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Interview with Iowa’s J-Trey


29 April 2003 No Comment

New East Side Records act J Trey put their beer down for a minute to speak to us down here in Africa. Peep it.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, how are things doing?

Skylar: Good. Fuck that…better then average.
JT: Amazing.
Jay B: Things are definitly goin’ good.

Your album, “The Time Has Come”, how is that doing and are you happy with how it turned out?

JT: Yeah, I’m real happy about our debut. We are still pretty independent and with all the work indies have to do, I’d say we came out on top with our first release.
Skylar: In our area it’s done about as good as we could expected. I wish we could crack a couple other markets. Other then that I’m happy.

From your bio it says that you’ve been approached by Arista and them, so why go the independent route?

Skylar: Time. We could have spent months, if not years, tryin’ to get a major to give us the real attention a new act needs to make it. So it was more of us HAVING to do it ourselves

What is the hip hop scene like in Iowa?

JT: It’s a small scene. There’s not a lot of cohesiveness. One artist or group pretty much controls their city. We do shows with most of the cats out here, but it’s logistics that holds us back…it’s a long ways to go to collab with other hip hoppers
Jay B: Yeah, and when it comes to demographics there’s not a lot to choose from. We’re not all the stereotypical farmers, but you won’t find too many people strayin’ from the norm of your typical suburban lifestyle.

Tell us a bit about your backgrounds, how did you get involved in all of this?

Skylar: I met Jay B back in the day. We actually worked at a telemarketing place and a pizza joint together before we hooked up as a group. Then we started getting’ some press and JT saw us in some newspaper…the rest is too long to get into but we all hooked up.

How did you hook up with the folks at EastSide Records?

JT: Bullet from Eastside was from Iowa and started trying to network with everybody in his home state. We got one of his emails and after talking to him and realizing he knew 100 times more about the business aspect of music, we knew we had to work with him.
Jay B: He’s taught us so much about the behind the scene shit. Hookin’ up with Bullet has helped us out in more ways then you can imagine.

You obviously have a wide range of tastes judging from the variety of styles you display on your album. What artists influenced you back in the day?

JT: N2Deep and DJ Quick
Skylar: L.O.N.S., A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, The whole Hierogliphics Camp…uh, too many too name.
Jay B: The whole West Coast.

What is it that you listen to now?

Jay B: Snoop Dog for sure. Bullet is in high rotation.
JT: R. Kelly
Skylar: Fuck R. Kelly…pedophile. I’m big into Sage Francis. Yeah Sage…he’s probably, in my opinion, THE BEST OVERALL EMCEE IN THE WORLD. He’ll kill you in a freestyle and murder you with writtens…plus it all has a message. 

If people had to meet you for the first time what would they expect to find?

Jay B: Lots of bitches.
JT: Okay.
Jay B: I’ll rephrase that, hot girls that want my shit.
JT: That’s better. As for me, they’d find a nice gentlemen that wants to pile them.
Skylar: For the record, PILE, is a term that means fuck.

What are your favourite foods and drinks?

JT: Next question.

What would the ultimate J-Trey collaboration track be?

JT: As individual artists we have such different tastes this one is a hard one to answer. Actually me and Jay B have about the same tastes when it comes to rap but Skylar’s into that deep abstract shit that don’t make sense to us.
Skylar: That’s cuz it’s over your heads. Anything that makes you use your head instead of your feet you guys don’t get. 

What would you say is worst thing ya’ll experienced in this music business life?

Jay B: Nothing’s really been too bad. The only thing that really sucks is when you get somebody that says they can do this, or they know so-and-so, or they can get you that, and nothing ends up happening.
Skylar: We’ve learned not to trust all these people that tell us they can get us on some “get famous quick” plan. Fuck you losers who say you know somebody at some record label cuz you don’t.
JT: Exactly.

And what are your best memories of hip hop?

Jay B: Back in the day when Snoop Dogg was everywhere.
JT: I loved hip hop when I was in high school, all the West Coast acts droppin’ classic albums.
Skylar: Listening to Shook Ones Part II for the first time. Listening to the first Tribe album for the first time. Listening to It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back or Fear Of A Black Planet for the first time. OHHHHHH…Listening to T.R.O.Y. for the first hundred times. Those are great memories cuz I can relive them over and over and over.

What do you prefer, working in the studio or performing live?

Skylar: I’ll answer this one for the group. Working in the studio is time consuming and boring. Performing live is where we shine. When you go to a J Trey show you leave knowing your money was well spent. Whenever we play live at a venue for the first time, noone knows what to expect, but we always sell a shit load of CDs and the venue ALWAYS asks us back. So to answer your question…performing live.

If there is anything you want your listeners to gain from listening to your album, what would you want that to be?

Jay B: I don’t know…I never really thought of that. Probably that we are a pretty good group.
JT: I like to rap about beer.
Skylar: Nada.

Are there any plans for touring?

JT: We actually just finished a tour of our home state, Iowa. It went well. We saw a lot of small towns and sold a lot of CDs. But we’d like to hit up the NW with Bullet and Eastside Records one of these days.

Where do you see yourselves at the end of this year?

JT: With a Crown and Coke and a hot chick.
Skylar Johnson: Collabing with Sage Francis.
Jay B: With some Bicardi and a hotter chick.

What are your favourite tracks on this album?

Skylar Johnson: Any track with Jay B singin’ on it.
JT: Welcome To The I.
Jay B: Too many too mention.

You have named it “The Time Has Come”. Is this because you’ve been waiting for a long time?

Jay B: Yeah, our album was a long two years in the making. People in our parts were dyin’ for us to finally release something. So the title just fit us perfect. The Time Has Come.

We’d like to thank you taking the time to talk with us, any last words or shoutouts?

JT: Peace to all the hot chicks that gave me some. I’ll get you back.
Jay B: God Bless and thanks to all the fans who’ve supported us and thanks to Bullet for all the guidence.
Skylar Johnson: Ummm…oh yeah…big ups to MilkDaddy for knowing the sample/loop I used for All The Things…you know your stuff. Another shout out to Rush for getting some dope ass underground emcees featured on your site. He knows his shit as well. 
And I can’t believe you gave us a higher rating then Luke Geraty’s The Before I Sold Out EP! That disc is DOPE.

www.jtrey.com and www.eastsideriderz.com check it out

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