J.U.I.C.E. conducted by Hugo Lunny  

J.U.I.C.E. Interview

October 2004

MVRemix: What's your creative process when you write? And are you always clear and sober when you do so?

J.U.I.C.E.: I try to touch on stuff that affects me. I try to do stuff that comedians do. I try to say stuff that people are thinking, but forget to say. That's what Jay-Z does. I think Eminem does that, I think Twista does that. These cats have the ability to say what you were thinking and you'd be like "Ah, I should've said that!" Big L used to do that. He would make stuff rhyme which was so ridiculous. You knew it rhymed; you just never put it together. That's kind of the goal from the rhyme side. From the creative side, I try to just talk about stuff that affects regular people. I don't really try to dig too deep. I think that a deep message can be lost some times if it's not delivered properly. Or you can deliver a deep message simply and it can work. My goal is to appeal to the common consumer. The underground is different. We've kind of got to touch below the surface, but when you're selling records - you first have to get people in and then show them who you are like Outkast did. It's so different from the first album.

And I'm generally clear and sober. I've had very few instances where I've been intoxicated or high - I don't really know how it feels to write in those zones. Sometimes in the studio when you're getting drunk, you write. But that's not typical for me. Generally I dig deep into the pad and I'm thoroughly aware of everything that I say when I say it. I haven't really had any instance... Maybe if I start fallin' off lyrically I'll get high all the time or something. I don't know. Haha.

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

J.U.I.C.E.: [ponders] I'm gonna have to say that I would fight Star Jones from the view because that would be a real difficult one for me to win. I think if I won that fight with Star Jones, I would have industry-wide respect because no one would expect for me to come on top. She's a little much to handle. I think I'd fight Star Jones. I'm callin' Star Jones out to a fight. Right here, on MV. I'm calling her out right now. If Star Jones or her husband... Nah, he's my size. I need somebody bigger. Star Jones or Kelly Price, if they wanna fight - I'm down. Any time in Chicago we can rent out the USC Pavilion in Chicago, move the furniture out the way and we can do this. [chuckles]

MVRemix: But didn't Kelly Price lose some weight? I thought she was a little smaller now...

J.U.I.C.E.: She is, but it's still gonna be tough. I'd probably have to fly you out here to make that happen if we were gonna beat her up. Nothing wrong with jumping a celebrity.

MVRemix: What do you do to relax?

J.U.I.C.E.: I'm learning how to relax. I'm not real good at it. Every time I try to relax, I get up. What do I do? This is gonna sound crazy, but I study philosophies of famous business people a lot. I study Bill Gates and Steve Forbes and Richard Branson. I study their philosophies because I'm intrigued with what they've achieved and I'm intrigued with the philosophies behind it. A lot of the corporate philosophies of maybe Pepsi or United Airlines, I study a lot of that. That really relaxes me because that's sort of where I'm tryin' to get my company. I think that when I look at true moguls, I don't look at a lot of music industry people... Besides Clive Davis and obviously Clive Calder who owns Zomba. There's not a lot of true moguls. $400 million is a lot of money, but Bill Gates has a boat that cost that. So it's relative to how much you have. I look at the Larry Flynt's, the Heffner's - the billionaires! I look at those cats because there's such a select group of them. I think it's intriguing for how that happened. So I try to study that and mesh that into my ideology... If I'm not doing that, I'm trying to go to Atlantic City or Vegas.

MVRemix: These days, which artists make you feel glad that a genre like rap exists?

J.U.I.C.E.: [ponders] I'll tell you I'm happy that Nas is still at a high level. It's very difficult to maintain that sort of career without smash radio hits for that long. It's over a decade and he's still in the game and he's still intricate with his flows. He's still a renaissance guy, I like him. Brother Ali... Brother Ali makes me feel like independent rap should be at a higher level. Brother Ali is one of my favourites. I listen to his album a lot. Jay-Z retiring... it bothers me a bit but I really don't see it being a permanent thing. I really think that when I drop a major label album, he's gonna drop one 'cause he's gonna have a reason to. Jadakiss - he's cracking the surface which I'm glad to see 'cause he got lyrics. He doesn't have many flow patterns, but he's got lyrics to the utmost degree and it's good to see him being rewarded with sales. It's good to see half a million to a million people purchasing his record. After that, there's really not too many cats that I'm feelin' on a continual basis. I like Juelz Santana a lot 'cause I don't think I was that good when I was that young. If he's really that young then he's pretty advanced. Not a lot of girls, I'm not feelin' a lot of girls.

MVRemix: The whole Jay-Z retirement thing is hard to buy because of his touring, he's on Slim Thug's new album set to drop in a couple of months. He's even in negotiations to become president of Def Jam...

J.U.I.C.E.: He's in negotiations for a lot of things. I honestly think from a business stand point, his position was - in order to further myself, I'm gonna have to resign from this venture that I helped create in order to foray into other stuff. I don't buy that for a second. When I hear him rap I think he has a few things he wants to say, but I think that there'll be certain factors that happen in the game. If there's a hot album drop, he's gonna feel like Apollo did in "Rocky III," he's gonna be like "I need to fight the Russian dude, I'm coming back into the ring," and I think that it'll be cool. That's what I think about his whole predicament. I don't see it as a long term thing. Oh, and I'm feelin' Talib Kweli too. A lot.

MVRemix: Do you remember the first movie you saw?

J.U.I.C.E.: Wow. No. You know what, I think the first movie I saw... And this doesn't count at home because when you watch movies at home, you don't know what they are. I think the first movie I saw with my mom was a black exploitation flick called "Superfly." I think that was the first movie I saw. I remember being young, and this woman on the screen had the biggest ass I'd ever seen in my life and I knew when I grew up that I wanted to see an ass like that near me. At an early age I knew I needed something like that near me. That movie let me know what a real thick woman was for. So I do remember the first movie I ever went to see, yes I do.

MVRemix: Aside from the album, do you have any guest appearances, collaborations or group projects that you're working on?

J.U.I.C.E.: Not a lot as of late. I used to do a lot on the independent level, and I thought I was keeping current while I was doing other things. But I realized that I might have been oversaturating a little bit. There was a J.U.I.C.E. guest cut on every piece of vinyl you could find, because I'm generally not the type of person to tell people, "No." I think it's an honour for them to request me on a song... even if they're not that great. But I'm realizing that you've got to kind of be a little bit more choosy about the guest spots you do. So I don't do as many. For that reason, its dropped off to near nil. I have other artists on my label that I want to put out but I think I have to be the springboard. It's all about J.U.I.C.E. right now with the album, the DVD and the second album - that's what the label's gonna gear up for and those are gonna be the springboards for everything else.

If they work, then I'll really be able to reach back to where my roots are and put a lot of people in a good position. I'm gonna flood the market with people like Mos [Def] and Talib [Kweli], and if they don't like it, then fine. I'm basically gonna employ No Limit's strategy of putting out a bunch of releases, but they're all quality music. Not that his music wasn't quality for its audience, but quality music from where I came from - from my genre; the underground hip hop genre. If we can get that ready for the major label scale, then I think I will have done something great. I will be the sacrificial lamb for the label. I'll be the underground cat that went commercial, but I think they'll say, "At least he helped out."

MVRemix: Do you have any last words to your fans or potential fans?

J.U.I.C.E.: A lot of you are gonna get to know a lot about me from this project and future projects. The often un-glamourous life of an underground emcee isn't really a life that I've ever led. I've always been pretty well to do with myself as an adult. As a kid I wasn't, I was battling. But as an adult, I lived pretty well. I'm sure there's a lot of major label rappers that don't live like I live or have what I have. So hopefully you guys learn a little more about me and you learn that I went to L.A. I moved there, I lived there most of my life. I'm in a gang that I started. We real. But also, I'm an emcee. I'm a normal guy. I have a bunch of sides to me. The battling side is the dominant side that everyone knows, but it doesn't encompass J.U.I.C.E. as an artist and yes, I can really freestyle.

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