Mr. J. Medeiros (The Procussions) - conducted by Angus Crawford
Mr. J. Medeiros (The Procussions)
It's hard for rappers to stay true these days, because, to paraphrase Ice Cube, staying true doesn't pay the fucking rent. Fortunately for fans (and unfortunate for himself) Mr. J. Medeiros knows only way to do things and that's be himself. No nicknames and no gimmicks. Like any true artist he puts his blood, sweat and tears into his work and couldn't care less about radio play or seeing his video on 106.
After speaking with him, I got the feeling that as long he can pay his bills and continues to tour the world, there is nothing Medeiros would rather be doing than Hip Hop (not rap, but Hip Hop). His song and video for "Constance" are look into the ugly world of human trafficking and child pornography and is suggested viewing for everyone (peep his website www.myspace.com/mrjmedeiros to see). Passion cannot be faked and with each sentence, Mr. J. exudes that passion for his music, his friend's music, hip hop, and humanity.
Mr. J. Medeiros: I'm in my apartment in Los Angeles.
MVRemix: Oh okay, you live in L.A. now. You're originally from Colorado, right.
Mr. J. Medeiros: I'm originally from Colorado. It's kind of weird, you know what, but I claim dual citizenship. I'm from Colorado but I was born of two very very East Coast parents, so I claim Rhode Island too.
MVRemix: So let's talk about this album. You've been busy, right?
Mr. J. Medeiros: I've been a little busy, it comes out July 24th. I wrote this album between the first and the second Procussions' album and I had a month to do it. Basically, we were touring 200 days a year and we were also recording our second album and I only had a month to do it, so I produced all the tracks and I wrote all the tracks, but, you know I've never had to produce a track that I rapped on. I've always been a producer even before Stro got into the game and came into The Procussions but I never did as much as Stro did it. When Stro got into the group, his production skills are amazing; to me personally I think he is an amazing producer, so he produced all The Procussions' materials and so I was a little insecure about it [producing the album himself]. To be honest I had 14 tracks I produced and I when I recorded it all with my production, I got really insecure, so I took a lot of the tracks and sent my acapellas to my homeboys like Ill Mind, S1, Stro, Headnotic, Joey B., Omega Wattz, Marty James and 20syl from France who is an amazing producer for this group called Hocus Pocus. It's funny though because then people would be calling me and be like who did "Constance", and I'd be like, "I did that track".
Mr. J. Medeiros: I was like what. And then they like "What about ‘Keep Pace'" and I was like "I did that track" and then it was like "Silent Earth?", and I said "Oh, did that track". Now I'm like damn, I think I might try to put out an album with all my mixes, maybe people will dig it.
MVRemix: Yeah it seemed like you had a hard time picking beats. I think you have four remixes on there.
Mr. J. Medeiros: Yeah man I did, I got four remixes. A lot of those things that come off as originals are actually redone, like "Strangers" ‘Stro did and I had originally done the track I but gave the acapella to ‘Stro and ‘Stro gave a whole new life to it that I liked.
MVRemix: So you said that you did a lot of this album before 5 Sparrows. It sounds a little different than the Procussions.
Mr. J. Medeiros: Yeah I think it is different. Being in a group you share everything, you share your money, you share an apartment, you share a hotel room, you share the stage, you share the energy, you share the time in a song and you share the subject matter. We're all different from each other and I think that's what makes the Procussions good. I think our main focus is on the show, we do music so that we can put on a good show. We love doing live performances, we love seeing people sweat and have a good time. We do want to have content, but content is molded into the show. I think on my side, I want to do something content based and then worry about the show afterward. And there was some things that really wouldn't fit on the album.
MVRemix: "Little People" sounds like something, from a Procussions album that could be on this album.
Mr. J. Medeiros: Actually, you know what man, "Little People" was a song that I pushed for and wrote. Everyone writes their own lyrics but I said I wanted the content to be and then we did it and so yeah it actually is. A lot of 5 Sparrows...You know I was in this thing called AmeriCorp, which is like a domesticated PeaceCorp and I worked with people with developmental disabilities for four years and worked with Special Olympics and people who are considered "At Risk Youth" and did the tutoring and mentorship and worked with a women's rights group for a little while and I'm working on this human trafficking campaign and that's just a part of something I've grown into throughout life. It's not necessarily something that.... they [other members of the Procussions] are interested in but something that they have a heart for. Like Stro he's very into music and production and he cares very much for people but he doesn't get involved on that level, and because I'm involved on that level it really forms my heart and my pen to say things off those issues. That's more of my concern now and, as I get older too, I get less involved in just trying to put on a good show and more involved in really trying to create a strong content.
MVRemix: I want to talk about "Constance". That's my favorite song on the album.
Mr. J. Medeiros: Thank you my brother.
MVRemix: It's a really good song. So what inspired you to write that song?
Mr. J. Medeiros: Well, it's actually a true story. There's a lot of things that inspired me to write the song. It's not just a human trafficking issue though it's defined as human trafficking. Constance was a thirteen year old girl that was sold by her father to a man who was a human trafficker who used her to create child porn and to make money off of it. Child porn is a billion dollar industry. Pornography itself brings in more revenue than all the sports combined. It is a human trafficking issue but is also something that is bigger than that. I think that we live in a man-run society, obviously, and controlled by men. Hip hop is controlled and spoken for by men...When you look at hip hop music and most of it because it is man-run, it's putting women down below themselves, it's a misogynistic tone, it's this numb feeling about what a man is....True identities are being lost....The identity of man and the identity of women and both these are being displayed in "Constance". It's an important song, it's important for hip hop to do it, it's important for a male artist to speak about it because in general men are tired of the image we are being sold.
MVRemix: You mentioned that it's a male dominated industry, a male dominated world and think that's exemplified in the "Constance" song and video, because it's the father selling his daughter, the man videotaping her, and it's the other guy in the U.S. purchasing that video, so it's all men causing this. It kind reminded of...Have you seen that movie Babel?