go Go Gadget Ho!
The first chapter leak from Root for the Villain deals with the "Gadget Ho". You know who he / she is, don't you? One of those cheese bus individuals sitting down at a club / lounge / house party that can't seem to stop texting, "LOL"ing, and emoticon-ing their way through the night. Even worse, zooming in close on an NYC street in Google Earth or Google Maps will reveal folks galore getting their "LOL" on while crossing the street. (I'm rooting for that approaching U-Haul truck to speed up and play a game of Frogger with the Gadget Ho.) I guess appearing interesting and disinterested at the same time (via cell phone) is the new alternative to wearing a taco meat chest-exposing button down shirt or an ass-enhancing mini-skirt. The "Huddle Ho", "Cosmo Ho", "Flash Ho", "Going at Level 2 on the Treadmill While Texting Ho", and the "Holiday (Gadget) Ho" (all of whom are cousins of the traditional Gadget Ho) are discussed in detail as well.
The chapter a bit long, but with all the time you spend on your iPhones, you'll live through it.
Self-publishing isn't an exact science, but I'm looking at an 11/1/11 release date for the book. More info and book content coming next week.
J-Zone: Pay Phone Pimpin' (Video)
Here's a new video / blurb I did on the efficiency of pay phone communication. All of this "LOL", "OMG", wink, all-day text shit gotta go. Pay Phone Pimpin is superior, because conversation holds more meaning when you're paying by the minute. Superman didn't change outfits in a T-Mobile store, either.
J-Zone interview on Flea Market Funk
I've probably done significant damage to my lungs by digging in OSHA-unapproved dumps for records over the last 24 years. Here's an interview I did with Flea Market Funk about record collecting, DJing, Jamaican fish patties, bullshit, and more!
J-Zone Interview (Audio) on Empty Threats Podcast
Bullshit day jobs, old school recording techniques, sampling drum machines of the 1990s, how the world in general has gone soft, and of course, J-Zone's upcoming book, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit and a Celebration of Failure - they're all explored in detail. J-Zone makes a phone-in appearance on the burgeoning and entertaining talk show / podcast, Empty Threats. Kick back and enjoy knowledge-dropping and shit-talking as Zone joins in on a round table rap with hosts Vanderslice and Greensteez (at the 33 minute mark).
Order in the court! We've just gotten wind of a rumor that the English language is taking rap(pers) to court for years of misuse and abuse, both accidentally and on purpose. This trial could get ugly, hold on to your thesaurus! Judge J-Zone presiding... let's see who wins in this grammatical standoff. Click the link to J-Zone's Ego Trip blog (below) for court side action!
What do Tim Dog, 70s cop shows, and Mob Style have in common? All three are under appreciated, misunderstood, or both. That makes them villainous and prime candidates for appreciation 'round these parts. Root for the Villain and its selected excerpts for preview have been slated for October and September, respectively, but I won't leave you hanging. Check some of these appreciation posts (along with other brain farts) on my Ego Trip blog to fulfill your J-Zone reading requirements in the interim.
J-Zone's Tim Dog appreciation post
J-Zone's '70s cop show appreciation post
J-Zone's Mob Style appreciation post
7 reasons why the remake of the movie Juice will never happen
J-Zone presents... Diggin in the (VHS) tapes: 1991 Wu-Tang footage
Apologies for the delayed book excerpts; I'm just trying to get things done with some regard for good timing for the first time in my career. Stay tuned...
I'll be publishing my first book, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure, this fall. Those who dug my grumpy old man tirades and general lampoonery from years past might enjoy this collection of curmudgeonly rants, hip-hop-inspired memoirs, humorous outlooks on failure, and think pieces on the general stupidity of the world at large in 2011.
• are over 30
• are a native New Yorker
• often wonder if men are the new women
• feel it's perfectly acceptable to wear a clip-on tie with Master P's face on it to a corporate job interview
• have a college degree that got you two choices in the real world: the broom or the mop
• had the opportunity to work with the legendary musical heroes of your childhood, then your broke ass got sued by one of them for copyright infringement
• stuck a fork in dating in America and are now looking into blow-up dolls due to their low maintenance, low noise level, and low cost (an air-body beats an airhead)
• were robbed for a fake gold chain in the early '90s
• had a music career that kind of went kaput, so you were forced to get a "real" job and fall back into "real world" protocol. It was then you learned that the hip-hop 401k does not exist. Better yet, nothing exists. The Baby Boomers took it all
• are sick of "couple accounts" on Facebook (Fellas, if you allow your girl to create one page for the both of you, her dick is bigger than yours. Furthermore, anyone over the age of 21 trying to "poke" me will be attacked with a Wiffle ball bat)
• still use a Walkman and collect records
• live with your hostile 87-year-old grandmother who passes gas 24/7, leaves her dentures on your bathroom sink, and disrupts pimpin' at the house
• were a hip-hop kid of the '90s and/or enjoy nostalgic music business stories from that era
• plan on entering the music business and want to read true accounts of how utterly dysfunctional and useless most of the people in it are
• are sick of hearing all this bourgeois "Eat, Pray, Love" bullshit on dates. I want NYC's crime rate to return to the 1990 statistics for a week; then you'll really be praying to travel someplace expensive to "find yourself". Shut the fuck up and stop whining
• hate incessant texting, emoticons, internet lingo from grown ass men and women (ROTFL, OMG and similar dreck), "Gadget Hoes", "Flash Hoes", and "Cosmo Hoes". (Note: If you come to the club solely to text all night or to ask me to take a picture of you and your raggedy bird-ass friends holding drinks, those last three terms apply to you)
• are a curmudgeon with an allergy to bullshit
• don't stand a chance in life doing anything that doesn't involve purchasing a Mister Softee ice cream truck, but truly believe that one day you will run for mayor and win…
This book is for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Root for the Villain is for 0.0002% of the world's population and will probably sell like it. It's my first attempt at publishing a book after having my work published in bits and pieces over the years, so pardon me while I figure this out on the fly. More info and chapter previews coming soon! In the meantime, check out other rants, appreciation posts, and cheapshots at the world at large on my Ego Trip blog
Serious inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org