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Jae Millz - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Jae Millz: Wanna Blow

November 2005

Jae Millz has been making the mixtape rounds for a couple of years now, solidifying his reputation and creating a buzz. He has entered his fair share of battles, left Warner to join Steve Rifkind's SRC label and is all set to finally set up his own label Wanna Blow with his debut album "Back To The Future." The album is set for release early 2006.

MVRemix: What's your first memory of Hip Hop?

Jae Millz: My first memory of Hip Hop man is just basically when I was young, you know - in New York City they had "Yo MTV Raps!" "Rap City," and Video Music Box an urban Hip Hop show showing the videos and everything. That's all I really remember. It wasn't really a rap thing for me at first, it was just the thing with the videos. The R&B thing was the R&B thing, your Keith Sweats, your Leverts, you had all of them and you still had your Kool G Rap's and your [Big Daddy] Kane's and all of them. It was just so different to everything else. You still had Prince and you still had Michael Jackson and Prince, but Hip Hop was in the hood. Like my Uncles and my Aunts and my Moms; they was on Hip Hop. They was on Salt N Pepa, and they was on Eric B and Rakim, they was on all of that. So just growing up, that's what I adapted to.

MVRemix: Who made you want to rap?

Jae Millz: It probably was when I hit my teenage years because I went to school for art - all through high school, junior high school, everything; I went to school for art. When I graduated from high school, I went to a school for artists and I had to take a test, put together a portfolio and everything. When I got to late 9th, 10th grade - I had been rhyming since the 8th grade but it was never nothin' serious... When I got to late 9th grade, one day we was in the lunch room and you know the cyphers, they're doin' it on the tables and there's the seniors rappin' - I just jumped in there and I wanted to rap. I wanted to test my skills out in front of everybody. Then I started rappin' and everybody was feelin' me, most of all the seniors. You've gotta remember, I was a young dude, I was fourteen years old and I've got seventeen year olds, eighteen year olds feelin' me and they the people in the school that all the chicks messin' with. They fresh, yadda, yadda, yadda - they the older dudes, so they kinda givin' us our style a little bit, we're the freshmen. Real talk. So just seein' how they embraced me and after that how they was rockin' with me, they was like "Yo, Millz" and they started calling me "Harlem." I was one of the only dudes from Harlem. I had a lot of Brooklyn cats, Bronx cats and Queens in my crews - there wasn't too many dudes from Harlem in art design, people will tell you, they used to call me "Harlem," all through school. That just kind of showed me there were people that really felt the same way I felt about what I was sayin'. I felt that I was kinda hot, but compared to B.I.G. and Pac and Nas and all of them, I was a nobody! But just seein' how they embraced me, that gave me inspiration that maybe I could do this, I might be able to appeal to the world.

MVRemix: How did the moniker Harlem change to Jae Millz?

Jae Millz: You know where Jae Millz came from? You know, when you young, you really wanna find a name for yourself. I don't think nobody really likes their name. Like B.I.G. name was Christopher, Jay-Z name was Sean, but his name was [laughing] Jay-Z - most people do like their names, you gotta look at Nas, Tupac, Cam, Ma$e or someone like that. These are just their names but I couldn't go with my name, it's like my name is crazy. So I really tried to figure out a name. I came up with all sort of little tag names. I was doin' art so I had my little graffiti thing goin' on with tag names, so I was comin' up with names, even puttin' them in my rhymes so how it sounds when I say the name in my raps but it wasn't gellin' too well. So I just really shortened my name, my name is Jarvis Mills so I took Jay (Jae) and Mills (Millz) and I'm like "I'm Jae Millz man." Most people wasn't callin' me Mills, they just started callin' me Millz because it was like Mills. I put the Z on the end, took the S off so they wouldn't sleep on me in the hood. They used to be like "Man, you ain't got none of that - you ain't never killed nobody." So they was just sleepin' on me, thinkin' I was a regular rapper and I ain't really have no skills.

MVRemix: You've said you named you LP "Back To The Future" because you believe "Hip Hop is missing Hip Hop" - can you expand on that?

Jae Millz: I just think that right now the love is gone. I just think that right now a lot of people is gettin' caught up in the fact that they just wanna get their paper. When they get their paper, they're just comfortable with puttin' out anything that's gonna get them some paper. There's no love. Like I was listenin' to Mister Cee earlier today on Hot 97 out here in New York and he got this show called the "Throwback At Noon" for like an hour he just play all commercial free, all ol' school. I'm talkin' 'bout Buckshot, Smif N Wessun, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One, Lords of the Underground. He be throwin' Das [EFX] on 'em, Kool G Rap on 'em. If you just sit and listen to the radio all day - you look at BET or MTV - after a while everything just sounds repetitive. Everybody got money, everybody got cars. Everybody'll kill you if you do somethin' to 'em. Everybody the iciest, their chain cost the most. They got the most carrots in their jewellery, the most chicks... There's no problem with that, I don't have no problem with that because even back in the days that's what a couple of rappers was about.

There's really no problem with it. Slick Rick was flamboyant, he wore a bunch of jewellery, but nobody hated on Slick Rick 'cause he was wearin' jewellery, 'cause that's what he was doin'. If Slick Rick was wearin' jewellery with bulletproof vests and he woulda took the patch off and put the sunglasses on and bandana on his head like he was about to kill someone... Nah, he was Ricky D. His whole career he was Ricky D, so people respected him for that. Now, you can't really identify with anybody, you don't know who you dealin' with 'cause they just look like the next person. I just wanted to bring Hip Hop back to Hip Hop man, bring a little more reality to it. Go crazy in the booth, switch your flow up, do a party song, do somethin' for the chicks... Do somethin' you can sit with your moms and listen to and feel confident about it not like you disrespectin' black women or somethin' like that. Still get lyrical, keep it Hip Hop, bounce on a beat - have fun wit ya words out there. If there's somethin' you wanna voice to the streets, let them know 'cause they buyin' into you because they wanna know who you are. They buyin' into that individual, it's just somethin' about them that make that person like them. So they gotta get somethin' that they buyin' into. That's what the back to the future thing is, it's like I'm givin' you all of me. I'm takin' you "Back To The Future," I'm takin' it back to '88, '89, '92 - all around that era. But I'm also gonna take you to 2012, 2013, 'cause I'ma be here for a while. This is my first album, this is my debut so there's a big meanin' behind the "Back To THe Future" thing.

MVRemix: How complete is the album?

Jae Millz: We was done with the album, but I'm officially on SRC now, so the album just got shifted from one group of people's hands to another group of people's hands. Right now we're in the transition of you know what, we're feelin' so good about the transition, we're feelin' so good about the project. We really feel like these people believe in us, not to say that nobody else believed in us but they just believed in us to a certain point and then the belief died out. I don't think the belief with Steve Rifkind gon' die out. So we just feel good, we went back in the studio and did three new records as well as everything we got on the album right now. I've got Cool & Dre, I got my man Ron Brownz, he from Harlem - he did the "Who" joint. Amadeus, my man Omen is there... So I worked with big producers, I worked with regular producers. I worked with producers that are out there that I'm confident with and I'm killin' em. Also worked with T.I., Slim Thug, PSC. Also I got my man's Denim on a track, my man Akon did a joint for me and he on a joint with me. That's one of the few joined records I did, I just did a joint with Jada too. I think we gon' use that for the new Funkmaster Flex album, he got an album comin' out on Koch in December. So look out for the joint with me and Jadakiss on there, it's called "Bring It Back," it's a crazy club joint. The joint with me and Akon is called "Block Boys," that's gon' be a single. We workin' right now man, we grindin' it out. So basically, if you ask me the album is done. But everyday you wake up, you just get that feelin' to go out there and do somethin' so you never really know.

MVRemix: There have been a lot of changes with those that influential affiliates of yours have gone through recently. What are your thoughts on the situation with Ma$e signing with G-Unit?

Jae Millz: Real talk man, whatever that man wanna do, it's cool. He can do whatever he wanna do, but if you really wanna be honest and you wanna ask me - I don't think a lot of people are gonna have respect for him. Even when he first left, like I'm a dude from Harlem, and when he first left Harlem was kind of salty. They was kinda like, "He leavin'? Yo man, what you doin'? What you leavin' for? You leavin' for God?" And they kind of respected him. They saw him slip into the tune and he was really Pastor Mason Betha, so they was kinda like, "Maybe he's serious about it." So, he got a lot of people to follow him. Then there was a lot of people followin' his words, really believin' in him. Then when he came back to rap, after he had said, "Rap is the devil" and all that. Then he come back to rap and he put out an album and he's happy - we don't even know if he's a Pastor right now when "Welcome Back" came out. I don't even know what was goin' on. He seemed like he was positive in what he was doin'. So that situation went, and it's like now you with G-Unit? I don't really know the specifics of how everything is goin' on and how he's with G-Unit or yadda, yadda, yadda - but I don't know man. I really don't know.

MVRemix: You have Slim Thug on your album, now despite his independent success, his major label debut didn't do as well as he expected. What is it that you believe will get you passed that hurdle?

Jae Millz: I just think it's the reality man. People really like reality and adapt, I think people will really cling to that, and they recognize I'm a real dude. I'm not tryin' to front, I'm not tryin' to stunt, I'm not tryin' to get over. I ain't tryin' to sell you no fake story, it's me. Either you gonna take it or you not and all that, I'm still nice. I'm just bringin' people back to my world. I can't get into the fact if it don't work out, or yadda, yadda, yadda, I'm just gon' work. I'm just gon' work until I get over that hurdle. I don't know what gonna stop me, but whatever's gonna stop me, I'ma overcome it sooner or later.

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Jae Millz: [ponders] I would wanna fight Hulk Hogan.

MVRemix: Why?

Jae Millz: Because I grew up watchin' him disrespectin' and bodyslammin' people, I think he old now and I think I might have one up on him. I saw him in Miami at one of Puff's parties and when Hulk Hogan came in, he a big dude! I think I might have one up on Hulk Hogan man, real talk, that's word to Harlem.

MVRemix: Aside from the album do you have any other guest appearances or compilations you've been working on?

Jae Millz: I got a mixtape comin' out with DJ Drama from Atlanta, shout outs to the Affiliates. We got a Gangsta Grillz mixtape comin' out real soon for Ridin' Dirty in the Dirty. Like I said, I got T.I. on there, I got Slim Thug, PSC, Paul Wall, Webbie and Boosie, I got Pitbull on there. I'm tryin' to do somethin' with Bun B right now, reached out to Lil' Wayne and I'm about to get in the studio with Jeezy so we workin' it out. I'm grindin', I'm grindin' heavy out here right now. I'm headed right to the studio as we speak.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Jae Millz: I appreciate everybody for holdin' me down. I appreciate everybody for stickin' with me throughout the bullshit, the label switchin' and just everythin' that's been goin' on. First quarter "Back To The Future" will be out, I'm not gonna let y'all down, I'm not gon' switch the style up. I'm not goin' left on y'all. I'm keepin' it real Hip Hop man and I just want people to understand that. I'm not tryin' to just get no money out of this, I'm not tryin' to get no jewelry out of this. This is just my life. This is what I do and I really got love for this. So if you got love for this the way I got love for this then I love you and that's real talk right there. "Back To The Future 101" and my man Mysonne is comin' home real soon.

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"I was kinda hot, but compared to B.I.G. and Pac and Nas and all of them, I was a nobody! But just seein' how they embraced me, that gave me inspiration that maybe I could do this..."