Interview with JDVBBS
- by Natan Press
JDVBBS' first album is exciting and engaging. So much so that he’s the Deli DC’s Artist of the month for February. His tracks expose a wide variety of influences, interests, and skill. It’s a superlative introduction, and we can’t wait for more. We had to know how he did it. Here he explains how a boy from the suburbs has so much control over urban sound.
What is your musical background? What are your musical and artistic inspirations, generally?
I started playing piano when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I would try to emulate what I heard on the radio and then play it when I got to my cousin's house. I was in band and chorus in high school and majored in music at James Madison University studying classical tenor, accompanying different ensembles and directing an a Cappella group.
I try to draw from all of those influences when creating and then I'll rap when I see fit (which is almost all the time)
Where does the name JDVBBS come from? Where does the album name subURBAN come from?
J-Dub (or something very similar) was something that my high school friends used to call me. I didn't go to college with any of my friends from high school so when I got to JMU one of my dormmates started calling me Juicy J (Stay Fly was a hot record at the time) and it spread like wildfire. Obviously that wasn't a route I could take so I went back to my roots. subURBAN stems from the idea that I make urban music influenced by the suburbs in which I grew up. I'm not one to perpetrate how rap, rapping and rappers should appear and I think that title states that fairly clearly. I even used a birdseye view of the suburb I grew up in.
What got you into hip-hop? Why did you decide to become an emcee? What is the inspiration behind the lyrics? What are you trying to say?
I think 8 mile had a huge impact on the young listeners of hip-hop at the time. I appreciate dudes like Rakim, Wu-Tang, Biggie, people before my ear really knew what I was listening to but I was raised on records like Life and Times Vol. II, Flesh of My Flesh and the Marshall Mathers LP. I rapped and wrote bars on the low starting in high school but never really did anything with it outside of freestyling at parties and recording goofy songs at my house in college and one day it was just like "I know what I'm doing, I should do more of this."
Do you produce your own beats? If not who does? What is the inspiration behind the music? What are you trying to express?
On this album I produced everything (More than a woman was a beat from a friend that I reworked). I knew what I wanted to do with this one and I really wanted to show me off as well as use the songs I sampled in a brand new way. The samples are fairly recognizable (some more than others) but I wanted to re-invent them in a style that fit me a little better and provide a familiar yet fresh take on music. I hope there's a little bit of something for everyone on this album.
As far as what's next I've got a lot of the next full-length project already written. I'm also a huge fan of covers so I wanna do a bunch of those as well. Expect a lot of music from me in 2014.