Josh Martinez - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
Living The Good Life
Josh Martinez makes reality music. While the term has been embraced by artists such as The Infamous Mobb and Screwball for their harsh depictions of the streets, Josh on the other hand, presents a reality that the everyday person can relate to. His latest release Midriff Music, a collaborative album with producer Samix of the Lost & Found Generation, continues this formula for the Vancouver native. MVRemix caught up with Josh after a brief stint of touring to discuss his new album, as well as his obsession with loose woman and cheap beer.
MVRemix: Let's just start with some background questions so fans can get to know you better. Where were you born and raised? What was it like growing up there over the years? What were you like as a youngin'?
Josh: Born in NYC, lived there until I was 12. I was kicked out the country for juvenile delinquency, moved to Halifax, NS, and became a man. Moved to Asia for a year in the middle of college to abandon the boredom, came back a better man and lived in Vancouver, BC for the last 5 years.
MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?
Josh: Buck 65, my Halifax brethren, had a radio show called the Bassment, which played all the brilliant Hip Hop sounds coming out of New York at the time, maybe 89-93. I got hooked via college radio, and listened religiously like all my boys on Tuesday nights to 97.5 CKDU the bassment. Then we all did acid and roamed the streets until morning listening to Brand Nubian and Diamond D almost forever.
MVRemix: What was the one album you constantly listened to growing up?
Josh: Tears for Fears, the album with shout, everybody wants to rule and Duran Duran especially wild boys and hungry like a wolf. Those records never left my folks turntable for years.
MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?
Josh: Accidentally. I listened to a lot of rap, and I wrote poetry. The two just kind of morphed into one during my second year of college when me and a bunch of my homies just started freestyling and beat boxing like we’d seen in videos. It was mostly a good way to channel the mushrooms or the acid into something constructive, and it certainly worked.
MVRemix: Take us through the journey of how you started to make a name for yourself locally - and then how you eventually branched out more to where you are today.
Josh: Continuous forward motion. I played anywhere and everywhere but especially outside my own city. Locally, I had the fortune of growing up in the Halifax Hip Hop scene, now seen worldwide, as a dominant influence in the growth of Hip Hop in its present form. With guys like buck 65, Sixtoo, DJ Moves, Gordski, Tachichi, The Goods and Scratch Bastid, there was way too many talented folks in one small area, all giving er balls at the same time, so it just proved lucky to be in the right place at the time. Eventually, the scene died down and most of the big boys moved away to find growth. Its what I’ve done, having moved to Vancouver 5 years ago to make my mark, and touring 200+ dates a year, if your any good, it’ll definitely bring improvement and growth.
MVRemix: Let's move onto your new album. What is the meaning behind the title Midriff Music?
Josh: Summer music, a good reason to drink and the return of the beautiful female skin from a long winter hibernation. It's music for heavy petting, short skirts and blindingly sexy midriffs. It’s a throwaway album meant to buy time, its more money in my pocket, it’s the beginning of the end.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Samix for this project?
Josh: My boy miles heard the beats from lost and found generation’s album and pushed ahead and got Samix and me hooked up via the internet. I’ve met him twice and both times I was worried I would have to stab him. He’s an immense bulk of a man and extremely prone to violence. Though he’s not to be trusted, he does make blatantly good music, though he’s lucky I haven’t killed him yet.
MVRemix: For those who have never heard your music, how would you describe your style and sound?
Josh: Grating, insipid and vile. Passive, invasive and smarmy. I’m the people’s champ for fuck’s sake, I’m fighting for you corn holes. If I have to get drunk just to write email interviews than so be it. My music is the new ESL, it’s the old SAT, its graded reviews or your every move, it’s the perfect compliment to a hand job.
MVRemix: What types of issues, concepts, and songs do you have on Midriff Music?
Josh: Everyday life, suffering, joy, beauty and sex. And substance abuse and its continuing role in my life. Again, this album is not necessarily personal, it's meant to reach and grab the listener and remind them of their own experience. Its what I’ve been able to do well and what I enjoy doing. A lot of folks love to write about themselves, where I feel its not really anyone’s business who I really am. It's why I lie all the time on record.
MVRemix: Overall, what is your main goal for this album?
Josh: Rent and time. This is a finished project but it is not a full album, which usually take me close to 3 years to finish. I needed something new to sell on the road and to keep folks knowing I was still working on solo stuff, but that I need more time to get the album I’m trying to get perfect. This will be my last solo album so it needs to count. Its current tentative title is “All my friends are rappers and we all think I’m awesome/Traditional Songwriting with Choruses”. A bit long but very important.
MVRemix: What has been the biggest headache you have had to deal with in this Hip Hop game?
Josh: Other rappers. What a bunch of putzes. Self-obsessed, fame driven dirt bags who need to wash their balls and write with passion. 25 years of rap and still we’ve got this desperate need to stay true to the 4 elements. I make music for the children, but I’ll never preach. The only thing I know is how to find an opinion and allow it room to grow.
MVRemix: As your bio states, you have become synonymous with loose woman and cheap beer. So which one would you rather have?
Josh: I’m more a fan of cheap women than loose beer, but in a fight I’d wallop a man with a loose beer over a cheap women any day.
MVRemix: Help our lonely readers out, what's the secret to scooping up loose woman?
Josh: Become a performer on a stage. Doesn’t matter what kind of stage, you can be standing on a milk crate with a fisher price echo mike. You can play the fucking triangle and still pick up. You just need drive. Also apparently haircuts are real in right now so getting an angled haircut and a jacket with studs in it is probably a good start.
MVRemix: When your not making music, drinking beer, and bangin hoes, what do you like to do?
Josh: Listen to rock music, watch movies and go camping in the islands and mountains of my adopted home, British Columbia. It's gorgeous out here and I’ll probably never leave.
MVRemix: What do you think about America in general? Are we that cocky, arrogant, and ignorant.
Josh: I’m a dual citizen so I can only complain so much. Americans, in the minority, are the greatest folks out there. But the reckless pursuit of individualism means that almost everyone I’ve ever met from the states in self-obsessed and oblivious to the geographical and historical realities of anywhere outside Ohio. Ignorant yes, but not arrogant unless you’re a redneck racist who happens to be running the government.
MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the future?
Josh: My live rock band, The Pissed Off WILD (or POW) is in the studio recording our debut full length and it will be the best shit ever. The Chicharones, composed of me and Sleep from oldominion, are fast on our way to becoming euro-stars, having signed to V2 for August 22/05 release of our new full length “When Pigs Fly”, which is already in high rotation
MVRemix: Any last words, shout outs, or plugs?
Josh: Go Steve Nash. Go Canada. Sleep’s solo album, “Christopher” is out May 31st on Upabove Records. Be sure to check that out. It's amazing. www.joshmartinez.ca
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"Other rappers. What a bunch of putzes. Self-obsessed, fame driven dirt bags who need to wash their balls and write with passion. 25 years of rap and still we’ve got this desperate need to stay true to the 4 elements..."