With all of the empty talk flooding the airwaves, it can be hard to conceive that anyone has a legitimate story to tell. A rap artist who prides himself on focusing on true-life events and personal experiences in his rhymes, James Jr. despises the amount of “make-believe” scenarios crowding the modern rap scene.
Born in Tacoma, Wash. to psychologist parents, James Jr. hardly kept in one state for too long due to difficult economical times. From Tacoma to Richmond, Va. to Clarksdale, Miss. and finally the Blackhaven Zone of Memphis, Tenn., James Jr. grew up in some of the most dangerous cities in the United States. A good kid, he enjoyed playing baseball and basketball and spending time with his older brothers, but admits that some of the bad influences in the city ultimately influenced.
With his parents working hours away from home and later divorcing, his older brothers having kids while still young and fellow students being shot at high school football games, it’s not surprising that James Jr. took to some “street endeavors” during his youth. He learned to fend for himself in a city where his principal advised that students not cross the street into the “Dead Body Land” and where most people didn’t live past high school.
“Some people just whine and whine about hard times, when they don’t even come from difficult situations” says James Jr. “They never buried their cousin, never visited their mom in prison, never seen bounty hunters chase their brothers out the back door. Living in Blackhaven was bad. I’ve seen plenty.”
Now at the age of 25, James Jr. is set to release his debut album, “Intent 2 Distribute,” on August 25th.
On the record, James Jr. demonstrates his ability to provide original content and a variety of rap styles, from brick music to raps that tell stories to club bangers. He produced a majority of the beats and focused on his life’s stories.
“Everything on the record is personal. It all comes from me,” he says. “I’m not trying be nobody else. I’m not trying to look like nobody else, sound like nobody else, or talk like nobody else. I’ve definitely had enough life experience to fulfill an album. I don’t need nobody else’s stories.”
Most importantly to James Jr., the music on “Intent 2 Distribute” honestly reflects what he has experienced and avoids the phony themes present in a majority of mainstream rap music today.
“If you’re from the projects or if you’re from the hood, certain things should add up in the music, and a lot of it doesn’t,” says James Jr. “Some rappers talk about jewelry and making love, but not too many people walk around the projects with jewels on and nobody wants to make love in the hood.”
So with the intentional omission of phoniness, James Jr. is anxious to officially enter the rap world with his debut release alongside some of his favorite artists, including Pimp C, Cam’ron, and Master P. He’s not here to whine about the hard times and experiences he’s been through. James Jr. just wants to distribute reputable music, and he intends to do just that. “Music is hell, so you’re going to have to have some fun doing it.”