J. Lately Opens for Del, Soul Rebels, and Talib Kweli in Santa Cruz

J.Lately is a Sebastopol native who has been making music for years. With enough success to be on tour for a couple months out of the year, and open up for hip-hop legends such as Zion ITalib Kweli, and Slum Village, he seems to be at a steady pace in the marathon called “music.” J. Lately’s latest album, The Good Panda EP, is getting thousands of plays online, and his last tour made eleven stops throughout California, Washington, and Oregon.

Backstage at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, just outside the green room, in an enclosed cage-like patio, J. Lately and I discuss what it means to be a hip-hop artist in 2016. Around a small, dusty table, in the midst of weed smoke and soundcheck, I ask, “do you consider yourself an underground hip-hop artist?”

With a little hesitation, he smiles and says, “yeah, but I wouldn’t say that my goal was to be an underground hip-hop artist.”

“My goal is to make good music, music that a lot of people connect with.”

J. Lately says that this is the reason he does hip-hop. “As long as I am able to be successful, while doing what the fuck I want to do…” he pauses, “well, that’s all I really want.” He explains that his goals over the years have always included doing what he wants, comfortably. This humble notion is unique compared to the norm in music today. With commercial radio and reality TV, the perceived goal of hip-hop artists is to “pop bottles and make it rain.”

Sure, more spins on the radio feels great, and a few hundred views on YouTube is something to be excited about, but these goals are short-lived. Contentment lasts much longer.

With J. Lately’s next big showcase: The Lock Sessions Tour, with Locksmith. I ask, “What are you looking forward to the most in going back out on tour?”

“I get to study everyone I have the opportunity to be around,” says J. Lately.

If this wasn’t already a wise perspective, J. Lately continues by saying that he learns from other artists that he goes on tour with. And hypothetically speaking, if given the chance to work with a “Top 40 Artist” like Rihanna or Drake, he would make sure to adapt to their sound, without changing his.

Thinking of how versatile he could be, he cites a song by Rihanna called “Same Ol’ Mistakes” and says, “That’s my jam!”

Curious about his use of social media in today’s media-heavy society, I ask J. Lately if he uses technology to his advantage.

“Social media has definitely helped me in my career. The only way it has ever hurt me, is simply by the fact that everyone else has access to it too.” J. Lately continues, “I think a lot of people don’t understand that there are [many] ways to go about it… and it’s just about finding the way that works best for you.”

Fans want a real personal connection. And as a fan, I agree. J. Lately runs all his own social media and has an ample presence on all platforms. He credits his internet upkeep to the fact that he’s “always super anxious” and constantly thinking of things to post.

He also says, “It’s a great way to connect with fans while I’m on the road.” While it isn’t so much necessary as it is resourceful, he says that it’s a tool for fans too. He says, “If someone likes my stuff, and I’m coming to their city, I want them to know, so they can come out and support.”

“The best advice I ever got was from my basketball coach.” J. Lately paused, “He said that everyone is too scared to give one hundred percent because, if you give one hundred percent and you lose the game, then you know for sure the other team was better, but if you only give ninety percent, and you lose–well then we would never know who was better.”

He explains that some artists use this as an excuse. Many try to justify why they can’t give a hundred percent.  J. Lately says, “it’s just an easy out,” and by doing this, “you’re giving yourself less of a chance at becoming successful.”

Coming from someone who does full body stretches before his set, and performs happily under the weather, J. Lately is proof that underground hip-hop is thriving.  Not everyone makes it in the music industry, but with a few goals, some flexibility, and the willingness to go all out, some might get a taste of what it’s like to really do hip-hop in 2016.

Check out www.justlatelymusic.com for the latest on J. Lately, tour dates, music, merchandise, and more.

 

 

The Barhemian – “Stay Up All Night” Music Video

Check out my good friend and fellow KSJS DJ, The Barhemian, in his video “Stay Up All Night” with Young Savvy and Mejon. Produced by VonDaBanga. As previously recognized for his hit track, “Combo List” featuring Matty Slims and Zero Luck, this video showcases the well-rounded talent that’s cooking up in the 665. FUN FACT: Both times I saw this song performed live, I literally stayed up all night. S/O to the 2-6 AM shifts at KSJS!

Follow 665 MU$IC: @youngsavvy510 @thebarhemian @mejonmusic @donghohnation

The Barhemian on Soundcloud

Scholar Life Clothing
Keify Be Leafy Apparel

Chuuwee & Trizz – “Location Location” ft. Sahtyre Music Video

It was so dope to get to be a part of the making of this video! After a successful on-air interview with Chuuwee, Trizz and Sahtyre on LaTor’s show, The Marauder, we headed to Abeltron’s house to smoke a few blunts, as we usually do. The whole crew slide through, including Shiva Diva and StrongArm. We rolled up, put a few in the air , and before we even realized, we were all a part of this smoke sesh turned music video.

Other clips of the video were shot around the SJSU campus and surrounding streets. The Spartan Park & Ride even got a moment in the spotlight and Trizz rocked a SJSU hoodie. HUGE PROPS for giving  college radio so much love.

Go get AmeriKKKa’s Most Blunted 2, in stores NOW!

KSJS Keeps It WAVVY!

The Wave3_banner

Last Friday, Back Bar in downtown San Jose’s SoFa District was super lit. As host to the third rendition of The Wave, Open University and KSJS Hip-Hop packed the venue with over 250 people in attendance! With San Jose natives, Rey Res and City Shawn headlining this event, fans couldn’t have asked for a better performance.

To start the show, we had M-Ten and Thatfool Al.

Local artist, M-Ten killed it with his East San Jo vibe. If you are from the 408, you will definitely feel his flow, making references to street names and local bus routes. The song, “Around My Way” is my favorite and a perfect example of M-Ten’s San Jose style.

M-Ten: https://soundcloud.com/m-ten

Westacy Ent. was in the building, as they always are, supporting one another’s work. Fans got a surprise performance by Ziggy, who performed his hit song, “DreDay,” off his newest album, Hurry Up And Buy. Thatfool Al put on an energetic performance as well, performing several dope tracks. In a post-performance interview, Thatfool Al mentioned that he is working on a few projects. There isn’t an official release date yet, but he hinted that this summer will be wavy! Fans can check out westacy.com for updates, new music, and release information. When asked why he does what he does, Thatfool Al said, “I do it for the love, I do it for the art, I do it for he love of the art.” This stuck with me because it shows a certain level of appreciation for the underground music industry and the overall passion these artists have for their creations.

Thatfool Al: https://soundcloud.com/westacy

Ziggy: https://soundcloud.com/simplyziggy

Hitting the stage after was Dem One following Cola.

Cola rocked the stage in polka dot socks and godfather slippers like the swagalistic gangsta he is. His style is unique and his flow is fire. Some of my favorite songs are “Californication” and “From The Soil”. He also has a few projects in the works so stay tuned.

Cola: https://soundcloud.com/sodapapi

Dem One rocked his set, performing favorites like “Put Your Lighters Up”. Dem One has a fluid, positive vibe, and a developmental outlook on hip-hop. In an interview, Dem One said his set at The Wave was all about “keeping it turnt up, but keeping it revolutionary.” As an advocate for having meaning behind his lyrics, Dem One continues by emphasizing his efforts in “trying to keep it live and bumpin’, but also having a message in the music.”

Dem One: https://soundcloud.com/dem-one

Rexx Life Raj, out of Berkeley, has a number of songs on the KSJS rotation. Being the only out-of-towner on this set list, it was truly a pleasure to have him come all the way out to San Jose for this performance. Although Rexx has a growing fan base, and he resides a few cities away, he had everyone on their feet gigin’. The songs that fans anticipated the most were “Moxie Java” and “Gucci Mane (Sauce)”. It was such a delightful show. Rexx Life Raj’s upbeat melodies and funky beats are what make his songs so incredibly catchy. His latest album, Dreamland: Telegraph Ave. perfectly showcases Rex’s talent and creativity.

Rexx Life Raj: https://soundcloud.com/rexxliferaj

In case you’ve been sleeping on City Shawn, Forever II dropped last October and has been constantly in rotation on KSJS since. The energy in the crowd when City got on stage was stellar. Performing my personal favorites off Forever II, like “Drug Money” and “Keep Goin,” City Shawn had the whole crowd going nuts. He even played some of his older work like “Big Tymer” from Forever I. Long-time fans surely appreciated this and showed it in their vibes across the dance floor. This was, by far, my favorite performance of the night!

City Shawn: https://soundcloud.com/cityshawn

Rey Res put on a timeless performance. He hasn’t performed in his hometown of San Jose in over a year, making his highly anticipated appearance one to remember. He played classic bangers like “In The Cut,” and a many other well-known hits. Rey Res told fans to look forward to his new album called Sweet Tooth Tony, which is expected to drop this spring. You can check out reyres.com for all the latest updates and official release information. In our post-performance interview, Rey Res always showing love, said “KSJS is my folks” he said, “they been showing love for so many years!”

Rey Res: https://soundcloud.com/reyresmusic

On behalf of everyone at KSJS, a big huge thanks goes out to all the artists who support what we do and helped make The Wave such a memorable experience.

The man behind the scenes, Arman Mahmoudi, also known as StrongArm on the 90.5 FM dial, said in an interview, “since I’ve been at KSJS, I’ve put on at least 40 shows, and this one was by far the most successful one we’ve done yet.” With that being said, thank you to all who helped make this event possible! Big ups to the artists, promoters, supporters, fans, and everyone who came out. A special shout to the DJs, DJ Combsy and DJ Malcolm Lee. Cheers to the homies, KSJS’ very own, Shiva Diva and DEE-Traayn for hosting the event. And lastly, an immeasurable amount of gratitude to the man who organized it all, StrongArm.

Yeee!

The KRITically Acclaimed Tour

The 39 city, Kritically Acclaimed Tour made its way to the Bay Area, stopping by Slim’s in San Francisco on November 16th. Mississippi native, Big K.R.I.T., put on an energetic performance with special guests, BJ the Chicago Kid and Scotty ATL.

The southern rapper just dropped a mixtape last month called, It’s Better This Way, with tracks you may have heard on KSJS’ heavy rotation such as “No Static” ft. Warren G, “It’s Better This Way,” and “86”. Some of my personal favorites are, “Shakem Off” ft. Ludacris and K Camp, and “Piece on Chain”. Don’t take my word for it though, listen for yourself.

You can download the mixtape on datpiff.com (for free) here: It’s Better This Way

With the release of his last album Cadillactica in 2014, K.R.I.T. hasn’t been too involved in the live-music scene. Although there is absolutely no doubt he continues to create dope music behind the scenes, fans haven’t had a chance to see him live, which seemed to build up a high level of anticipation amongst his fans last Monday night at Slim’s, in The City.

Not only did he play tracks off Cadillactica and It’s Better This Way, but he even went as far back as K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) and 4eva N A Day (2012) which made the long-time fans in the crowd, like me, go insane.

It is not very often that my West Coast ears fancy an artist from somewhere other than California, but I have been a dedicated fan of Big K.R.I.T. for a while now. I appreciate his meaningful lyrics, alongside his obvious Outkast influence and funky beats, most in which K.R.I.T produces himself.

The last time I had the pleasure of seeing Big K.R.I.T. was at Rock The Bells in 2010, where he performed my favorite track off the K.R.I.T Wuz Here album, “Hometown Hero,” on the Paid Dues stage. From then until now, Big K.R.I.T. has not only greatly developed as an artist, but he has continued to prove to fans that underground hip hop really is better this way.

City Shawn’s Forever II Drops Friday 10/30

forever 2

City Shawn’s highly anticipated Forever II drops this Friday, 10/30/15. Side note: I might be the only one highly anticipating anything considering my reputation for underground knock and loud trees.

Anyways, some of the songs you can look forward to, but are already a few of my personal favorites are, “Keep Goin'” and “You Already Know (Prod. By DJ Fresh)”. A few of these tracks have been in the 90.5 KSJS rotation for a few weeks now, but don’t let that stop you from grabbing the complete album yourself.

Pre-order on iTunes here: Forever II

Last Friday, San Jose’s own, Breezy Excursion hosted an RSVP only, Listening Party to debut the album. It was lit, to say the least. Not only did the audience enjoy fresh new beats introduced by City Shawn himself, but it was a great opportunity for other artists, producers, promoters, DJs and people of similar sorts to network. With such an underground vibe, it was easy to talk to other people who are clearly into the same type of scene and crowd. It was such a promising event for anyone looking to collaborate.

Because of my involvement with KSJS, I got a chance to listen to the full album before its release (I just wanted to brag about that real quick)… But, let me be the first to tell you: don’t sleep on this!! City Shawn is straight reppin’ for all of San Jose.

Show Banga & J-Easie at Agenda Lounge

Last Friday, October 16th, Agenda Lounge in downtown San Jose, hosted a show for one of my favorite Bay Area rappers: Show Banga. He performed several of his latest hits such as, “Aww Sh*t” and “I Been That” off his latest album, Mayor 4 Life, which was released in this past April.

Opening up for Showy was an emerging new rapper named, J-Easie. J-Easie, from San Jose, kept it lit with some tight songs, and he even did a sick freestyle a cappella for the crowd. I got a chance to talk with him and he confessed that he is simply doing what he loves. Keep one ear open wide for more sounds from J-Easie and follow him on SoundCloud at: http://www.soundcloud.com/j-easie

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Murs’ Have a Nice Life Tour 2015

This month I was given the opportunity to see Murs at Slim’s in the beautiful city of San Francisco. On his “Have a Nice Life Tour 2015,” he performed with special guests, Red Pill and King Fantastic. Although he played a handful of new songs off his “Have A Nice Life” album, he definitely got the crowd moving with some of his classic, well known songs from albums like “Murs for President” and “¡MursDay!.” I have seen Murs several times at old-timer hip-hop events such as Paid Dues and Rock The Bells, but because of his incredible connection with the crowd, every performance of his is truly memorable. I always get overly excited to hear my favorite songs at shows, but when Murs performed “Dark Skinned White Girls,” it absolutely made my night.

Performances by Red Pill and King Fantastic were lyrically pleasing. Red Pill, who is out of Detroit, had some seriously dope flows. And King Fantastic from Los Angeles also kept the crowd hyped.

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Red PiIll and King Fantastic can be found on SoundCloud at:

www.soundcloud.com/redpillraps

www.soundcloud.com/kingfantastic

KSJS Presents: The Wave 2

The Back Bar (SoFa District) in San Jose, CA, was rockin’ on Friday, October 9th as several emerging artists teamed up for a spectacular event hosted by KSJS. KSJS is San Jose State University’s student-run radio station and it is the hub for Bay Area underground music. Artists on the lineup included:

Young Gully

Ziggy

Iyala (formerly known as sayknowledge)

Westacy Ent.

Craig White

The Barhemian

Andrew Bigs

Beejus

G.I.F.T.

Additionally, other performers and DJs hit the stage with their respected cliques and overall, the place was lit! Artists performed exciting new music, along with some of the slappers that have been in rotation the last few months. With the size of the venue and the particular crowd that showed support for this event, the vibe was receptive and enthusiastic.

Talking to people at The Wave 2, I learned that many supporters in attendance didn’t actually know of any of the artists, yet they were still standing, leaning and rocking to the beat. The flow of energy was so contagious that by the end of the night, everyone was walking away with at least one new favorite jam.

The Wave 2 is the second of many more shows to come that will showcase current and local underground artists. To hear about similar upcoming shows, listen to 90.5 KSJS regularly for upcoming dates and venue information. Stream KSJS live here: 90.5 KSJS San Jose–Listen LIve

To attend an event like this, you are not only supporting a local venue, but local artists and real local hip hop. It takes a tremendous effort on behalf of the artists, the organizers and the crowd to make this type of show a success! Feel free to search for these artists on SoundCloud or iTunes and show some love.

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