J-Zone's 6 Favorite Drum Recordings; Lunch Breaks on vinyl coming soon!
Yes, I'm slowly getting back to writing...but only when inspired! To celebrate the release of Lunch Breaks, my 31-track drum break release, on vinyl, I present my six favorite recorded drum sounds of all time. I also give a glimpse into the arduous process of drum miking that I used to create Lunch Breaks.
More info on the Lunch Breaks vinyl coming soon. Buy the digital version of Lunch Breaks here
J-Zone's 'Lunch Breaks' Available Now at Drum Broker!
Following the positive response to the live drum stuff on Peter Pan Syndrome, I've hit the studio to lay down 31 dirty, funky, nasty grooves for your sampling pleasure. Drum kits and individual drums were bought, used and sold on a weekly basis to get a variety of sounds. I don't sue people for sampling me, so if you buy this package, go on and load 'em in. Just give me some credit if your record blows up.
J-Zone Picks His Sleeper Rap Cuts of 1994 at NME.com
Time to put the writer hat back on for a bit. It's been 20 years since I officially entered the music business as a junior in high school. And I'd never slight Illmatic or Ready to Die, but here are some of the more slept on tunes I was bumping at the time.
Read about it HERE
"Crib Issues" (Official Music Video)
My friend and videographer Kevin Young hooked up another brilliantly lo-fi music video for "Crib Issues" from my recent album, Peter Pan Syndrome. If you taped videos on VHS as a kid, enjoy old rap album art, have a serious hang-up about sleeping over other people's (filthy) houses and/or have an appreciation for mildly grotesque humor, you'll dig it. That means I made it strictly for myself…and if you happen to like it, good.
Enjoy the video…not available in 1080p
J-Zone's live, one hour, all-45 DJ set (audio and video)
Last weekend I ventured to Brooklyn to spin an hour's worth of really funky and soulful 45s in the basement studio of Da Beatminerz (DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Mr. Walt). It was freezing down there, that's why I'm looking ultra preppy, DJing in a Greg Brady collar shirt and a cashmere sweater.
It streamed live and was archived, so here's the video footage/sound:
Play it while you decorate your faux tree or something.
J-Zone re-creates "Substitution" breakbeat on the drum kit
Not perfect, but feel free to sample it, cut it up, whatever. Free download. (Or donate a buck or two to help finance this snare drum I need - so I can re-create more break beats!Download "Zonestitution" on Bandcamp
J-Zone plays "Rhythm Roulette" with Mass Appeal
The crew from Mass Appeal met me at Breakdown Records in Bayside Queens (my stomping ground) to select three random records blindfolded to take home and try to flip into a beat. See how I fared in the video below.
Peter Pan Press (Part Three)
As the year and the initial buzz for Peter Pan Syndrome wind down, here's the third (and final) round of press for it. Check the in depth and meticulously put together Fireside Chat / Red Bull interview and a couple of recent album reviews below.
J-Zone On the Wheels...and On the Mic!
In celebration of the release of my good friend Louis Logic's first album in seven years, I figured I'd rise to the occasion and get on stage (with mic in hand) for the first time in nearly as long. New York City, come boogie with us at Glasslands in Brooklyn on November 3. I will be bringing the infamous box of greasy funk 45s to DJ the event and keep the music flowing in addition to rocking a few cuts off Peter Pan Syndrome. Peep the flyer below for the slammin' full line up and other details.
Peter Pan Press (Part Two)
This is probably overkill, but if you're on this site you just might give a shit. Here's the second round of press for Peter Pan Syndrome. Overwhelmingly positive feedback, reviews, etc.; there are some interviews and artist features in here as well. Thanks to all for your support, from reviewers to those who bought the cassettes and flipped 'em for five times the price on eBay! Much love.
J-Zone's October Gigs
Catch me on the one and twos in NYC, Chicago and Boston this month.
10.14 @ Bowery Electric, NYC -
Mobile Mondays (with Prince Paul, Dante Ross, Max Glazer and the Mobile Mondays Crew)
10.18 @ The Owl, Chicago
10.19 @ Soul Summit, Chicago -
Double Door (with Supreme LaRock, Dave Mata, Sloppy White, Duke Grip)
10.31 @ Church, Boston
(with Porn Theatre Ushers and Frankensteez)
Peter Pan Press (Part One)
To my surprise, the album has gotten a good amount of high profile press. Positive or negative has never been the issue; I'm just glad some folks give enough of a shit to say something about a J-Zone album! In addition to the Bandcamp feature from a few weeks ago (scroll down to check that out), check out the recent action:
More to come. Stay tuned.
"Gadget Ho": J-Zone's First Music Video!
With the exception of interviews, beat making videos, cameos, single verses and videos of songs of mine using puppets, I've never had an official music video. Yes, after 15 years as an artist, I finally decided to film one to promote Peter Pan Syndrome. Shout out to Kevin Young and the crew in Charleston, SC for participating and making the shoot a lot of fun. Enjoy! And stop sending emoticons, suckers.
Peter Pan Syndrome Available on iTunes and Amazon Now!
So I guess this is the post I use to remind you that Peter Pan Syndrome is now officially out! That means you don't need a tape deck, CD player or knowledge of Bandcamp to support it.
Thank you to all who supported the album (and continue to do so). You (and your spending habits) are greatly appreciated!
It's Out! + J-Zone's Bandcamp Artist Feature
So it's finally out! You can buy Peter Pan Syndrome on CD or digital download in the J-Zone bandcamp store (to your left!). Tapes are sold out, as are both package deals. Thanks for your overwhelming support! That support also led to an artist feature on Bandcamp. Check it out here:
And for all who've asked: Yes, Peter Pan Syndrome will be released on double vinyl, sometime in October. I may do a super short run of tapes one last time for those who missed it. Album available on iTunes and Amazon this coming Tuesday (September 10th).
J-Zone in the Studio (Video)
You know I hate texting, still use a Walkman and have run a small business since 1999 without owning a printer; but did you know I'm also a Luddite when I'm working on music? Of course I am!
I don't shoot a lot of videos, but here's one of me in the studio during the making of my upcoming album, Peter Pan Syndrome, using the most raggedy, busted, broken, obsolete equipment I could find, including my two girlfriends (cassette decks), Betsy and Diana. I also played the drums wearing a carpal tunnel brace, used a constantly shedding, cheap-ass Ikea rug to muffle the studio and still use the computer monitor that probably came with the Commodore 64! It's all about limitations and mistakes. Perfection is for suckers.
Hear a 16-year-old J-Zone On One Of His Earliest Demos!
If you already missed the 5-song demo giveaway with the order of Peter Pan Syndrome...oops! But you can still enjoy one of them by checking out the Soundcloud player below. Recorded in 1993, it's just me, my SP-1200 and a raggedy turntable. I recorded in one take straight to cassette back then because I couldn't afford a reel to reel, so you line-for-line punch-in magicians have no excuse!
Peter Pan Syndrome Pre-Orders and Previews Begin!
It's that time. Not gonna write a drawn-out blurb; either you dig the album or you don't! Check out seven cuts from the album on the Soundcloud player above and place your pre-order in the Bandcamp store. Irreverence, the lampooning of all things sacred and status quo, foul language, funky beats, my live drumming chops (still in progress but hopefully one day will be there) and more.
Album is available on limited edition cassette (in two different shell colors) or CD with special bonus packages including my first demos from high school, the instrumentals for the album, free CDs from my back catalog and more! More to come. Release date is September 5th. iTunes release date is September 10th. Physical product ships August 30th. Vinyl of the album will be available in October. Enjoy.
Peter Pan Syndrome Album Cover
J-Zone Speaks on Upcoming Album, Adult Rap Life
New J-Zone Album To Be Released In September 2013
No, not a misprint. Don't ask, it's a long story, but I guess there's some truth to that artists never truly retiring thing. I'm putting the finishing touches on my eleventh album, which is also my first in five years and the first J-Zone solo album in nine years. (Yes, I handle most of the vocal duties, as well as the production, drumming and other little odds and ends.) Will not divulge the title yet, but look for it shortly after Labor Day and check the site in August for leaked songs and previews that will set the tone. Details on guests (the very few I have), album title, formats and any gigs that will go down in conjunction with the album release will slowly emerge over the course of the summer.
I will also be taking a brief hiatus from the pen, so unless something insane happens that I can't wait to lampoon on my Ego Trip blog, I'll be dedicating the summer to getting the album ready for release. Stay tuned.
Father's Day Special: J-Zone's Dad's Top 5 Favorite Rap Albums!
So in honor of Father's Day, my pops bumrushed my Ego Trip column to talk about his 5 favorite rap albums of all time. I can't make this shit up. And no, I didn't have anything to do with his choices, as bizarre as they are. One thing's for sure: he's a hip-hop head.
J-Zone in the Twin Cities!
Word to the midget formerly known as Prince, I will be on the wheels of steel this coming weekend for two parties in lovely Minneapolis. On Saturday, I will be at Ginger Hop (201 E. Hennepin Ave.) for The Back Spin party playing breaks and uptempo hip-hop oddities alongside resident DJs King Otto and Kevin Beacham. Sunday is the main event: Catch me laying down the funk 45s like a madman at Clubhouse Jager (923 Washington Ave. N) for The Good Thing, a funkafied patio party. I will also be making radio cameos on Kinda Cloudy Radio (KFAI) on Thursday and Rhymesayers Radio on Saturday. Let Google be your friend to find it. Flyer for Sunday's event above. See you there.
J-Zone Featured In New Movie About Getting Old In Hip-Hop
Look, I won't be getting my SAG card anytime soon, but I am one of many thirty-something hip-hop artists to be featured in an upcoming film called Adult Rappers. The plot? [Gasp] Getting old in hip-hop, aka Never Never Land.
Here's a funny outtake from the film featured on XXL.com in which my dad is interviewed about how I made out in my very, very brief stint in a traditional nine-to-five job.
The film is excellent and should be out in the fall. I'll have a new album out by then as well. Yeah, instead of creating a monster.com profile, I learned to play the drums in my 30s instead like a fool. If you're gonna avoid reality and embrace Peter Pan Syndrome, may as well do it full throttle until you wake up one day and it's too late to go to the other side. F**k it. When I show up at the Pearly Gates, I'll be there with a Jheri curl and an interesting story to tell.
J-Zone Celebrates Mother's Day with 10 Great (Crude) Rap Songs About Mamas
J-Zone's M.O.P. "Rugged Neva Smoove" Appreciation Post... and the Mystery of "1-5-4-Fuckin' 5"
I show love for one of my favorite rap groups of all time, M.O.P. - then play Columbo and try to decipher one of Billy Danze's hardest rhymes that has been shrouded in mystery for nearly 20 years!
J-Zone Makes a Beat! (Video)
I'm in the studio working on a new project and thebeeshine.com caught me in action. For all who dig my production and are interested in seeing a video of the process...Boom!
Accepting Rap's Generation Gap
Life on the road means sometimes you can't update in a timely manner. But better late than never. Here's a piece I posted on Ego Trip last week about...[gasp]...getting old in hip-hop and accepting the rap generation gap.
J-Zone and Large Professor in Ohio!
Attn: Ohioans - The legendary Large Pro and I will be on the turntables spinning some funky vinyl for your listening and dancing pleasure at Anabell's in Akron (784 W. Market St.) Saturday, March 16, 10PM-2AM. We'll be celebrating the birthday of Forrest Getemgump, a dear friend and serious record collector and DJ. $5 admission. Be there!
I wrote a eulogy for a rapper and album that actually changed my life over at Complex.com. Tim Dog R.I.P. (1967-2013)
So Valentine's Day is on Thursday. I don't mean to piss on anyone's parade, but here are my 25 favorite rap songs about love gone terribly wrong! Plus one honorable mention for good measure. Enjoy!
J-Zone's Freshco & Miz Appreciation Post / Freshco & Miz Documentary
Every so often there's a group that has all the tools and all the potential - then they disappear. Freshco & Miz was that group in 1990, and they inspired me as an aspiring rap participant so much that I ended up searching New York City from end to end for their nonexistent debut album. Read my appreciation post for the obscure, albeit highly skilled duo and check out World Supreme's hour-long documentary on these unsung heroes of hip-hop.
J-Zone talks money vs. art at Onion A.V. Club
Already getting a lot of responses on the interwebs, here's an interview I did with The Onion A.V. Club about some of my most grueling financial and professional moments as a musician. Funny, disturbing, discouraging and encouraging at the same time, it's long but worth a click.
Zone boards Bolt Buses, airplanes for December's live gigs
A long, long overdue vacation, life shit, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy... they all made for a quiet November on the music / writing / everything J-Zone-related front. But I'll be rocking a dance floor near you in December - well, maybe if you're on the east coast. Make-up dates, delayed release parties, the works. Here's the December schedule.
12/1 - Boston, MA @ Good Life with Mr. Jason.
All 45 set. Be there at 9:30 if you want to catch the action; I go on early.
12/12 - Washington D.C. @ Fever Bar and Lounge with Champion Sounds DJs.
All 45 set.10PM
12/13 - Washington D.C. @ 1920 D.C. with Champion Sounds DJs.
Hip-hop and ya don't stop! 10PM
12/17 - NYC @ Bowery Electric / Mobile Mondays with Prince Paul.
The official rescheduled release party for my 45.
12/22 - Akron, OH @ Anabelle's with DJ Boogie Blind. 10PM
J-Zone hits Chicago, NYC and Boston
I'll be on the decks throwing down some sets in the next few weeks in celebration of the 45 release. Laptop on one hand, box of 45s in the other. Catch me if you can. After this run, I go on vacation, something I haven't done in over a decade. So if this is the most recent update you see and we're in November...I wasn't abducted by aliens.
10.18 - Empire Liquors (Chicago)
w/ DJ Rude One and Shon Dervis - 10PM-2AM
10.19 - The Whistler (Chicago)
10.21 - Rodan (Chicago)
w/ DJ Rude One (Chicago 45 release party) - 10PM-2AM
10.21 - The Owl (Chicago)
on the late night - 2AM-4AM
10.29 - Bowery Electric (NYC)
w/ Prince Paul and The Mobile Mondays Crew (NYC 45 release party)
10.31 - Church (Boston)
w/ Mister Jason (Frankensteez Release Party / Halloween Jam) - 10PM-2AM
J-Zone's 15 Favorite 45s
Now that my 45 is out, it's time to pay homage to some 7"s that inspired me to put my latest brainfart in that format. Dirty, nasty, funky 45s. Bizarre, hilarious, psychedelic 45s. 45s I got off crackheads. They're all there.
J-Zone 45 shipping now, Sto' open for business
No music from yours truly in four years, but every once in a while I still get the urge. That said, I pressed up a limited run (500 units) of randomly colored vinyl 7"s of some stuff I've been working on. "The Drug Hunt (Remix)" (the A-Side) is a lil' uptempo instrumental, but I don't do drugs. A lot of people do, though. "The Fox Hunt" (the b-side) is a P.S.A. on dating pretty women in New York City from Breeze Brewin (of The Juggaknots) and yours truly. It also features cameos from the ever legendary Prince Paul and my man Oxygen. The verdict? Sometimes a fine woman ain't worth the hassle!
Buy this piece of wax at the now open for business J-Zone Sto' (or the banner at the top of the page will bring you there). Every so often I'll get random requests for J-Zone back catalog on vinyl or CD - I've just never had the gumption to put it up for sale. I figured I'd put whatever I have left in the Sto' and clear out my basement at the same time. Thanks to Jzanaught at blackwellspace designs, I finally have a marketplace for all this stuff. Out of print vinyl, CDs, books...knock yourselves out. But once it's gone, it's gone! The book is the only item that I will continue manufacturing if it goes out of stock.
Check out audio clips of all products in The Sto', but for the lazy, here are Soundcloud embeds of both sides of the 45. If you dig what you hear, "take youe ass to The Sto' wit' that!" (Ice Cube, 1991)
Check out audio clips of all products in The Sto', but for the lazy, here are Soundcloud embeds of both sides of the 45. If you dig what you hear, "take youe ass to The Sto' wit' that!" (Ice Cube, 1991)
P.S. - A "sto'" is a store, as pronounced by Ice Cube in his Jheri curl days - if you haven't deduced that already. Enjoy
J-Zone presents... 20 Great Rap Songs Under 2 minutes!
“Niggas wanna get up and rap and rap and rap and rap, man, fuck that!” – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
A note to rappers: Buy a stopwatch. Unless you’re Too $hort croaking a prostitute with a load of sperm, nobody wants to hear you rap for more than three minutes. The true indicator of good music is the rewind button. Click the link below to check out my latest piece at ego trip...and keep it brief, son.
J-Zone Talks Rap 12" Covers at Complex Magazine, Ego Trip
This week, the crew at Complex gave me a buzz and asked me to contribute to a piece on the 50 greatest rap 12" covers of all time. I talk art and go off on tangents, but there's never a dull moment.
And it wouldn't be right if I didn't represent for the home front (Ego Trip) - I followed up with a handful of personal favorite 12" covers that didn't make the Complex list. This gave me the chance to go obscure and ridiculous.
J-Zone presents...15 Shots to the (Cop's) Dome
Check out some of my favorite anti-police brutality records via my most recent appreciation post / list at Ego Trip. Noticeably absent from the list are classics by Brand Nubian, N.W.A. and Cypress Hill, but they were covered already in the list the good folks at Up North Trips blog posted awhile back.
J-Zone's Top 5 Possible Cases of Ghostwriting
Leave Nas alone. Enough ghostwriter talk. Only one Nas song can even be mentioned in the same sentence as the word ghostwriting, but there were 4 other cases of ghostwriting elsewhere in hip-hop that I always suspected.
J-Zone's "Mad Rap" Appreciation Post and Top 10 "Mad Rap Album" List
Is it me, or have rappers not been mad in almost 20 years? Anger has become the "cooties" of the modern rap world, meaning the era of pissed off rap albums is long gone. Despite a world that grows increasingly fucked up by the hour, insouciance and assimilation are the code of the day. The brothers aren't maaaaad anymore!
Chief Chinchilla & Ego Trip heckle rappers' furs
Anyone who actually followed my rap career knows I was known for wearing ratty fur coats on stage and for photo shoots. Well, over at Ego Trip the fellas wanted to discuss the best and worst notable previously living pieces of clothing in rap history. I wanted to contribute to the article, but I thought my sidekick, Chief Chinchilla (wink), would be a better candidate to ridicule (or give props to) the furs in question. P.E.T.A go to hell.
J-Zone talks rap tapes at StrictlyCassette.com
I know a lot about cassette tapes for a brother who's never been locked up. I continue with the knowledge for all my analog pimps and pimpettes out there.
J-Zone's 9 Favorite Shout Out Tracks of all time
Yo, the ampersat killed hip-hop, son. In one fell keystroke, our friend the @ joined forces with the death of liner notes to completely obliterate the sixth element of hip-hop from the hip-hop album – shout outs to your boys. The "shout out track" died of natural causes sometime in the mid-’90s, but looking back on this short-lived hip-hop album ritual, here are nine of the greatest album filler shout out tracks of all time (at Ego Trip).
J-Zone on Stay Hatin' Podcast
My trip to the Bay Area was a productive one: A serious throw down at the 45 sessions (shouts to DJ Platurn, E Da Boss, Mophono and the crew), the acquiring of some seriously funky 45s, a BBQ in East Oakland with the OGs from Captial Tax, a drumming session at the Hieroglyphics offices, words of wisdom from Tajai of Souls of Mischief, a cool in-store at Groove Merchant, and getting up with folks I haven't seen in years. But I was also a guest on the Stay Hatin' radio podcast with Matthew Africa, Serge Dun, and Soft Money. We let the comments fly on music old and new, in addition to speaking on random subjects like why I feel hip-house was better than rap-rock collaborations, MySpace pimpin', why Golden Era rappers are becoming the Vietnam veterans of the music business, and the sudden disappearance of the J-Zone Wikipedia page.
J-Zone hits the Bay Area - 45s and Books in tow
The last time I was in the Bay Area, I was (gasp)...rapping. It's been a long time coming, so I booked a trip with the intent on playing some funky 45s and doing some Root for the Villain promo. This is where I'll be.
07.19 - In-store / Root for the Villain book signing at Groove Merchant Records in San Francisco
07.20 - All-45 DJ set for The 45 Sessions at Disco Volante in Oakland
07.22 - All-45 DJ set in San Jose (TBA)
Further information can be found on flyers above. Hopefully I can find some Pooh-Man tapes out there.
J-Zone & Chief Chinchilla's Gators-n-Furs Mix Show Reunion! Free Download!
For those who actually remember and enjoyed these themed mix shows (which dropped monthly in 2007-08): Here's the random G&F reunion that happens every now and then.
This show's theme: Safe sex. After all, why spend hours at the gym preparing for summer when you're walking around with a sexually-transmitted gamma ray? Just a thought. From STDs to unwanted pregnancies, this show is the soundtrack to the irresponsible, painful, and scary (albeit hilarious at times) adventures of glove-less love. Strap up, y'all.
Oh, and this mix is on the new J-Zone Soundcloud page. Stay tuned to / follow it for upcoming music.
J-Zone pays tribute to Kool and the Gang at Mobile Mondays (7/9)!
It's no secret that Kool and the Gang are my favorite band of all time. Well, at least their first 12 or so albums. Hell, even their poppy, sanitized smashes of the '80s are catchy if that's what you're into. Anyway, I'll be DJing an all-45, all-Kool and the Gang tribute set on Monday, July 9th in NYC. Funky and FREE! Come through and check me out with the MM crew as we keep it Kool in the dead of summer. Details on the flyer above.
J-Zone + Hot Peats and Butta
My musical and literary journeys have afforded me opportunities in a wide variety of niches that are polar opposites to the tenth power. My adulation for "ign'ant" rap and all of its hyperbolic, tasteless attributes has gotten me magazine columns dedicated to Big Tymer$ and Project Pat records. On the flip side of the coin, my dual life as an unlikely funk 45 fan/collector and '60s/'70s TV junkie has gotten me hooked up with one of the most respected names in the field: Hot Peas and Butta. It's an honor to write and spin music for a posse that includes heavyweights like Skeme Richards, Supreme LaRock, DJ Amir, DJ Kamui, Chairman Mao, Monk One, Unkle Chip, and Cosmo Baker. I'll be sharing the dual decks with the crew in the near future, but for now, check out my column, "J-Zone's Tool Box." I'm in the midst of a review series on 45s from my favorite band of all time, Kool and the Gang.
J-Zone presents...Why Chris Brown and Drake Could Never Really Have "Beef"
Chris Brown and Drake have "beef?" How is that possible? R&B is dead and it's singers are soft for one key reason. Word to James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Big Red from The Five Heartbeats, Ike Turner, Michael Jackson, and every other singer who ever had a conk, perm, or Jheri curl.
J-Zone presents...Tim Dog's Official Online Dating Profile
With the creator of my favorite rap album of all time up on grand larceny charges and the subject of this Friday's episode of Dateline NBC, it's only right I imagine what Tim Dog's online dating profile looks like. For the unaware, Mr. Dog was busted for gaming wide and fried women out of their money in a Ponzi scheme disguised as a Kickstarter for his rap career. Tim Dog - salute!
J-Zone on Tacos & Chocolate Milk Podcast
An hour-long discussion about any and every thing under the sun between J-Zone and QN5 frontmen Tone Deff and Pack FM. That can only mean one thing - things get stupid! Root for the Villain, upcoming music projects, the ups and downs of the music business, killing animals as a child, f*ckable and unf*ckable celebrities...it's all there!
J-Zone presents...Miscegenation On Ya Station! 10 Raps About Interracial Relationships
Let's look at the Top 10 rap songs (and one honorable mention) to ever bumrush the subject of crashing a party on the other side of town and laying the pipe down and search for an answer. Yes, it gets interesting when love, lust, and race create a three car pile-up. Summer is here and love is in the air! But should you be careful of who you love? Click the link below to find out via my last entry at Ego Trip!
J-Zone presents... 5 Rap Songs Rick Ross Should Remake
New on J-Zone's Ego Trip blog! While the rap world was up in arms about Lupe Fiasco's remake of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's "T.R.O.Y." (and Pete Rock's disapproval of the remake), a thought occurred to me: Who would be best fit to cover classics from rap's "golden era"? Rick Ross in particular has a personality that would create an interesting marriage if paired with some rap cuts of yesteryear.
J-Zone plays Soundset Festival on May 27!
I'm honored to be rockin' the wheels of steel for this year's Soundset Festival. (Sorry, the fur coat has been declared a carcinogen and put to rest so I will NOT be rapping.) With names ranging from Atmosphere; to Raekwon and Ghostface; to DJ Premier; to Aesop Rock; to Lupe Fiasco and many, many, many more, it's one of the dopest hip-hop festivals around. It all goes down at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN - if you're in the mid-west (or love hip-hop enough to get your ass on a plane), come through and get a piece of the action!
For tickets and more info, check soundsetfestival.com
Peep the full line-up in the video above.
Rap Controversy: 20 Years Later
Now that we're 20 years away from the L.A. Riots and the most controversial hip-hop calendar year in its history, I've chosen 10 uber-inflamatory rap albums (a few of which are unintentionally hilarious) from 1992 (or on the cusp of '91 and '92), aka "the PMRC-era," and pose the question:
"Would they still be controversial if released in 2012?"
The Official Willie D: "F*ck Rodney King" Appreciation Post
On the heels of VH1's special on the L.A. Riots (and the 20 year anniversary of the riots themselves), I present an appreciation post for the greatest and most controversial song of the time frame (next to Ice-T's "Cop Killer," of course): Willie D's ""Rodney K" (aka "F*ck Rodney King"). Fuck all that sangin'!
Blame It On The Cover
Solid album, shitty cover. My picks for the 8 worst offenders from the "Golden Era."
The Return of Gator$-n-Fur$!
Well, at least this one time. Dazeddigital.com somehow coaxed Chief Chinchilla and I to reunite for a reunion mixshow - three and a half years after our falling out. The theme of this very special installment? The music biz, what else?! The ups, downs, highs, lows, and the pertinent question facing rap fans old and young today: What is a "hater?" I try to be diplomatic and respect the younger generation of hip-hop kids. But Chief ain't trying to hear that shit! Heads roll, people get dissed - you know how it is when Chief's on the set. This was fun, and hopefully we can tolerate each other enough to bring Gator$-n-Fur$ back to the people. Enjoy!
What if N.W.A Broke Up On Twitter?
After all this Mobb Deep Twitter drama / hoax shit, that's the question that randomly popped into my head yesterday. I tried to take four years of beef and squeeze it into 18 tweets. The whole load would've been blown in about 48 hours and rap history would've been quite bland if social media existed back then.
Shout to Brett Rollins at Ego Trip for the artwork. And the moral of this? If you have beef with another entertainer, don't set it off with a tweet. You look wack.
J-Zone in the Boston Phoenix - and in Boston
And to complete the New England experience, I'll be spinning alongside fellow obscure rap enthusiast Mister Jason on Saturday, April 14th, at the Good Life in Boston. I guess you can say it's a book release party - five months late! But when have I ever played by the rules? Above all, it's a party!
9PM til about 11:30 PM - then it goes Top 40! Come cop a book (if you haven't yet) and hear some funky tunes.
Good Life Bar
28 Kingston Street
Boston, MA 02111
J-Zone's Live Squad Appreciation Post
Ah, another nod to a controversial and largely forgotten NYC group from the golden era. I'm sure this is the stuff Tipper Gore lived to assassinate. And there's some audio from Live Squad's never officially released LP - the goodie bag mission continues.
J-Zone interview at Ruby Hornet
Here's a recent phone interview I did with Chicago-based rubyhornet.com. Transcribed, of course. Enjoy.
J-Zone presents...Diggin' in the Tapes: WNYU Demos '96
Alright, it's no obscure video of a baby Wu-Tang on Bronx public access TV. (That was a once in a lifetime find.) But going through my shoeboxes of tapes has again revealed something dope. I wear a size 13, so you know the box has room for plenty of jewels and the box is for a pair of Sauconys, so you know its contents go back. For all fans of Last Emperor, Natural Elements, and college students / indie rap fans in NYC circa 1996, check out some rare demos.
Root for the Villain on Chuck D's Twitter feed, in The Source, and more!
Accolades for the book are still rolling in, albeit at a senior citizen pace. To have your work acknowledged by your childhood heroes is always gratifying, but this was better than waking up to a snow day in the fifth grade.
The book was also given a brief (positive) review in the latest issue of The Source magazine (Issue #251, with Tyga, 2 Chains, and Mac Miller on the cover). Say what you will about that magazine, but as an avid reader and purchaser of it from 1991 to 1996, that fills a void in my heart.
Here are some links to recent online press:
As always, thanks for the continued support!
J-Zone's 10 Favorite Sample Flips
Long before all this book stuff, any notoriety I had was mainly due to beats I made. As a sampling producer, I appreciate not only crate-diggin', but putting in work and making the most of your records. I also appreciate the works of producers who never became household names, so to Sir Jinx, DJ Pooh, Bilal Bashir, Ced Gee, E-Swift, Markell Riley, and Uneek, my hat is tipped.
J-Zone's 20 Greatest Sex Rhymes
I see Cupid shot'cha in the ass again, huh? Fuck all that. Let's kill all the formalities and flowers. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is what truly motivates you to make those donations to Hallmark and that swank sushi spot with the $27 California rolls. Let's hear from some folks who understand that concept. I present to you my 20 greatest sex-related rap songs of all time. Happy Valentines Day…[insert Snoop Dogg in Baby Boy voice] "scrub."
J-Zone and his 45 Collection on 02.06.12 (in NYC)
How rare is it that I bring out my toolbox (courtesy of Home Depot's hardware section) of funk 45s? So rare that I never bought an official case for them, so bring your ass out to Bowery Electric on Monday, February 6th! From 9PM til 2AM, I'll join the Mobile Mondays Crew (Operator Emz, Joey C, Natasha Diggs, Miss Rebecca, and Snkr Joe) in bringing you the best in rare (and not so rare) grooves - the funk is on!
I'll also have copies of Root for the Villain for sale, so come cop a book and enjoy the music.
Mo' Beef: J-Zone's Favorite Obscure Diss Tracks
For rap O.G.s only!
So generational rap wars are the new thing now, huh? Yawn. Common fans will call Drake soft. Drake fans will call Common old and a "hater." Ice-T vs. Soulja Boy. KRS vs. Nelly. Lil Kim vs Nikki Minaj. What's next, Sister Souljah vs. Kreyshawn? (That'd be a good one, though.) The whole purpose of dissing someone is to show them up in front of one audience. That said, now that Root for the Villain is out, I'm back pushing the pen at Ego Trip... and my first boost of post-book motivation comes in the form of my favorite under the radar hip-hop diss tracks. You can call it "rare beef," if you will.
J-Zone: The Mathematician
Since Jay-Z reportedly stopped saying the word "bitch," J-Zone will carry the torch by explaining the making of his song "The Bum Bitch Ballad" - in math equations. For kids (it's censored) and folks with calculators only.
Root for the Villain makes SPIN Magazine and Soul Train's "Best Music
Books of 2011" lists
Yeah, I thought it was a hoax at first, too. My book, Root for the Villain, clocks in at #7 on SPIN Magazine's "Top 10 Best Music Books of 2011" list. It's in good company; I Want My MTV is also on the list. Click here to read the entry and a brief Q&A I did with SPIN.
The book also made Soul Train's Top Books list for 2011 (link). That accolade hit a special place in my heart because I used to watch Soul Train and figure out the scramble board long before the contestants did when I was a kid. I was hoping one day I'd get the free Jheri curl activator you received for doing the scramble board in an expeditious manner. Maybe they'll send me some so I can set this curl off right next summer. I WILL get a Jheri curl before I die, just to be an asshole. It's gonna hang in the back, too. Then I'm gonna remake this video.
Root for the Villain makes SPIN Magazine and Soul Train's "Best Music
Books of 2011" lists
Press for Root for the Villain is continuing to roll in. The more the better; I've run out of ways to convince you to give a shit! From The Onion A.V. Club to XXL Magazine, here's a third round of J-Zone book-related press.
Props in Twitterville
What do Questlove from The Roots, RJD2, W.W. Norton Books, and Atmosphere have in common? They actually have two things in common: They're all far more well known than I am and they all have publicly endorsed me and/or my book, Root for the Villain, on Twitter recently. I won't tell you to buy my book, but I'll tell you all four entities know what the hell they're talkin' 'bout!
Here's What They Think About You (Part Deux)
Book reviews and interviews continue to roll in for Root for the Villain. Order the book and stuff a stocking (or a Kindle) via the links at the top of the page. Find links to the latest J-Zone press in the L.A. Times, Complex Magazine, Examiner.com, and more below!
Scroll down for older press for the book. More to come!
No Vaseline: Here's what they think about you.
Now that my book is finally out on all formats (Kindle folks can now read digitized versions my analog stories – find links all methods of reading the book at the top of the page), here comes the feedback and press. From hip-hop blogs to The Boston Globe, Root for the Villain is showing up on a few desks and just may be more than something to balance a table leg.
HipHopDX.com (book review)
Beyond Race.com (book review)
TheRapUp.net (book review)
Chuck D's Rapstation.com (audio interview)
J-Zone on his 5 favorite Rap-A-Lot Records releases at Old to the New (interview)
Tim Dog Appreciation / Book synopsis at Just One Record (video interview)
Scott's Mindfield.com (interview)
Root for the Villain was also mentioned in this article in The Boston Globe (link) about Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" tour. I was interviewed for the article as well.
More to come – stay tuned!
Another Wasted Night
The fourth excerpt from Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure is for all who are socially homeless in a constantly changing, insular neighborhood-infested, and deceptively segregated NYC (despite NYC's bogus reputation as a "melting pot"). Don't let the 2011 remix of Brooklyn fool you. One hilarious night I had on the town explains it all. Or, maybe I'm just getting old!
P.S. - Heavy D and "Smokin" Joe Frazier, Rest in Peace. Your contributions to this world will never be forgotten.
Root for the Villain official pre-order begins now!
After weeks of last minute annoyances, British vs. U.S. punctuation rules (and their roles in copy editing hell at the 11th hour), and explaining why my book was technically available on Amazon but I hadn't said anything (all long stories), the time has come! Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure is officially available at the J-Zone store on Createspace.com and on Amazon.com now! Get your copy of my curmudgeonly, rap-inspired, bullshit-assailing tome today!
I'd like to thank all of my fellow cassette tape lovers and supportive readers that ordered their books directly from me / this site. The support showed yesterday was overwhelming. So overwhelming that I've run out of books and have to dub 57 sets (that's 114 tapes in total) of audiobooks by hand! (Please be patient, I'm doing this 24/7 and looking for another cassette deck.) Therefore, the book is only available via the above createspace and amazon stores at the moment. It will soon be available at sandboxautomatic.com, turntablelab.com, and other one-stop spots for hip-hop paraphernalia. The direct purchase option will be back very shortly; I'm waiting for more books to arrive. No need to bullshit y'all - I'm a one man operation over here and I've simply been stretched to capacity with the resources I've got. I'm human, shit! But I damn sure ain't complaining and ain't averse to busting my ass for the people! Stay tuned for more excerpts, the Kindle version of the book, and feedback from the press. Peace!
Root for the Villain: Slangin' Advance Copies
Official pre-orders (on Amazon, Createspace, and select websites) for my book begin very shortly, but I've always been one to undercut the system. For those interested in a signed copy of Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure straight from yours truly, I'm slangin' 'em in advance. I have to show love for those who appreciate cutting out the middle man.
And that's not all. I really didn't want to do an audiobook, but that the request of Prince Paul, I gave it a go. There's a catch, though. Root for the Villain's audio book is (double) cassette tape only and I only have 30 sets left (I gave my people in the tape appreciation community early dibs on my stash.) That means they're limited edition, so buy em fast, buy em slow, but once they're gone, there ain't no mo'!
Order your book or book + limited edition audiobook on cassette package below. Choose your shipping option, check out and you're done!
Root for the Villain (Book only)
ADVANCE COPIES SOLD OUT!!!
Personalized copy of the book, with one of only 50 copies of the limited edition, double cassette-only audiobook:
Scroll to updates below to read three excerpts from the book. If that ain't enough to convince your stodgy ass, check out this video. It's one part ode to my favorite rap album of all time (Tim Dog's Penicillin on Wax) and one part explanation of what Root for the Villain is all about.
Offical release date for the book is November 15. E-book will be available around that time as well. The war on bullshit begins! Root for the Villain.
Back on the Plantation: When Rappers Get Day Jobs
Third excerpt from Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure. What happens when your rap career ends and money is short? You go the Tim Dog route and juice a woman for comeback album money, you go the Hammer route and launch another search engine, you occupy Wall Street while you starve and freeze, or you (gulp) get a J-O-B!
Pre-ordrers for the book on Amazon, Create Space, or directly through J-Zone himself will begin next week...
Root for the Villain Excerpt: 5 Rap Songs That Got Me in Deep Shit
J-Zone was a well-behaved kid until he discovered rap music. 1990 was the year it all went downhill. A series of ass-whuppings from a girl, an attempted chain snatching, run-ins with knucklehead kids from across town, and other assorted debauchery that greased the wheels of puberty: They're all there. And they're all rap music's fault!
Stay tuned for more excerpts from Root for the Villain, J-Zone's forthcoming collection of off the wall memoirs and rants.
Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure
The back cover.
What do Danger Mouse, Prince Paul, and others have to say about me / and or my book? Read and find out!
Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure
Go Go Gadget Ho!
The first chapter leak from Root for the Villain deals with the "Gadget Ho". You know who he / she is, don't you? One of those cheese bus individuals sitting down at a club / lounge / house party that can't seem to stop texting, "LOL"ing, and emoticon-ing their way through the night. Even worse, zooming in close on an NYC street in Google Earth or Google Maps will reveal folks galore getting their "LOL" on while crossing the street. (I'm rooting for that approaching U-Haul truck to speed up and play a game of Frogger with the Gadget Ho.) I guess appearing interesting and disinterested at the same time (via cell phone) is the new alternative to wearing a taco meat chest-exposing button down shirt or an ass-enhancing mini-skirt. The "Huddle Ho", "Cosmo Ho", "Flash Ho", "Going at Level 2 on the Treadmill While Texting Ho", and the "Holiday (Gadget) Ho" (all of whom are cousins of the traditional Gadget Ho) are discussed in detail as well.
The chapter a bit long, but with all the time you spend on your iPhones, you'll live through it.
Self-publishing isn't an exact science, but I'm looking at an 11/1/11 release date for the book. More info and book content coming next week.
J-Zone: Pay Phone Pimpin' (Video)
Here's a new video / blurb I did on the efficiency of pay phone communication. All of this "LOL", "OMG", wink, all-day text shit gotta go. Pay Phone Pimpin is superior, because conversation holds more meaning when you're paying by the minute. Superman didn't change outfits in a T-Mobile store, either.
J-Zone interview on Flea Market Funk
I've probably done significant damage to my lungs by digging in OSHA-unapproved dumps for records over the last 24 years. Here's an interview I did with Flea Market Funk about record collecting, DJing, Jamaican fish patties, bullshit, and more!
J-Zone Interview (Audio) on Empty Threats Podcast
Bullshit day jobs, old school recording techniques, sampling drum machines of the 1990s, how the world in general has gone soft, and of course, J-Zone's upcoming book, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit and a Celebration of Failure - they're all explored in detail. J-Zone makes a phone-in appearance on the burgeoning and entertaining talk show / podcast, Empty Threats. Kick back and enjoy knowledge-dropping and shit-talking as Zone joins in on a round table rap with hosts Vanderslice and Greensteez (at the 33 minute mark).
Order in the court! We've just gotten wind of a rumor that the English language is taking rap(pers) to court for years of misuse and abuse, both accidentally and on purpose. This trial could get ugly, hold on to your thesaurus! Judge J-Zone presiding... let's see who wins in this grammatical standoff. Click the link to J-Zone's Ego Trip blog (below) for court side action!
What do Tim Dog, 70s cop shows, and Mob Style have in common? All three are under appreciated, misunderstood, or both. That makes them villainous and prime candidates for appreciation 'round these parts. Root for the Villain and its selected excerpts for preview have been slated for October and September, respectively, but I won't leave you hanging. Check some of these appreciation posts (along with other brain farts) on my Ego Trip blog to fulfill your J-Zone reading requirements in the interim.
J-Zone's Tim Dog appreciation post
J-Zone's '70s cop show appreciation post
J-Zone's Mob Style appreciation post
7 reasons why the remake of the movie Juice will never happen
J-Zone presents... Diggin in the (VHS) tapes: 1991 Wu-Tang footage
Apologies for the delayed book excerpts; I'm just trying to get things done with some regard for good timing for the first time in my career. Stay tuned...
I'll be publishing my first book, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure, this fall. Those who dug my grumpy old man tirades and general lampoonery from years past might enjoy this collection of curmudgeonly rants, hip-hop-inspired memoirs, humorous outlooks on failure, and think pieces on the general stupidity of the world at large in 2011.
• are over 30
• are a native New Yorker
• often wonder if men are the new women
• feel it's perfectly acceptable to wear a clip-on tie with Master P's face on it to a corporate job interview
• have a college degree that got you two choices in the real world: the broom or the mop
• had the opportunity to work with the legendary musical heroes of your childhood, then your broke ass got sued by one of them for copyright infringement
• stuck a fork in dating in America and are now looking into blow-up dolls due to their low maintenance, low noise level, and low cost (an air-body beats an airhead)
• were robbed for a fake gold chain in the early '90s
• had a music career that kind of went kaput, so you were forced to get a "real" job and fall back into "real world" protocol. It was then you learned that the hip-hop 401k does not exist. Better yet, nothing exists. The Baby Boomers took it all
• are sick of "couple accounts" on Facebook (Fellas, if you allow your girl to create one page for the both of you, her dick is bigger than yours. Furthermore, anyone over the age of 21 trying to "poke" me will be attacked with a Wiffle ball bat)
• still use a Walkman and collect records
• live with your hostile 87-year-old grandmother who passes gas 24/7, leaves her dentures on your bathroom sink, and disrupts pimpin' at the house
• were a hip-hop kid of the '90s and/or enjoy nostalgic music business stories from that era
• plan on entering the music business and want to read true accounts of how utterly dysfunctional and useless most of the people in it are
• are sick of hearing all this bourgeois "Eat, Pray, Love" bullshit on dates. I want NYC's crime rate to return to the 1990 statistics for a week; then you'll really be praying to travel someplace expensive to "find yourself". Shut the fuck up and stop whining
• hate incessant texting, emoticons, internet lingo from grown ass men and women (ROTFL, OMG and similar dreck), "Gadget Hoes", "Flash Hoes", and "Cosmo Hoes". (Note: If you come to the club solely to text all night or to ask me to take a picture of you and your raggedy bird-ass friends holding drinks, those last three terms apply to you)
• are a curmudgeon with an allergy to bullshit
• don't stand a chance in life doing anything that doesn't involve purchasing a Mister Softee ice cream truck, but truly believe that one day you will run for mayor and win…
This book is for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Root for the Villain is for 0.0002% of the world's population and will probably sell like it. It's my first attempt at publishing a book after having my work published in bits and pieces over the years, so pardon me while I figure this out on the fly. More info and chapter previews coming soon! In the meantime, check out other rants, appreciation posts, and cheapshots at the world at large on my Ego Trip blog
Serious inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org