J-MO: I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and grew up in the Crestmont Park subdivision located in South Park an area located in Southeast Houston. South Park is home to many of Houston’s rap artists and DJ’s, both well-known and the obscure, and I have had the privilege to interact with most of them in one capacity or another.
IAA: What is your music background?
J-MO: I received a tape recorder as a gift in 1975 for my 5th birthday that I petitioned from my parents so I could make “mix-tapes” by taping my favorite songs off the radio. The commencement of my dream consisted of a 5 year old boy putting songs on one tape so I could hear only the songs I wanted to hear. The results were crude at best but the foundation of the idea was solidified. As I began to grow I honed my skills simply by observing DJ’s I was encountering throughout my neighborhood and surrounding areas. I started driving at age 15 and I needed music for my ride to blast on my sound system as I rode through the club parking lots or MacGregor Park on Sundays. Therefore I would compile my music with friends who made mix-tapes and I would have something “personal” to ride with. When I spent summers in Southern California with my cousins we attended house parties where I heard different music from what we were listening to in Texas. While I was there I developed a relationship with a guy who made mix-tapes for people in his neighborhood and I would bring back mix-tapes from there when I returned home. I also took piano lessons for a few years in high school and even had a drum set as a small child.
IAA: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
J-MO: I enjoy concocting mix-tapes with an incessant vibe. The listener shouldn’t have to skip songs and have only 2 or 3 tracks they want to hear on the entire project. The music should grab the listener in a way that makes them ruminate! I was also inspired by the words of Grandmaster Flash, “We all have gifts. Listen to the voice in your head. Never let anybody abort the embryo of your thoughts because what you have might be what the world is waiting for.” In conclusion, there is a fan base for what I do and also a definite appreciation in the hip-hop community for providing a platform for upcoming artists to showcase their talent.
IAA: What are your songs about?
J-MO: I use music I want to hear when I drive with beats that will compliment the sounds of my vehicle. My basic concept is to arrange a playlist and mix it together without interrupting the mood. Prior to the convenience of flash drives and iPods people fumbled with tapes and compact discs to inject into their car’s head unit. I mainly use rap music and some R&B, but I also enjoy incorporating disco or funk because I love music from the seventies. I get ideas for songs when composing playlist from movies, social media, and artists on Reverb Nation because they are unsigned and it’s underground music. Combining both underground and main stream music together is another formula I have embraced. Therefore my listeners may get a wide spectrum of music on one mix-tape with an uninterrupted flow. I also sometimes put together skits to integrate somewhere on the mix-tape to show my creative skills and adopted it as my method of operating. For instance, I like to take a scene from a movie and lay it over a dope instrumental to create a track of its own. With all of these factors in mind I produce a mix-tape that is my own personal radio station with commercials included so to speak.
IAA: Who is your fan base directed towards?
J-MO: My target audience is rap music fans that love this genre of music and invite the idea of recapitulating songs that are embodied in it. I don’t strive to be the first one to put the most popular or “hottest” songs on my mixes but rather pride myself in exhibiting my sense of nostalgia by consolidating music regardless of the year it was recorded. My fan base is receptive to music in general and is detached from chronological boundaries.
IAA: Who are your musical influences?
J-MO: My early influences were Gerald Sampson, Egypt E of The Terrorists, Derrick Winfree known as DJ Agg of Radio One, Darrell Scott, DJ Screw, DJ Juiz, Jaime in California, Byron Rose and my personal mentor, Patrick Rose known as DJ Skillz. There are many other guys that I ran across along the way but my memory fails me right now and I can’t remember all the names. However, I assimilate pieces of them all.
IAA: How would you describe your music to people?
J-MO: I’m in my own lane. I put together playlists that I want to hear and ideas come from what I may be feeling at the time. It is not influenced by what is popular at the time or what people are expecting to hear entirely. It seeks to capture true music lovers who want to hear songs that stretch across decades come together on one project. My main goal is to entertain people by giving them insight into music that affects me one way or another. Oftentimes people comment about songs being old but I believe music gets better as it matures.
IAA: What makes you stand out from other artists?
J-MO: I don’t use tags in my mixes or talk over the music excessively. If I decide to say something it is usually at the beginning or the end of the music and short-lived. I call it, “staying out of the mix.” I don’t want to get in the way of the music because I feel like then it becomes too much about me. The music will speak for itself and is the priority to the listener in the first place. I’m identified with my work by the sound of the music, song selection and the way it is ingeniously mixed together. Besides, the tags get annoying after awhile. My experience also helps me stand out. I was born in 1970 and I have a colossal mental catalog of songs and was around when rap originated. Therefore my song selection is all-inclusive and not limited to songs of the present day. I also play songs to completion before bringing in the next song. In other words, the song will not be cut off but still mixed at the end to blend with the next song when applicable. My company, J-Mo Productions, is an entertainment company so comedy and movie scenes are incorporated into the music. That’s why I love putting skits I create in my mixes because that is something else that helps me to stand out. It allows me to show another creative side of me, sets the theme according to the title and no one else is doing it.
IAA: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
J-MO: On September 21, 2012 I plan to drop “Product of the System,” which will make reference to the upcoming Presidential election. It should be interesting because I plan to create skits to insert into the mix to entertain the listeners. This mix-tape will provide the perfect opportunity for me to demonstrate my creative skills that I have described in this article. I set that date as my release so any potential first time listeners of my work will get an exclusive performance. On October 8, which is my birthday, I plan to drop “My Time to Shine” in celebration of my birthday and this project will definitely have a celebratory feel. I’m also collaborating on a mix-tape with Rasta Rebel, an artist with the group All About Our Grind (A.A.O.G.) that I manage under J-Mo Productions.
IAA: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
J-MO: Everything I do is represented under J-Mo Productions which is an “entertainment” company. Therefore, I’m involved with videos, movies, short-films, comedy, blogging, writing scripts, apparel, collaborating with other artists and finally an entrepreneur. I manage All About Our Grind (A.A.O.G.) a local rap group here in Corpus Christi, Texas where I have been living since 2005. I also manage DJ Juiz of Maddendz Entertainment a Houston DJ who also makes mix-tapes and also is someone I collaborate with often. DJ Juiz and I did a mix-tape we both mixed on called “Partners-N-Crime” that dropped summer 2011 and it’s still posted on my Reverb Nation page. I also manage Seth McCauley @MyCarMyFreakNMe who brings comedy to your timeline on Twitter. Ultimately I would love to have my own personal website to organize all of my ideas in one area for people to come and be entertained.
IAA: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
J-MO: I use social networks and YouTube to keep fans updated on upcoming projects and my Reverbnation page is my primary hub for acquiring music and video.