Well, this year has started off kind of slow so far in terms of quality hip hop. I’m sure some of y’all might disagree with me (my bloggerhouse brethren Dart Adams would probably tell me I’m crazy), but I’m just having a problem finding a lot that “moves” me so far. Of course the first quarter is always a little slow so there is still hope before I write the year off as a wash. One artist that recently piqued my interest a bit with a handful of songs/freestyles is a somewhat newcomer, J. Monday. The Harrisburg(?), Pennsylvania native has shown some real promise. Not everything I’ve heard from him is up my alley, but the cat J. Monday is diverse enough to bring something for everyone, in terms of styles, lyrics and song topics. His presence on the mic reminds me of something special as he demands attention and is one of the rare cats that makes me focus on the emcee instead of the beat (I’m a self professed beathead). I’m interested in seeing what direction he goes with his music and career, he has the chance to make some noise (the good kind) in the hip hop game.
We had a chance to sit down with the cat and chop it up a bit…..
J. Monday - Love, Hate Freestyle
J. Monday – Memories
J. Monday – My Life
“Wake Your Daughter Up” Spotlight
J. Monday aka The Capital Kid
WYDU: What’s good man, can you drop a little introduction and where you are representing?
J. Monday: Of course, I’m known as J. Monday a.k.a. The Capital Kid. I’m a hungry underground artist reppin’ PA, byways of Harrisburg, the capital for you guys not in the know! I’m definitely shooting to put my city of the map, and more or less open people’s eyes to the fact that Philly isn’t the only place in PA that has hip hop talent.
WYDU: Harrisburg isn’t known to be a hip hop hot bed. Can you describe the scene, both hip hop wise and environmentally, for those of us that are not familiar with it?
J. Monday: Well, if I told you that Harrisburg has a huge hip hop scene I would be lying. But it’s getting better as we speak. You have artist that struggle to be heard, but for the most part things are being accomplished because of DJs and artists, such as myself, that have somewhat of a buzz working together to improve the push of local artists in the streets as well as the club scene.
As far as the environment in Harrisburg, it’s like any other city. Although geographically it’s not as big as Pittsburgh or Philly it still has a lot of the same things happen here as in cities like New York, Atlanta and L.A., just on a smaller scale. Of course, there are different hoods that rappers rep and people, of course, are territorial but honestly it’s growing and a lot of people are immigrating here. Oh, and by the way, we don’t gang bang.
J. Monday: Man I always loved music but it all started when my homie got turntables when we were like ten. I knew my parents couldn’t afford to get me any so I had no choice but to be the dude on the microphone, you feel me! I remember my homie would only have singles and if you let the record play the instrumental beat would eventually come on so that was always my time to shine.
WYDU: Can you shine a little light on your past musically; some of your influences? You also have a couple of mixtapes out there; what’s the insight on those?
J. Monday: Shit man, I’ve done opened for Young Buck, Trey, Fab, Melly Mel – I’ve even rapped on radio stations just to promote for them [laughs]. I guess ain’t shit changed since I was a young buck!
As far as my influences, I would say 2Pac. I loved the way he spoke for the minority. Scarface, Big because of his storytelling and his swagger; he knew he was the shit. Big L’s wordplay and metaphors were insane. Lauryn Hill because I think The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of the best albums of all time. Jay-Z because of his longevity, and he makes you feel like you know him. Last, but not least, Method Man. That nigga was and still is the dude in my opinion – he created his own lane.
WYDU: You seem to be quite versatile with your styles and even the beats you choose to rhyme over. Why is versatility important in your eyes?
J. Monday: Being versatile is key because I think that gets an artist more recognition. Me personally, I like to mix it up, that’s what creativity is all about. They’re a lot of things in life that require us to “stick to the script” but I believe music isn’t one of those things. I mean if you stick to something that’s working that’s cool, but the artists with long stable careers are the ones that constantly re-invent themselves.
WYDU: How would you describe your music to a person that has never heard it before?
J. Monday: Substance! Substance! Substance! I’m not one of those rappers that spits but who is all over the place. If I have to put myself in a box, I’d say it’s “political street” rap with punch-lines, metaphors, stories, etcetera – just what I was feeling at the tim
WYDU: In your eyes, what makes a good emcee? What do you have to takes that to the next level?
J. Monday: A good emcee is someone that makes you feel like you know them. If you look at the greats: Jay, Big, Pac, Nas, Em, Pun – all of those guys were great because they gave you, in detail, their point of view – their life. It keeps people interested because music fans are nosey [laughs]. I’m a give listeners a part of me through my music while telling the story of my city because music fans always are on the hunt for that “new artist.” I believe that artist is me. You got to feel me! [Laughs].
J. Monday: I’m a perfectionist. I’m already 30 tracks in with 12 more to lay down then I’ll have a listening session with my closest homies and cut it down to about 17. The extra tracks will go to DJs. What you can expect is what has happen to me over the last year – very personal experiences.
WYDU: When can the masses expect an album? What would your ideal debut album consist of as far as dream producers, labels, exposure?
J. Monday: I’m a keep giving the people free mixtapes until my buzz is where I want, and need it, to be. I don’t want to press up disc and put together an album and kill myself trying to sell units on a small scale. If you build your buzz thoroughly, then it’ll make it more likely that people will buy your product – work smarter not harder.
But as far as dream producers, I would love to work with Dre and/or Timbaland. Dre because of the artists he’s worked with from Snoop to Em, from 50 to Pac – that’s crazy. And Timbo just because he produces hit after hit in all genres of music. If I could sign to a dream label, shit probably Interscope just because of what they’ve done with pushing their artist, but nah, I’m lying I would want to sign myself, that would be my dream label.
WYDU: What kind of goals do you have in the music industry after all is said and done and you are a sitting in the hip hop retirement home at age 70?
J. Monday: I want to have my own school for the performing arts in Harrisburg just to give kids the opportunity to experience music like I have. Oh, and at 70, shit I don’t think I’ll live that long [laughs]. It’s a nice thought though.
WYDU: Anything else you have on the horizon?
J. Monday: More music. I’m a just talk to the world via the microphone and see where it takes me – ya dig!
WYDU: Any last words you have for the future fans, haters and groupies?