REWINDING WITH J-SW!IFT


PHOTO CREDIT (COURTESY OF 1 MORE HIT THE MOVIE)

I can't even begin even talk about Hip Hop without acknowledging my personal favorite group of all time; THE PHARCYDE.  Out of all the tapes that I've ever owned, Bizarre Ride was probably the one I had the most dubbed copies of.  I've bought and lost it so many times over.  I even owned all the cassingles at one point.  Recently, I bought a used copy of it (Bizzarre Ride) off Ebay for a price more suited for a limited edition vinyl of (insert your favorite band here.)   

As a young fan, reading liner notes and credits was something that I longed for when ripping the shrink wrap off a new cassette.  One common denominator that went unnoticed with my first Pharcyde tapes was the signature "Produced by J-SW!FT" line that graced the liner notes.  That was when I realized the name of the man behind the jazzy boom bap that I cherished so much...

Me and the crew were lucky enough to catch up with the busy man known as J-SW!FT for a quick second to rewind back to the early days of his career, overcoming addiction and his new ventures which includes new music and a documentary film called 1 MORE HIT.




 *CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW J-CARD SCAN IN A NEW WINDOW  /  PHOTO CREDIT - STRICTLY CASSETTE

(SC)  So what's up with J-SW!FT these days?  

I just finished my documentary movie about my life entitled 1Morehit dealing with my struggles in the music business, as well as depression and drug addiction. I just put out my new single, "High when I'm sober" available on itunes from the forthcoming album Negro Kanevil music inspired by the film. 

(SC) Your production for The Pharcyde and The Wascals is timeless.  How did you connect with those guys?

High school, I was part of a production company formed by my mentor and music teacher Reggie Andrews. I landed a writer's deal when I was 16 as a part of his production company, SCU. I was going to many underground clubs, I already knew Tre (from Pharcyde) who was always rapping, he was preoccupied with "serious rap" but he had a good sense of humor and he was always fun to hang out with. I told him that he needed to incorporate some of that fun, laughter, jokes and energy into his music. He was also a dancer along with Imani and Romye who I then met. They danced together for the rapper Candyman. At that same time, I went to a showcase in Hollywood with Reggie, and I saw a rapper by the name of Jammer Dee, who was to become Fatlip. He was dressed in Argyle sweater and socks with a baseball cap and rimmed glasses with no lenses ala Erkel. When he opened his mouth, even though the beat was wack, he blew everybody's head off. I approached him, told him I'm J-Sw!ft. I was already producing records with Reggie Andrews for MCA and Epic.  I felt confident that I could persuade him to come into the fold. One because, I had the dopest beats, I didnt know anyone around me with the exception of L.A. Jay that could touch me. So I offered to produce Fatlip as a solo artist. He was skeptical, but ran into someone who knew me that told him I had my own studio with drum machines etc...so he immediately jumped on the bus and came over the next day. So Pharcyde came to be when they all came over to record.  We recorded so much that one day it seemed as though they never left. I didn't mind because we were having so much fun. It occurred to Fatlip that we should all be a group.

PHOTO CREDIT:  STRICTLY CASSETTE

Rashaan Jackson aka Buckwheed (The Wascals) and I went to the same high school. He was constantly battling anybody then who even claimed to rap, he looked like a little Buckwheat with his fro, so he and Kamau Holloway aka Alfie, decided they were the Wascals. I had been producing demos with Buckwheed so they naturally agreed to have me produce it. All of us were a family, all we did was go ape (weed), go to clubs, dance, come home with a couple girls in tow, make beats and freestyle all night while the girls sat there waiting or left (laughs)

 Hip-hop was most important, we felt. If they couldn't hang, they didn't love it like we did.



(SC)  You created one of the greatest Hip Hop Tapes of all time.  What was one of the most memorable experiences of making "Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde?"

  There were many experiences but if I had to choose one, I would choose the day we met in Mike Ross' office at Delicious Vinyl.  He wanted to sign us (the group), but said he would only do it if we gave him 100% publishing on the first album. Now I had narrowly escaped a writer's deal which I thought was a co-publishing deal, as it turns out, my manager Reggie and Almo Irving Music (A&M) owned and split my publishing, I was only being paid as the writer. Having escaped that wackass deal, I vowed that I would never do a writers, much less a publishing deal unless it was on my terms and I set the percentages, so that I would keep controlling interest in my works. Mike Ross said "I can't do that", so I said "neither can we" and the Pharcyde and I left all at once. That was a milestone for me because nobody, especially in hip-hop was owning their publishing 100%. I was one of if not the first to do that and I was happy to teach my boys, The Pharcyde, Wascals, the game like that. A week later, we recorded a demo of Passin Me By. Paul Stewart presented the demo to Mike Ross and the rest was history. He gave in to our collective bargaining. I chose not to sign with the label as an artist because I was already producing and planned on starting my production company Fathouse Wreckords which ultimately became my label, est, in 1993.

PHOTO CREDITS (COURTESY OF J-SW!FT)

(SC)  You are definitely a legend in the game.  How has your perspective on the industry evolved since then?  

 It has evolved in the sense that I as well as anyone can operate as a small company and succeed without sacrificing the integrity of our artform.  Too many labels are either gambling, throwing anything against the wall, i.e. biting whatever is hot or they are too cheap or scared to pay "clear", license a sample. So thank God for the internet, because I stand to make 10 times more than my earnings on the Pharcyde and I produced the whole damn album except Otha Fish produced by LA Jay. I am confident because I am still a fan of real hip-hop therefore I make some of the realist hip-hop ever and have been patient and I knew because I love the art that I would eventually be back with a vengeance in the name of real hip-hop.

PHOTO CREDITS:  COURTESY OF J-SW!FT


(SC)  We mostly know you for your work behind the boards.  I see that you are busy behind the mic these days.  Is it safe to say that some unreleased J-Swift demo tapes exist somewhere?

Unfortunately, yeah, lol I was always rapping, I just did like any MC does, I freestyled with my friends and me and LA Jay, our point was to make beats so hot, it'll make an old man rap. I have a high standard of quality therefore I did demos and put myself out there, sometimes rockin' it, sometimes I tanked. But I knew, if you do anything long enough and you love doing it, with both elements you will undoubtedly become a jedi. That's where I am now. I am J-Sw!ft and the MC is Negro Kanevil. It is still J-Sw!ft, the artist, rapper, dj, beat-breaker, but Negro Kanevil is a character created in the midst of some of the darkest times in my life. But, I have no regrets, because swords get made strong when they are forged by fire. There will be no sequel to Negro Kanevil because I am a different person now, I am as they would say in the Bible, I have put on a new self.



(SC)  If we were to hop into a time machine and go back to 1993.  What 5 cassettes would be in J-Swift's tape deck?

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
Gang Starr - Daily Operation
Pete Rock and CL Smooth - All Souled Out the EP

(SC)  What projects can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, my single, "High When Im Sober" is available on Itunes, please note, there are a couple of knock-off J-Swift's out there, and they know who they are, so to ensure that you get me, the original J-Sw!ft, you must type the exclamation, that is my trademark. Also, my reality movie (1MoreHit) was released on Jan. 19th and is available on ATT Uverse and Verizon Fios On-Demand. My album, The Adventures of Negro Kanevil will be released in April on Itunes...thanks a lot to Strictly Cassette,  wanna give a shout out to all those real hip-hop fans who continue to support my underground style of hip-hop. Ya'll Aint heard nuthin yet!

CLICK ON PHOTO TO PURCHASE "1 MORE HIT" ON DVD




NEW MUSIC FROM J-SW!FT - CLICK ON PHOTO FOR ITUNES LINK


J-Swift - High When I'm Sober (Preview) by sgp3




9 comments:

  1. O-Dawg8124.1.12

    ButtonPusha! NICE FAM!! So dope!! Big Ups to J-Sw!ft you guys are making it happen! Big Ups! fam!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bang2000XL24.1.12

    i need those J-Sw!ft demo tapes..im gonna check out his flick tho!! props!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. jjohnson24.1.12

    Been hearing about this documentary for so many years!! Glad to know it's finally out for all to see. Big ups on giving us the scoop!

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  4. Thanx everybody. Please make sure you follow up with J-SW!FT. He is back in the game to add another chapter to his already solidified legacy. Not many folks get a second chance when dealing with addiction but J's story is a testament of passion for Hip Hop and it's ability change lives. This is something that can inspire us all!

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  5. This dude's a genuine talent.. Big Ups!

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    Replies
    1. No doubt! J-SW!FT stepping back into the arena is already a huge accomplishment. Most folks don't get a second wind in industry once they've been thru the ups and downs. No matter what, he is still legendary for the game changing tracks that he had his hand in building...

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  6. Justiceson31.1.12

    Glad to see that he's doing well for himself again. Thanks for the history lesson! Peace

    ReplyDelete
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