Thanks to HitHipHop.com I got to talk with Busta Rhymes Conglomerate triple threat J-Doe, who happens to be one of the most talented and down to earth people I’ve spoken to in a few years. I was a bit surprised at his credits prior to his catchy “Coke, Dope, Crack, Smack” record and more so impressed with his business acumen. Months after thia interview I caught up with him again backstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards just to notice his humble aura never left. I can only say that I know this is only the beginning for him and more great things will follow suit. Check the interview below and get some great advice too!
J-Doe..It’s The Conglomerate!
HitHipHop: First things first, let’s talk your “Coke, Dope, Crack, Smack” joint with Busta Rhymes. Explain how that song came together.
J Doe: Ah man, the creative process was actually very interesting on that record because I got that beat from somebody on Twitter. Somebody just hit me on Twitter and said “I got a beat for you.” He actually sent me three beats, but that was the only one that really stood out to me. So, the kid name “White Mike” sent me that beat, you know I did the song like a week later and I hadn’t listen to it. Like he sent it to me and I didn’t listen to it again after the first time I heard it until my studio session. In my session, I actually just on that song I didn’t write nothing. I just went in there and did line by line so I would come up with like one line and I would do it. Drop that line and then just keep listening until I came up with two or three more lines and do those. You know what I mean. It was just flow, it was a vibe song, it wasn’t like I was trying to rap the best verse of all time or come with the most incredible. It was just a dope beat.
HHH: How did you link up with Busta Rhymes?
JD: Well it’s crazy because I have been producing for probably twelve years now. I have done a few things as a producer with video games and TV shows, stuff like that. Then after I started producing, I started rapping so probably two or three years after I started producing I was rapping for nine years. Done a few things with that. I’ve been writing R & B like Pop records for probably three years and I’ve done more with that than everything else. So, how I ended up linking up with Busta, Jamie Foxx called and hit me and my boy Lonny to come through a session and write a hook for him. We’ve worked with Foxx on a lot of different things, like we wrote four or five songs on his last album. Different stuff that he works on, I just do a lot of music for Foxx, but he called me into the Busta Rhymes session to write the hook. When I went up there and wrote the hook, Busta liked it and he just kept calling me back. So, me and my boy Lonny had went and worked with Busta like three or four weeks straight after that one day with Foxx. After that he asked me if I did some artist stuff and I played him some of my stuff. I was working on my mixtape at the time, I played him my mixture and he liked it. And said “Hey I’m starting this label and I wanna sign you.” It just worked out to be that simple. I actually walked into that session, not even rapping I was just writing hooks for him on some singer s**t.
HHH: A lot of new crews are forming in Hip Hop like Young Money, Maybach Music Group, G.O.O.D Music. What do you bring to the Conglomerate?
JD: For the Conglomerate, there’s nobody that does what I do in none of those groups. Everybody has their niche and I stay in my lane and they stay in their lane or they don’t. However, they wanna do it, but my lane in the conglomerate, I’m a artist first. In this circle of the Conglomerate, I’m a artist first, a producer second and a writer third. So you know I do my song the “Coke, Dope, Crack Smack” record and you know me and Busta rap on that. I might produce a song for another artist that’s in the group Jazzy, I’ll make a beat for her, that she go write a song to. Then I’ll write a song for somebody that’s not even related for us. I most recently wrote three songs on the Ginuwine album that just came out last month. So I’m just mixed in wherever, typically you get a artist and he just raps, that’s just what he does or you’ll get a producer and he just produces and does just that. I kind of just been blessed to do all three things.
HHH: What is a typical day like for J-Doe?
JD: A typical day, it depends because I have a three month old son. So, it depends on if he’s staying at my house that day or not. If he’s at my house then I’m probably up at six or seven in the morning being a daddy. If he’s not then I’m sleeping until my phone starts ringing. Which is about ten in the morning and start answering people who need you know songs for this or emails for that, whatever the case. So first thing is usually get up and respond to email, text and missed calls, all that. From there I usually got a session everyday. Today I got a session at three, so that was good. I usually try to have them in the middle of the afternoon, so I can be out early at night. So a pretty usual day is if I don’t have to be with my boy then I’m in the studio session about two o’ clock in the afternoon. Working on somebody album or song or whatever. More than likely it’s a writing session, I don’t really have to many artist session or rapping session because those are the easiest. I probably do five sessions a week though, writing for different artists.
HHH: Well being a family man and having to juggle work, has there been any obstacles you had to overcome in order to get where you are today? If so can you explain?
JD: Well of course. This whole industry is a obstacle, you know what I mean. My first publishing deal, I’m still…well I just got into my second one. The most recent and most stand out moment that I could remember as an obstacle is I signed my first pub deal three years ago in 08′ or 09′ ’cause I had wrote a song called ‘Damaged‘ for this group called Danity Kane. So at the time when I wrote the song for Danity Kane I was in a writing group of two other people. So it was three people – collectively and none of us had a manager, no publisher, no lawyer or nothing. We just wrote a big hit for some group Diddy had signed and now all of a sudden we getting all these calls from different people you know. So, we ended up signing a deal that wasn’t as good as it could have been. We didn’t know much about it and we just grabbed a lawyer, any manager we could find pretty much and that didn’t work out. Over the last two out of the three years I had been pretty much trying to get out of that deal. I ended up getting out of that group, got out of the deal, but you know people tend to think you get your one big hit and then all of sudden it’s just gonna be overflow. Everybody’s gonna be calling you and asking you to write songs for whoever. That’s just not how it works, you get that one song and it’s time to work, but you can’t do it on your own. You got to have the right team, so I just had to learn that I had to build a good strategy, build a good team around me. A manager, lawyers and everything in that nature to make sure that we can get to the next person, get to the next artist. Now a days it’s not about writing good songs, you got to be in with the artist for the most part cause they ain’t accepting songs like they use to. Just off somebody emailing them a good song, that ain’t how it work. So, you know the obstacle is creating a team of people that want to work as hard as I want to work and get songs placed on new artists or artists that already have a substance you know.
HHH: So that’s what you mean you say the hardest thing about the music business isn’t the music, it’s the business. Can you explain that to some people who may not understand what you are referring to?
JD: Yeah, well partially that and partially because the business is political it’s not about music any more. Good songs are still hard to come by, but you don’t necessarily have a good song to make money anymore. They can put out anything, damn near and just pay for it to play on the radio. People will buy it eventually, you know because it’s playing so much, it’s brainwashing. Nobody in this industry can be cocky anymore unless you’ve been here for like Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Eminem long. These new kids, you get a hit, but they can replace you with no time. So it’s all political, songs that end up on artist’s albums is political. It’s not about who has the best record, it’s about who the artist wants on their album. So the hardest part is mixing with the right people, getting in the right crowd, getting with the right managing lawyer, even the writers that you surround yourself around. Will turn around and be what makes or breaks you. The business is tough it’s a twenty four hour job, all day you got to be working on trying to get the right people and getting the right stuff out to the right person to hear it.
HHH: Who are some of your musical influences?
JD: Oh wow, my musical influences are crazy. India Arie my favorite, John Legend my favorite, love them. None of my musical influences make music like I make though. Pastor Troy, Busta Rhymes obviously before I even met him I use to listen to a lot of his music. Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, I’ve been listening to Cee-Lo a lot of Cee-Lo. I’ve been listening to this new, not new lady, but new to me Sia she’s dope. David Banner, I work with David Banner a lot. He’s great, that’s a great influence. You know lots of people, mainly India, John Legend them two people are just incredible. Oh Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins. Swizz Beatz too, can’t forget about Swizz.
HHH: What do you think about the XXL Freshmen 2011 List?
JD: Man, I think it’s becoming easier to become a Freshmen every year, not to say nobody that’s on there don’t deserve it, but I am saying I haven’t heard much music from half the people on there. Half the people on there haven’t even released a single, and if they did, it didn’t make it to the radio out here, which doesn’t mean much because the Los Angeles radio ain’t worth 5 dollars, but the point is I haven’t heard that much music from them. And I log on to all the websites, I need to stay in tune with what’s going on. I know Kendrick Lamar’s music, love it, I know YG and Lil B, and for the most part everyone that’s on there, I just don’t think that anyone aside from YG and Kendrick Lamar deserve to be on the cover of the magazine. I’m not a editor though. I support hip hop so whoever’s on there, I’m happy for them. They just got make the most of it because every dog has their day. It’s your day to shine.
HHH: To wrap things up what can we expect from J-Doe in 2011?
JD: We about to shoot the ‘Coke, Dope, Crack, Smack‘ video in the next couple weeks. The song has been doing a lot more then we thought. The online buzz was expected but we’ve been getting a lot of radio play without really doing a radio push. So after the video drops we gon’ see how that works, if not we might follow that up with the release of my next mixtape, then we gon’ have Busta’s album come out. I also wrote some songs on this movie Foot Loose and the Step Up 2 movie. I also got 5 or 6 songs on David Banner’s album. I’m on The Game TV show, I did a lot of songs for that show. You’ll be hearing a lot of my music without even knowing it.
Interviewed by: Shiyana Bellamy
Conducted on March 7, 2011