Pursuing a dream as big as this in an industry that is now designed to primarily feed the big dawgs is one of the most challenging missions an artist can conquer. Plain and simple, A&R’s and music execs are no longer interested in building careers to last. It’s all about breaking things down, exploiting artists, and getting money back by any means necessary. With all the deception and “politricks” in the way, sometimes the battle to be heard can get so discouraging that you will literally question yourself at times. Staying focused and not giving up is a battle within this battle itself. King Jamez is an artist with a plan and an education to back it up. The thought of an educated rapper that isn’t labeled as “conscious” is one that many people don’t imagine is real. However, there are more educated emcees and producers out there than we know. With 8 projects deep in the game, this independent heavyweight is not a newbie to this. He is a well seasoned artist that has put in overtime and grind to make it to his destination. One thing that we don’t hear enough of is rappers endorsing the benefits of a post secondary education. What does the rapper who has survived the trenches of academia have to say?
BK: What’s the move after graduation?
KJ: More traveling. I am expanding out to several different states and countries. I am cranking the campaign up and getting more into the music. I’m meeting more Dj’s and I have a lot more material coming. I’m about to turn up for-real.
BK: Artistwise, what has your growth been like before college to now?
KJ: Before college, I was putting in work doing the indie thing. The growth has really been financially and mentally. There were things that I was doing when I was younger that I’m not doing now. When I go and do a show, I do the show. I don’t go and bullsh*t and f*ck off. The image, branding, and material that’s being put out is all a growing process. When I first started, I felt like anything that I wrote, recorded, and spent my time one was about to HIT the wall FOR-REAL. I was like, ” Muh f*cka*’s gonna hear this sh*t”! Now, I’ve grown to a point where I realize that everything that I do may not be tight to everybody else or, it might not be what the fans want to hear. I learned to pick and choose.
BK: How are you connected to B.E.A.S.T Nation?
KJ: I am one of the founders of B.E.A.S.T Nation. It’s actually a family business. It started out as club promotions. That’s when we realized that in order to be successful in the music business, we had to be more hands-on. We started working in the streets and putting music out there and doing a lot of the work that most indie artist don’t do. An indie label was the next major move.
BK: When you say “family” do you mean actual family or close friends that serve as family?
KJ: Yea, my familly. we’re all from North Carolina. We got people out here that rock with us heavy. Me, Mayne, and O are blood cousins.
BK: How did you guys come up with the name B.E.A.S.T Nation
KJ: B.E.A.S.T Nation is actually an acronym for: Black Entrepreneurs Always Stand Tall. That’s always been the motto that we have lived by. That’s how we carry ourselves. B.E.A.S.T Nation is more than just a name, it’s a lifestyle.
BK: Over the last decade we have seen the trend of more artist buckin’ against the machine and opting to go Independent vs. Major. Why did you decide to go indie and would you ever consider going major?
KJ: I can’t say that I wouldn’t go major. I want to go major. They just gotta come with the MAJOR numbers. I’m not going to go for just anything. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just do this for money so you’d really have to convince me on this. This is my passion. I will do this regardless. I put the time, effort, and funds into this so, if I do decide to let you in on that or let your major organization in on that, we have to be talking the right numbers.
BK: Growing up, when was your first talent competition?
KJ: I was probably 15 years old. I was in High school (W. G. Enloe High School Raleigh, NC). It was a variety show. My homeboys and I performed a song that we wrote back at the time. We won 2nd place.
BK: Who were your musical influences?
KJ: Pac and Master P. My mother used to take all of my Tupac CD’s and give them to my dad. She used to throw away my Master P CD’s. She didn’t want me listening to it.
BK: Wow, how did your mother react when she found out that you decided to seriously pursue music?
KJ: When she found out that I wanted to do music, she wasn’t really surprised at that. She was surprised that I was really good at it. She actually did music herself.
BK: So Mom Dukes is supportive now?
KJ: Very supportive
BK: So you’re majoring in broadcasting. Explain the relationship between your major and your hustle.
KJ: The similarities…. Basically what I have been going to school for is what I plan to be doing in the music industry, which is broadcast myself through the airwaves. Whether that’s through music or Spoken word. Being on-air is how I plan to get my story out there. Going to school was the best move that I could have made for the simple fact that I got my education and a degree. Jobs are opening up in that field.
BK: What was your upbringing like?
KJ: My upbringing was good as
hell. My childhood was GREAT! I got to travel. I was born in Germany, lived in Florida, so I was right at the beach. Ft. Lauderdale, Miami… I have family all up through there. It was cool. There was always good weather, good vibes, and good food. Then, I went to North Carolina: the country. Everybody was cool. It’s always been a journey that never stops. I just keep going to different places, meeting new people. I enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has problems. Everyone goes through things. You just have to learn to be strong and fight through certain situations. Now, I haven’t always stayed in the suburbs. We stayed in the hood too. I choose not to rap about living in the hood and seeing drugs in every song. I plan on making “feel good music”: music that makes people feel good about themselves. When I write, that’s what I’m thinking in my mind. If I am going to talk about someone in the hood or someone that’s homeless, how can I make them feel good about themselves and want to do better. Let’s not glorify all of the negativity because someone else was successful off of doing that. Don’t get me wrong, everyone that lives in the hood or sells dope knows someone in the suburbs. It’s 2013….
BK: At the end of the day, what do you want people to take from King Jamez as an artist?
KJ: I want people to know that you can be YOU. You don’t need to flex or make up a character or gimmick to be successful in the music industry. Talk about what you know. Be who you are and see what happens. Be different. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing .
BK: Where is your fan-base mainly concentrated?
KJ: My major following is in the Southeast. North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, etc. My fan-base overseas is growing as well. My overseas fans hit me up all the time faithfully. I mean, DIE-HARD fans… They’ll hit me up saying, “We need more music” or ” I like this, I like that, Keep doing what you’re doing”.
BK: Have you ever caught the attention of a mainstream label?
KJ: My senior year of High School, I caught the attention of Warner Bros. It was cool. They wanted to hear my material. They checked out what I was doing. Big Daddy Kane was in the building. I got to meet him. It was great. I was 17.
BK: So, they were interested in signing you?
BK: What happened with that?
KJ: They went through my material. At the time, they liked it but they told me, I wasn’t quite where I needed to be. I needed a little more time in the game. I agree. The quality of what I was putting out then wasn’t quite there. I was recording everything in my bedroom.
BK: Wow, you got their attention though.
KJ: Hell yea, it was them bars and catchy a** hooks. I was doing my thing really heavy on Myspace. S/O to Myspace.
BK: For 2013 what all can we expect from King Jamez?
KJ: We’re about to take off. We’re out of there when I say, “take off” I mean take over the US region by region. Eventually the campaign will hit harder overseas. I’m about to be doing some more traveling. I’m going HAMM on that passport. We’re gonna put out more dope music and we’re going to get a dope response because I know the people are going to rock with it.
CHECK OUT KING JAMEZ LATEST VIDEO NO FLEX
More on King Jamez:
Booking: Jay 678-373-5656 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
official website: www.kingjamezonline.com
Special Thanks to Spen Effect Photography and VoltronProductions
Major S/O to King Jamez who will be graduating from the historic Clark Atlanta University Spring 2013 #SALUTE #SALUTE #SALUTE