IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
JUS RAZ: I was born in Romania and moved to Texas when I was 7-years-old. I currently reside in Denton, which is part of the DFW area in Texas.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
JUS RAZ: I’ve had an interest in all kinds of art forms since I was very young. My music background really began when I started drawing and painting. My dad was a musician when he was my age so that probably explains why I have a passion for music. I got into Hip Hop when I was a teenager, mostly because that’s what my best friend listened to. Seeing the Hip Hop movement was more than just music, it included break dancing and graffiti and all these were part of the same culture, and I loved every part of it. My drawings began to look very colorful and stylized and I would practice dancing in my garage multiple nights a week. I started as a fan of Hip Hop and now was trying to be a representative of it, so obviously, I was going to attempt to be a MC. It started as freestyles while riding around with my friends and then I tried to write my first song. Lil Wayne was my biggest influence at the time, so mixtape tracks were all the rage. Using a headset microphone and audacity, I recorded my first song to the “Knuck If You Buck” instrumental. It was terrible, but it was my first recorded song. I put it up on Myspace and started getting a buzz around the school, so I made a second track…and then a third…and many, many more. I improved on the quality each time I made a new song. Handling my own equipment, I learned to engineer, my own at least, and mix down tracks. Over time, I improved my equipment and my style and started working with other artists too. Through schooling, I’ve worked on my art abilities as well. I got my BA at UNT and started using my graphic design skills for my music profile and other artists, mainly for funding my music.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
JUS RAZ: I believe I’m something unique to the game. I don’t think I’m the best…cause there’s already a lot of dope cats just in the local area, but I do have something different. I think it’s more than just recording music, because performing at shows is like a drug! I make a lot of my music with intent that I’ll be performing it on stage at some point.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
JUS RAZ: Well as far as subject matter, I try to tackle it all. My music is often a reflection of my experiences, they are the easiest things to talk about. I think I’m a regular dude and I try to make music that regular people can relate to. I don’t want to be anybody’s idol, just respect me for my craft.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
JUS RAZ: My influences come from multiple genres. Some of the major Hip Hop ones right now are Curren$y, Big KRIT and MF Doom. I’m a fan of EDM so I find inspiration in music by Skrillex and Knife Party, as well as Death Metal bands like Emmure and Upon a Burning Body. My biggest influence has to be Michael Jackson.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
JUS RAZ: I make highly energetic Hip Hop music. I like to incorporate a lot of wordplay into my music, so I want fans to listen closely to what I say in each song. I like my voice sounding the way it is, so I don’t try to put too many effects, but I often ad-lib and add other effects in the background to make the a track richer.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
JUS RAZ: Although there’s a few in Romania, I’ve never met another Romanian MC in the US. My story is different from a lot of people and sharing that through my music helps separate me from others. I also have the ability to create my own graphics and visuals, and not many people have these skills. I may not be the best dancer in the world, but I incorporate that into my image as much as I can. To me it’s more than just making the music, I have to be an entertainer. I have to show that Jus Raz has that powerful energy from the music, to the videos, to the stage performances.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Tell us about one of your hardest challenges you had to face in your music career and how did you overcome?
JUS RAZ: My biggest challenge was making those around me believe and respect that I wanted to be a real MC. Because of how I look, it was kind of hard to convince others that I’m a Hip Hop artist. So I worked real hard on my lyrical content and I let people underestimate me. I still face these challenges today, but I’m confident in my ability to prove that I’m an MC. I like it when people underestimate me because it ends up being those people who show the greatest interest in my music after.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are working on?
JUS RAZ: In February, I put up the Pen to Pad mixtape online and there’s a bonus track on it called “S2GH2” (Something to Get High to) which features local artist, Texas Finest. We’re pushing that as a single for the summer and we’re working a music video for that song. I have two artists that I mainly work with, Jone’ Music and Texas Finest and we are working on some collab mixtapes together. We’re not an official crew, we’re more focused on marketing ourselves as individual artists, but secretly we are The Regulators. I’ve been dropping hints in my music about The Regulators but I don’t think it’s something to release to public just yet. I’m also working with a producer from Cincinnati named Phresh Kyd. I found him online and did a couple of tracks to his beats and then I decided to ask him if he wanted to do a collabo EP. He liked what I created so he was down to start on that project.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JUS RAZ: I want to be able to live well off my music and provide for my family. I’d like to get signed to a label that will allow me to fully express myself as an artist. I’m not looking for fame, but if you’re good, it comes with. I have a Bachelor’s degree and have the option of settling down as a graphic designer at a company but I have too much passion for making music. If I can feed my family and pay my bills on the music that I love to make, then that’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. Truth be told, if I’m not successful in making music 10 years from now, then I’m probably dead.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
JUS RAZ: Well it’s actually pretty easy. Google search “Jus Raz” and the first 10 links will be my stuff, having a unique name helps separate me from all the other artists. I’m always posting my newest music on SoundCloud and Reverb Nation, as well as other sites. I try to keep up with Twitter and Instagram and all that, but I don’t really have time to be posting everything I’m doing, I’m a very busy guy. Your best bet is to become a fan of the Jus Raz music page on Facebook, which I keep updated constantly. There you will find links to my music, art, video, and all kinds of events.
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