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J-Zone - conducted by Mike Oz  


January 2002

With his new single "Q & A" recently hitting stores, J Zone let me do my own version of "Q & A" with him recently, only he was a little nicer to me than he was to Lisa Mitchell from Fuck Off Magazine.

In this interview J Zone, Captain Backslap, himself, talks about his current album, "Pimps Don't Pay Taxes," the possibility of putting down the mic, branching out to work with more artists, and what we can expect from the Old Maid Billionaires in the future.

This interview was conducted by Oz on January 10th, 2002.

MVRemix: So how's Lucy Lui doing?

J-Zone: Not too good, man. She ain't returning my calls, I'm getting a little upset. Ya know what I'm saying, I've been chasing her for three years now since "Payback" came out, man. And she ain't showed me no love. It's like at this point, I'm dead with that fetish, I'm gonna go get me some neighborhood hoodrats. You gotta keep your goals low, so you can score all the time. Why make the basket 25 feet when you can make it 10 and slam dunk it.

MVRemix: There you go, you talk about her like on every album and if she ain't showed you no love

J-Zone: Yeah, she ain't showed no love. I'm giving her too much press. I ain't getting paid for this, she's not returning my phone calls, I put in a request to see her with all the people over there behind "Charlie's Angels, " but they didn't get back to me, they were very uncooperative. So I'm like "Aiight forget you, then." It's all good.

MVRemix: So how's the album going for ya, "Pimps Don't Pay Taxes."

J-Zone: Album's doing good. The market is real flooded, so it's not as easy to move units as it was. Every year my releases do better and better, but every year it gets harder and harder. There's so many records out, it's just hard to pull apart from the pack. I have my little core audience, that always helps me.

MVRemix: For the first LP, you had a couple of EPs, what are the differences?

J-Zone: This one definitely had the most amount of work put into it. I mean it actually had a couple of ads. It had singles off of it. We worked real hard to get the artwork looking good and professional. Worked hard on getting everything put together right.

The first one was a college project that turned into a release that I didn't even intend. Everything was thrown together real quick, because the buzz caught on from little cassette tapes, then I had to make the vinyl to follow up. It was kind of a rush job. The second one was a rush job as well. All the music was always well thought-out, but in terms of trying to release it on time, artwork, promotion. I didn't put any singles out because I didn't have the money, I didn't have any TND deals, I didn't have anything to get singles out, so they just kinda dropped out of mid air.

The new one, I had a couple of 12 inches in between, I had done some touring at that point, some performing to help promote it. I had the Web site this time, it as a lot of things going down to give it an extra push.

MVRemix: I know you mention it a few times on your album, but at this point, do you consider yourself more of a producer or an emcee or a hybrid of both?

J-Zone: Producer. Emceeing, I mean I do it for fun. I have Huggy and Shid on the album, they're really more of the bonafide rappers. Like me, when it comes to my personal stuff, I don't' really sweat having skills, I don't sweat being the nicest battling, freestyling all of that, that's just not me. I just come on records and be as arrogant and stupid as humanly possible, 'cause that's my personality, I just come out and have fun.

It's like you had N.W.A., you had Cube and Ren, they were the lyricists. Eazy E, really couldn't rhyme his way out of a paper bag, but he was the entertaining of the whole crew. I'll listen to Eazy E all day.

MVRemix: That's kinda what I like about you, listening to your stuff, it's not so serious, everyone in hip-hop always takes themselves so seriously.

J-Zone: Yeah, if I battle anybody, I'ma lose. And I really don't care. Because I'm out looking for something else afterward. As long as I got paid for the show, I can lose a battle. I don't care. I'm more of a personality. The beats is really my bread and butter, I take that seriously, as a craft. Rhyming, I only rhyme when I got something on my mind. I do stories and stuff, I don't battle rap.

MVRemix: So when you're producing, what do you look for when you're looking for samples and your diggin' for beats.

J-Zone: Just like anything stupid. Just like dissonance. I just look for stuff that's not supposed to be rhymed over, and turn it into something that can be. Just something crazy.

MVRemix: You think you get stuff that maybe a lot of other producers look over?

J-Zone: Yeah, I mean 'cause I ain't gonna go up in no record store and spend no 100 dollars for no drum break. Ya know, I'm gonna get what I can afford and make it work for me. In doing that, I created my own sound, where either you like it or you don't. With me as an artist and as a producer, I'm an extremist. In life in general, I'm an extremist. It's my personality. People who know me as a person, people know my rhymes, know my beats, whatever it is about me as a person or an artist, you're going to love it or hate it. There's really no in between. I'm just an acquired taste on all levels, and people who love more stuff are fanatic about it, but the people who don't, really don't like it. It's not like "It's cool," you gotta love it or hate it. I gotta be on either end of the spectrum, I can't be in the middle.

MVRemix: How about your songs, one thing I noticed is that you don't have any hooks. You do that purposely, right?

J-Zone: Well, sort of. When I make a song, I just do what I wanna hear. I have songs with hooks, but they're not conventional hooks. I'm not gonna open the song with a hook, then do it in the middle, then do it at the end, and do it over and over and over again. That's just for J Zone records, I got nothing against hooks. Well really, on the first two records, at that point every record I heard had a weak, boring hook. I kinda poke fun at hooks on my first two records. The new one, I really didn't sweat it as much. I actually did some hooks. I don't mind hooks as long as they're good or as long as they're different. Everybody does their hooks the same way.

MVRemix: Yeah, you don't want to do it just 'cause you're supposed to do it, or that's the norm is.

J-Zone: I do whatever. I have records with hooks, records without. I don't feel like a record needs a hook to be good. Sometimes I have a little sound byte collage, sometimes I have just people talking in the hooks, sometimes I do cuts, sometimes I do little bugged out hooks, sometimes I sing. Cuz I can hit the high notes. I have to hit the high notes to give the ladies something. This is Captain Backslap speaking to ya.

MVRemix: You gotta find a Lucy Lui replacement.

J-Zone: Yeah. (phone clicks) Hold on a second man, sorry. [Ten seconds later.] Man, they won't leave me alone.

MVRemix: It's all the ladies, man.

J-Zone: They don't let ya live. I'm like, I'm trying to do interviews so I can more publicity, so I can get more record sales, so I can get more money, so I can get this Cadillac. But they don't understand that.

MVRemix: So the Cadillac, you got it all picked out?

J-Zone: Yeah, 1978 Baby Blue, just bad with the eight-track tape player, with the spokes on the wheels. Playboy air freshener. Dice in the mirror. Just leaning so far to the right when I drive, it looks like I'm sitting in the middle.

MVRemix: Is that the goal right now?

J-Zone: After I get the Cadillac, it's all null and void. I quit.

MVRemix: Really?

J-Zone: 'Cause my only goal in life is a Cadillac. After that you can throw in the towel, really.

MVRemix: And whatever else comes ..

J-Zone: Whatever else comes, wife, kids, family, world tours. Whatever happens, happens that's all second nature to me right now. It's petty to me, man. As long as I have that Lac parked out front of the Pimp Palace, life is good.

MVRemix: So what's coming up next, I know that you just dropped the single for "Q & A" and what else we got going on.

J-Zone: Just staying on top of the releases that are out. I'm re-releasing the two E{s cuz they were so limited, I pressed them myself, they were hard to get. I'm getting demand for them, so "Whup Ass" and "Tu Madre" are getting re-pressed and the instrumental. Al-Shid, one of the Old Maid Billionaires in the camp, he got a 12 inch coming out in February. I did both beats, it's coming out on Old Maid. The B-side features Huggy and I got some stuff for Huggy, too. Ya know, stuff coming from the Old Maid camp in February, March, through the Spring.

I'm doing production work for some people. Did stuff for the Cage album, I did stuff for the High & Mighty EP, I was talking to a few different people about doing some production. I'm supposed to be doing two tracks on the Biz album, too. I'm getting that fixed up. Really trying to stay behind the scenes, run Old Maid, and do more beats.

MVRemix: So we're going to see more expansion outside of your immediate crew?

J-Zone: Yeah, and then develop the immediate crew and do some expanding outside of it. It terms of J Zone albums, right now I've done what I wanted to do. I'm not going to say I'm totally done, but right now I don't' see it going any further. Because right now I'm not motivated to do anymore stuff. I bugged out for three albums and did the totally stupidest stuff I could think of, and unless I come up with more Captain Backslap stuff, more crazy stuff.

I've had fun, I did what I wanted to do. I'm not gonna make another album, just to make another album and just rap about wack emcees for 45 minutes to fill a quota 'cause J Zone needs another album. I don't want to go out just saying my last album was wack. I don't want to regret anything I've done.

I'm really proud of "Pimps," if I feel like that's the last thing I could put out that represents me that I want, then that's that. I'm not going to force myself to stay in the game if I'm not doing what I like to do and what I want to do.

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