Jesse Brown, alias JB is a talented and young New York-based rapper currently balancing pre-law in college with his passion for hiphop; and enjoying a growing fan base in his community and on the internet for his music. Although his family was originally from Brazil, JB was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he had humbling and exciting adventures growing up.
JB, a huge fan Kanye West, has been rapping as a hobby since high school but started to take it more seriously and publicly in the summer of 2009, when he dropped his first song ‘Clientele’ ft EazzY from Philadelphia. He already has two mixtapes out and the third, ‘The Red Album’ is expected to drop on January 19, 2011. After that project he will tour a bit before working on his debut album. He is an independent rapper under Takes6x Management currently looking at a few offers, to analyze what works best for him. “I’m on my Indie flow for now trying to sell out the venues and when the time is right, I’ll sign to the Label that’s going to give me the freedom I need and time I need to grow into my full potential,” comments the rapper.
Among the venues that JB is looking to sell out on his rise to the top is Ghana and Africa at large. He will be visiting Ghana during the Independence Day celebrations and would be looking forward to his first performances on African soil. An ambitious dream for an upstart rapper who would be competing to stay relevant to an audience that is used to music from the more established American acts, who ironically usually have no desire to reach the African market. I caught up with JB to find out what drives him to want to visit Africa and to find out more about his music and aspirations.
Ameyaw Debrah: How did growing up in New York influence your music?
I traveled a lot and most of it was done with me, my 2 sisters and my mom. I lived in Brooklyn, NY then Philadelphia, PA for a little before I moved out to Los Angeles, California where most of my growing up was done. I experienced not having everything I wanted and not eating some nights because my mom was a single parent and she had to keep a roof over my head. So I didn’t have “Game Boy Color” until it was out of style and things like that. So I talk about that in my music and also the things I dream of and experience now that I’m in a better situation. I always remind myself that I’m never going back to that life in my music – me or my family. I also tried to portray that energy and hope hn my music because I’m making something out of nothing, literally.
Ameyaw Debrah: What else inspires your rap?
I’m inspired by the fact that I’m involved directly with a culture that goes back years and years. And also with the hope that someone somewhere is going to listen to it and that person would be inspired to do something they’ve always dreamed of.
Ameyaw Debrah: What is your style of rap?
I don’t know if I could put myself in a style of rap. I like wordplay and stuff that makes people think a bit – something you could vibe to in your car on your way anywhere.
Ameyaw Debrah: Which artists influence your music?
Kanye is my favourite artist. He just has everything you want in an emcee and he challenges me to come harder on my lyrics. Also, Wiz Khalifa because of his ear for great samples and simply good music hands down!
Ameyaw Debrah: Who produces your music?
I work with a lot of Producers on my projects but my in-house is Bam3, Bryant Myers. He also has his own production company IMR8 so shout out to them; they’re really talented over there.
Ameyaw Debrah: Which song would you say gave you your ‘breakthrough’?
I think most of my songs on my last mixtape caught the attention of a lot of listeners because I just poured my soul into those lyrics and I didn’t rush the project so it came out really well and I’m happy with the outcome. So shout out to the supporters they’re the ones we should be thanking. This has already been a trying journey and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot but I found out a lot about myself and the people surrounding me. I made the proper adjustments and now I have the sickest manager and I just keep making music. I’m focused and I have goals to accomplish with less time than work. So Im always working yah know?
Ameyaw Debrah: Have you worked with any popular artists so far?
Young Dizzy is on my newest Mixtape and he’s affiliated with Grand Hustle with T.I and Young La and all of them down there. That’s my boy and he’s trying to find the right situation for himself but he’s really taken over the West Coast. The others I decided to save for my album so that people knew I was capable myself of making hits without really popular features.
Ameyaw Debrah: Your last mixtape was ‘More Awesome Shit’. Why that title?
Because my first EP was entitled ‘F*&^ You I’m Awesome’ and with that being said I was tired of people challenging my ability so my first one was a statement and ‘More Awesome Shit’ (DOWNLOAD MIXTAPE)was the follow up. It was pretty much stating that, here’s more music that you’re going to like and a lot of people caught on to my Awesome Movement and kept it afloat.
Ameyaw Debrah: What inspired the track “Long Awaited” and what did you mean when you said finally you are on your way to being famous?
For me, that was a statement song. To me, fame is a much smaller thing because I’m honoured for even 1 person to hear my songs. And if someone outside of my circles likes the song, then that’s BIG to me coming from where I’m from. I appreciate every little bit of support because it could disappear in an hour or even less. So to me, that is what ‘Famous’ means; and I’m well on my way to that.
Ameyaw Debrah: American hiphop is usually about money, sex and drugs. How much of that is real to you?
Well the money is one thing, but sex and drugs? (Laughs out loud) Those are things that I would say come with the territory of making good music and travelling everywhere. So it’s up to you to partake in the activities or be different. I try to stand outside of the fold and be different; some of my songs have emphasis on women but most have more substance.
Ameyaw Debrah: So what inspired your song ‘So in love’ who inspired that?
Well at the time it was a past relationship that I think about sometimes but I could never go back to. But I’m single now and taking every day at a time. I mean if it happens again I won’t be able to stop it, that’s fate.
Ameyaw Debrah: “I want the dead presidents to fucking raise me, praise me for the things I have done” was a line in ‘Get On My Level’. What’s your level?
Well it was more of a way demanding respect from people that doubted I would be able to go from just rapping sometimes in my dorm room to, well something similar to this – answering questions for a dope website like this one. Thumbs Up!
Ameyaw Debrah: Do you have any music videos out yet?
Not as of yet, but I will be shooting some videos for my fans when I get to Toronto at the end of January.
Ameyaw Debrah: How do you promote your music?
Most importantly I go out and spread CD’s whenever I can. I also give them out at shows, and the internet is a large tool for me. I’m always on twitter. www.twitter.com/_iamJB or updating my Facebook statuses and interacting with the very people that love my music.
Ameyaw Debrah: Musicians find themselves acting nowadays. Any plans to go into acting?
I have an animated character that I show on stage and when I’m not in front of everyone. But I’m content with putting on a show on stage. If the opportunity came then I wouldn’t say no.
Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the highlights for you so far?
Having the opportunity to record at DJ LAZYK Studio and talking to Billion Dollar Baby on the phone. He is the creator of the Wave movement from Harlem and has ties with French Montana. I have some big things coming up on the album so I don’t want to tell a lot. And actually getting a chance to put on a show in Africa will be the biggest thing, I’m too excited.
Ameyaw Debrah: What have been the challenges on your journey so far?
Dealing with and sifting through the people that are around only in your successful moments and dealing with promoters sometimes can be really hard. But I just pay extra attention to details and keep my circle small.
Ameyaw Debrah: Which of your songs are your favourite?
I think my favourite songs are the ones off the newest project. Its showing that I’m flourishing as an emcee and you’ll see why when I drop the tape.
Ameyaw Debrah: Are your familiar with Africa?
My close friend Ali is from Nigeria but that is as familiar as I get. I can’t wait to get there and partake in some of the culture and see all the cool things Africa has to offer.
Ameyaw Debrah: Are you familiar with any music or artists from Africa?
I’m currently researching Prophets of the City and I heard there’s an all female hip hop group called Godessa maybe I got the wrong name but I think the ideas awesome and I’m going to find out as much as possible. I love music and I love to read.
Ameyaw Debrah: Would you like to work with any African artists in the future?
I think that’s an awesome idea and I hope I can get in a studio session with a few, and attend some shows as well.
Ameyaw Debrah: What do you hope to achieve with your career in the next 5 years?
I hope to be involved in successful tours worldwide; have my own label and that would allow me to search for as many great artists who need their breakthroughs.
Top 5 songs at the moment
Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
Mezmorized – Wiz Khalifa
Crazy – Big Sean
And Tons of Kanye West Songs
Top 5 all time favourite songs
I Did It My Way – Jay-Z
Changes – 2 Pac
That Aint Me- Lil Wayne
Hi- Definition- Lupe Fiasco
Sky’s The limit- BIG
Top 5 all time favourite rappers?