Jin-terview: Q&A with Jin

Posted in Hip-hop, Jin, K-Lo, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna


Over the course of his rap career the 27-year old emcee has proven few are strong enough to take straight shots of Jin (pun intended). After gaining fame battling on the set of BET’s 106 & Park and MTV’s Fight Klub Jin has now stepped away from the battle arena. “I need to be focusing my energy elsewhere. Not on battling,” Jin explains. The emcee is currently working on a new album as well as film and television projects.

KLO: When did you start battling and what aspect of battling do you enjoy most?

JIN: When I first got into battling, I was about 13-14. By the age of 16-17 is when it became what my whole life revolved around. I think the greatest thing battling can do for an MC is help gain credibility. It’s about not just gaining respect from others, but also confirming with oneself you took that step and entered the arena. I like to think of it these days as a chapter of my life that was exciting and I learned lots from the whole experience.

KLO: You’ve been very active within the online community and realized its potential very early on. Your third official CD, I Promise, was sold exclusively through MySpace.com, what enabled you to make the bold move of an online only release at a time, 2006, where the Internet wasn’t nearly as influential as it is now? What are your thoughts on the Internet’s influence on the game now?

JIN: For me, the internet thing kinda happened organically. I remember early on, around the BET 106 and Park days, I’m talking about Youtube wasn’t even in the picture yet, everyone was on AOL and using the chatrooms. People saw it on TV… but then it (the battles) made it’s rounds on the internet and I naturally just proceeded accordingly with the transition. These days, there’s tons of outlets for artists and it’s almost at a point where if you have to establish some sort of internet presence to sustain.

KLO: You’ve dealt with major labels, went the indie rout and even started your own label Crafty Plugz, what are your thoughts of the industry right now? What would you recommend to aspiring artists shopping for a deal?

JIN: CraftyPlugz is actually the management company I started out with when I first moved to NY in 2001. Around 2005, when I parted ways with RuffRyders, me and my manager decided to transition CraftyPlugz into a independent label. Around 2007, me and my partner decided it was time to move as well. Since then, I’ve just been working with my new management, Catch Music. The industry now is like how the industry has always been. Different players, same game. I guess the biggest change is that more and more people are seeing the business model can no longer be run like it was back then. For aspiring artists, the most tangible and practical advice or better yet suggestion I would give them is D.I.Y. (do it yourself). When it’s time to evolve to the next level and it was meant to be, so it shall.

KLO: In January 2009, you released a mixtape in Hong Kong called Free Rap Mixtape under Universal Music Group Hong Kong. Are you still signed to that label? And when can we expect the next Jin mixtape/album?

JIN: Actually, the Free Rap Mixtape and what I had going on with Universal were two seperate things. The Free Rap Mixtape is something I did just as a Chinese New Year gift for the fans/people of Hong Kong. It was unique in the fact that it was my first ever mixtape in Cantonese. So it’s joints like me rhyming over “Live Your Life” by TI but in Cantonese. Different for me, I must say. As for Universal, how they came into play is, they released my first Cantonese album in Hong Kong in 2008, which is what brought me out there initially. As for new projects, I am focusing on a English and Cantonese album for this year.

KLO: Aside from music you’ve also been featured in movies such as 2 Fast 2 Furious and No Sleep Til Shanghai. Are you still pursuing an acting career or is your focus strictly on music?

JIN: The thing about Hong Kong is that ever since I’ve been here it’s been non-stop in terms of momentum and overall opportunities. Aside from the music projects, I’ve been able to do film, television, endorsement deals, etc. Stuff I always wanted to do but up until now, never really got the chance to. Which is exactly why Im so grateful/thankful for the Lord’s blessings in abundance.

KLO: In October 2009, you were set to battle West Coast Pit champion Dizaster of GrindTime. Despite back and forth videos on WSHH no battle eventuated. There were also rumors of you potentially battling 2-Time WRC winner “Illmaculate.” Do you plan on battling these two or any other rappers in the future?

JIN: It’s actually quite a simple situation. Diz challenged me. I wanted to challenge Illmac. We were all set to do it.. In the midst of figuring out behind the scenes details between my management and GT, it didn’t happen and fell thru. It was during that time that I made the biggest realization. That is, I need to be focusing my energy elsewhere. Not on battling. Not taking anything away from them two or what theyre doing with the league.

KLO: On a lighter note who are your top 5 favorite artist of all time and who are the top 5 up and coming artists you enjoy now?

JIN: Listing a top 5 artists of all time is a tough one. As far as influential.. MJ, LL, Wu Tang, Jay, Nas, Eminem. These days, I listen to quite a variety of stuff. I thank you all for taking the approximately 8-11 minutes to read all of this. God bless.

Be sure to check for Jin at http://ayojin.com/ & http://www.myspace.com/therealjin.


WQAQ on the Internet’s effect on music

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna

I got a chance to talk with some of WQAQ’s finest about how the Internet affects the way they consume music. Below is a short video that details the Internet’s importance to WQAQ, the Internet’s abundance of music and why you should still purchase music.

Prince EA Q & A

Posted in Hip-hop, K-Lo, Make SMART Cool, Prince EA, St. Louis with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna

St. Louis is synonymous in hip-hop circles with rappers like Nelly, Chingy, and the St. Lunatics. While partying, women and bling-bling are the focal points of their lyrical content, St. Louis’ newest and hottest emcee rhymes about something a little different. “I love science, religion, politics, and learning in general,” Prince EA claims.

KLO: You’re originally from St. Louis, Missouri. How have your origins influenced your music? Are there any St. Louis artists, in particular, that inspired you to pick up the mic?

Prince EA: I have always been a fan of Nelly. “Country Grammar” is one of the best Albums I have ever heard. My music is mostly inspired by East Coast (rap) though or that’s the box I’m usually placed in, because it’s so different from musicians in St. Louis. But I could never abandon the influence of my hometown.

KLO: Trying to become a rap star at this day in age is very difficult because of the state of the music industry, economy, and Internet. What were some of the struggles you experienced early on in your career?

Prince EA: As far as struggles, there were many. Getting the money to record, especially in a recession. Also, many people close to me doubted me, laughed at me, to the point of really depressing me. I didn’t stop though… and I’m still doing it big. Needless to say they’re supporting me 100 percent now.

KLO: What are your thoughts on the industry right now? What would you recommend to aspiring artists shopping for a deal? Has the feature in VIBE magazine help bolster your appeal?

Prince EA: The industry is in a bad place right now. Its going through a real transitional stage. I would advise an artist to do their thing independently and not rely on a label. Be self sufficient, labels are dying out as it is. Stay true to yourself and deals will come to you. Being in a nationally recognized magazine (VIBE) that BIG, Tupac and Jay Z have been featured in definitely looks good on a resume.

KLO: The content in your music is very diverse. You touch on things such as history, the Illuminati, women as well as a plethora of other topics. How would you define your content?

Prince EA: My content is me. I stay true to myself. I love science, religion, politics, and learning in general. But I’m a young dude too… so I like women haha. I also have a sense of humor which some of my more hard-nosed fans can’t understand. They want me to be angry and talk about conspiracy all the time but I try to explain to them that If you want one-dimensionality… that’s not me.

KLO: You are heavy on the Internet, your Youtube channel has a lot of hits, and you collaborate with a lot of popular artists in the online community. What are your thoughts on the Internet’s influence on the game now?

Prince EA: The internet is huge, without the internet I wouldn’t be where I am… I can safely say that. The internet has revolutionized the game in ways that are unprecedented. No one could have expected it to change the music industry in the ways it did. Giving out free music in today’s climate is a necessity.

KLO: What young artists in the game are you feeling right now? The “Forever Remix” was huge. Any future collaborations of that magnitude we should look out for?

Prince EA: As far as young artists… I’m feeling J Cole, Drake, Wale… a lot of the newer freshman rappers. They seem to have some substance and some lyrical content with them, which is essentially opening the door for me. As far as collaborations, just be on the look out… anything that I do is big. Hopefully me, Presto, Sick Since and Canibus can get an album together this summer and reach the masses with it. “Paranoid Chillin'” is the current title. I think that the project really has the potential to be huge. All of the artists are very talented emcees, and very acute intellects. It has really been a pleasure to work with them.

KLO: Let’s talk about the “BET Cypher” for a minute. Rumor has it that the spot Crown Royyal occupied originally belonged to you, but because some of your content was controversial to other rappers, you were not selected. What exactly went down?

Prince EA: As far as the BET Cypher, that was just a set back that I had to get over. Sometimes failures are blessings in disguise. Crown Royyal is a talented rapper and I don’t want to take anything away from him or trivialize his grind. He did his thing. I just think I couldv’e offered something a little more… entertaining.

KLO: Have you begun recording your debut album? Have you decided who will produce, collaborate or mix the album? When should we expect to see the first official Prince EA release on the shelves?

Prince EA: As far as my album, I’m not sure. I working on a mixtape right now and that’s my top priority. Ive got a lot of talented producers on it. My boy, Tech Supreme, D Scorchd, who are two talented producers from St. Louis., Zambo, Red Skull, Young K and a few other sick producers will most likely be on my album as well.

KLO: Any last words you’d like to say to the people & What is The “Make SMART Cool” Movement?

Prince EA: Make SMART Cool is a movement that I, Yousef Talib and Ericka Henderson birthed and raised. SMART is an acronym for Sophisticating Millions/Minds and Revolutionizing Thought. We’re bring intelligence back to hip hop, but the movement can be applicable to a persons life by just making smart decisions, and being involved in a unified group of like minded people bouncing creative thoughts off each other and spreading knowledge. The movement has really spread nation wide. We’ve been featured in various newspapers and soon TV. We also have merchandise that you can purchase from the site if you would like to support at www.makesmartcool.com.

The Drake Effect: “So Far Gone’s” Impact on the Industry

Posted in Drake, Hip-hop, K-Lo, So Far Gone on January 26, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna

With the recession and illegal downloading plaguing the record industry labels can not afford to take financial risks and develop a new artist. Labels are instead searching for artists with experience, polish and a proven track record of success.

Artists who release mixtapes have the same opportunity to have their songs played on the radio alongside songs produced from major label releases. Developing such a quality product on their own saves labels from overpaying for beats and allows them to use that extra money to assist artists in other ways.

The Internet and illegal downloading have forced both the artist and the industry to enhance the quality of their product. Aspiring rappers must have a much more impressive resume before heading to employers while labels must do more research before making risky signings.

The monetary struggles of the music industry have changed the way most major labels offer deals. Just a few years ago, labels would take roughly 87 percent of the income while paying the artists 12% of the money after the artist paid back the money spent on them from that 12% share.

Labels are now offering new artists 360 deals. Most 360 Deals share in endorsement income (15% to 30% depending on the artist), performance income (10% to 30% depending on the artist), merchandising income (20% to 50%) and Film/TV money (15% to 40%). Labels justify this taxation because they are working to establish, build and brand an artists career. But if a new artist were to approach a label with a steady fan base, quality music and production team one would not have to sign such a ludicrous contract.

Rap’s newest star, Drake, complied a disc of 16 songs, where he alternated between R&B and hip-hop. “So Far Gone,” featured original production from October’s Very Own, his team of producers and assistants, as well as features from Lil’ Wayne, Lloyd, Omarion and Bun B. Noah “40” Shebib, a member of October’s Very Own, produced six songs on the mixtapes and has since worked on projects for Lil’ Wayne and Alicia Keys.

Following in his mentor Lil’ Wayne’s footsteps he began to flood the internet with Drake material. His official fan site, All Things Fresh provided exclusive interviews, pictures and concert footage in order to keep fans up to date on his progress along the way. The mixtape, turned EP, eventually spawned the hit single Best I Ever Had which reached the number two spot on top of the Billboard 200. Drake eventually signed a very rare deal that provided him a 2 million dollar advance, major label distribution and the rights to all his publishing.

New artists need to generate their own buzz prior to searching for a major label deal. Their work must resemble the same quality of work you may hear on an album. Having a strong work ethic is also an ingredient to success. The internet has also resulted in a strong promotional outlet where rappers are provided the opportunity to keep their own buzz going by doing what they do best, releasing quality music.

While Drake has yet to release his first official studio album entitled Thank Me Later, he has already earned two Grammy  nominations for his hit single “Best I Ever Had.” According to Nielsen SoundScan, Drake’s offical mixtape turned EP, “So Far Gone,” has sold 344,000 copies in the United States.

If Thank Me Later sells well we may be looking the new blueprint for aspiring artists. While the internet may have seemed a threat to artists early on it may now be the best marketing tool artists have ever had.

I’ve created a monster!!!

Posted in Hip-hop, K-Lo on January 26, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna

After years of being on the sidelines I’ve decided to step into the game. As a fan of hip-hop I’ve read far too many blogs that showcase the average fan’s lack of true knowledge of the art form. Inspired by the XXLmag.com bloggers, popular blogs NahRight.com and rapradar.com I’ve decided to aid in the search of good music through a treacherous place we like to call the internet. My job is to make sure only the best content makes it from your iTunes to your iPod, so check back here every week for the best in new music and mixtapes. Don’t blame me if your recycle bin fills up faster then your iTunes!

Stunt 101

Posted in Hip-hop, K-Lo on January 26, 2010 by KLO - Young Tunna

The emergence of the internet has drastically changed the hip-hop landscape as we know it. With just the click of a button artists are able to upload new songs, mixtapes and music videos. Unfortunately this has allowed lesser talented artists to flood the net with junk, junk and more junk. That’s where I come in. Every week I will be posting a new mixtape and Q&A with the artist, making sure you enjoy only the finest hip-hop and R&B music the internet has to offer!