INTERVIEW: Justis Bratt – Energetic and empowering

INTERVIEW: Justis Bratt – Energetic and empowering

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Justis Bratt, is an American rapper, model, dancer, and actress. On Feb 14th she released her second EP “Spoiled Batt”. This energetic and empowering project kicks off with “Run It Up”, which centers around a classic hip-hop beat, a catchy bass line, and the encouragement of breaking away from the pack and being a powerful, independent woman living to your own tempo. The message is clear, but so is the need to play this in a club and get everyone on their feet moving. “Got Milk?” deals with a modern twist on the age old song “Milkshake.” Justis Bratt takes this bass bumping, fun, hip-hop beat and gives it a feminine touch. This song discusses female empowerment, loving your body no matter what size or shape you are, and shaking what your mama gave you. The final track to close the EP, is “LHPS” (Long Hair Pretty Skin). This track is, not only a crowd favorite [due to its commercial success], but, it’s a bass filled, hard, trap beat that Justis Bratt flips around into a booty shaking, hair flipping, self-loving rap anthem. The EP’s high energy vibe gets the listener moving to fast-paced beats as well as empowering them to be the main character in their life; a sure fire record on any hip-hop and rap playlist.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?

Justis Bratt: trying to pinpoint exactly where I came from is actually kinda hard because, due to my family’s very poor beginnings, we moved around a lot, so I never really had a city to call home. So, I claim the overall state of Virginia as my hometown because that’s the state I spent most of my life. Music has always been a part of my life. My brothers, sisters, and I started off as a rap group. We called ourselves “The Trail Kids” because of the trailblazer we rode around in. At that time, we promoted clean music for kids. All of my other siblings grew out of music, but passion for it only kept growing and when I was around 13 I knew music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

  1. Do you handle both the songwriting and beats on your songs, or do you collaborate with others?

Justis Bratt: I do all of my own songwriting. I made a promise to myself that I would never be a rapper with a ghost writer. One of my proudest traits is that I write all of my music. Music producing though? Yeah nah, I can’t produce to save my life haha. And it’s sooo sad because I can hear beats in my head that I want to create, but when it comes to putting it together, my hands just don’t know what to do lol. I find all of my beat producers on YouTube. You can find GREAT quality producers on YouTube. Small people, just like me, that are talented as fuck and just looking for a chance.

  1. Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?

Justis Bratt: My earliest musical inspiration was and always will be Beyoncé. One of my favorite parts about being a musician is being able to perform. I looooove the theatrics that come along with performance. I love costumes, dancing, putting together stage equipment, and etc. Without Beyoncé, I wouldn’t be the same performer that I am today

  1. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?

Justis Bratt: I want everyone listening to my music to simply have a good time. I hope my lyrics are resonating

  1. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?

Justis Bratt: Oooohh yeahhh I spent a lot of time emulating myself after other artists. When I was 6 I wanted to be just like Beyoncé. When I was 10 all I wanted to do was be just like Nicki Minaj. When I was 12 I swore I was gonna be the black hip hop Lady Gaga. I’ve only recently come into what I like to call “my musical awakening.” I’m grown now, I’ve come into my womaness, and the more I fall in love with myself, the more I open up in my music. Who I am right now could possibly be someone else 10 years from now.

  1. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?

Justis Bratt: As much I love to use music as an outlet for my own personal self-expression, it would be foolish to act like music isn’t an important part of a lot of young people’s growth. I know when I was younger I used listening to music as an outlet for literally all of my problems. So, just as I make music for myself, I do my best to keep in mind that I’m potentially influencing an audience.

  1. Do you write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will empathize with your sound?

Justis Bratt: I feel like I do a blend of both. I like to keep up with the trends and create what I know for a fact people are going to enjoy and want to listen to. But, I d o it in a way where I add my own twist to it because no one likes a carbon copy.

  1. Could you describe your creative processes? How do you usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, or a narrative in your head?

Justis Bratt: It’s always a narrative in my head first. I could be on a run, and then all of a sudden a lyric will come in my head and I HAVE to jot it down IMMEDIATELY. One thing after another, I have a verse sitting in my head and I HAVE to find a beat to put it to.

  1. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or career so far?

Justis Bratt: One of hardest parts of trying to be a rapper is getting yourself out there. It’s really hard trying to convince people to give you a chance, you know? And even though I know my music is good and I know I perform phenomenally on stage, trying to keep up with constant changes of the industry is not only hard but it’s also sooooo expensive. But it’s all about not giving up.

  1. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?

Justis Bratt: The proudest moment in my career happened very recently actually. I was riding in a car the other day and decided to google myself and I found this website that keeps track of every artist’s chart achievements. Well, somehow I missed it when it was actually there, but my song LHPS had reached #13 on iTunes South Africa. I cried actual tears of happiness that day. It was one of those moments where you sit back and think to yourself “holy shit I might actually make it.” Mind you, I’m not signed to a label. I chatted on iTunes, completely independently. I did it all by myself, with my own promotions and marketing. I just hope every independent artist knows that if I can chart in the top 20 of iTunes by myself then you can too.

  1. Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that fans or the media may afford your releases, what’s the one thing about you or your music, you think people overlook or misinterpret most often?

Justis Bratt: There’s this line in my song LHPS that goes “face acute, hips obtuse” and it’s a line I feel like is so underrated because no one ever talks about it. I love that line so much because it’s a pun on acute and obtuse angles. And geometry is my favorite form of math.

  1. If I switched on your media player right now, which artist or song will I most likely hear?

Justis Bratt: If you’re gonna open any playlist of mine you can 100% expect to hear Nicki Minaj. Just about 80% of my playlist is Nicki Minaj. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t listen to Nicki.

  1. If you had a choice to go on tour with any acclaimed international artist in the near future, who would you choose, and why?

Justis Bratt: If I could go on your with anybody it would probably be Billie Eilish. Not only because I love her music, but mainly because our music styles are soooooo different. I think it would be dope to have a half HipHop half E-Girl emo tour.

  1. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?

Justis Bratt: I don’t ever worry about what people say about me online because I know I’m not a problematic person or artist. I never fear being canceled because I always do my best to be a good person on and offline.

  1. Could you tell us something about your latest project and what the highlights are to watch out for?

Justis Bratt: I came out with an EP (Feb. 14th) called “Spoiled Bratt.” It’s an energetic and empowering rap album that features 3 songs. “Run It Up” centers around a classic hip-hop beat, a catchy bass line, and the encouragement of breaking away from the pack and being a powerful, independent woman living to your own tempo. The message is clear, but so is the need to play this in a club and get on their feet moving. “Got Milk?” centers around a modern twist on the age old song “Milkshake.” The EP takes this bass bumping, fun, hip-hop beat and gives it a feminine touch. This song centers on female empowerment, loving your body no matter what size or shape you are, and shaking what your mama gave you. The final track to close the album out is “LHPS” (Long Hair Pretty Skin). This track is, not only a crowd favorite [due to its commercial success], but, it’s a bass filled, hard, trap beat that the EP flips around into a booty shaking, hair flipping, self-loving rap anthem. By the end of the chorus, it’ll have people young AND old singing “long hair pretty skin, bxxxx mad yeah!” This album’s high energy vibe gets the listener moving to fast-paced beats as well as empowering them to be the main character in their life; a sure fire album on any hip-hop and rap playlist.

  1. Do you have a personal favorite track amongst those in your catalog that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?

Justis Bratt: One of my most meaningful tracks (not my favorite though, because my favorite is Run It Up) out of my whole discography is LHPS. LHPS is the first song I ever released to receive any mainstream traction. Before LHPS, I was just another wannabe flop rap artist. LHPS, literally, single-handedly changed my life.

  1. Creative work in a studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?

Justis Bratt: Interaction with a live audience is literally my drug. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am on stage. It’s like having an out of body experience and I’m merely watching another person from a first person point of view. Most performances I don’t even remember what I did on stage. It’s kind of like I blacked out and just became one with the audience, stage, and the music. It’s a beautiful experience.

  1. What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?

Justis Bratt: A mantra I live by is that if you want to succeed you have to invest in yourself. If you’re not willing to spend your own money on YOU to make YOU better, but you’re fine with giving money to all these fast food restaurants, clothing brands, and miscellaneous stores, you’re doing yourself disservice. You’re doing nothing but making somebody else Rich. If there’s a dream that you have. Invest in it. You wanna have your own radio show? But that mic. You wanna be a hairstylist, buy that practice mannequin head. You wanna be a rapper. Get out of your city and buy that bus or plane ticket to where the shows are so you can be seen. If you’ll spend the same amount of meal at McDonald’s, then you can spend it on yourself too. It’s gonna be hard. It always is. But nothing ever comes easy. The road to success and satisfaction doesn’t come with roller skates. You crawl that road with bare feet. Nothing worth it ever comes easy.

  1. How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft?

Justis Bratt: Oh yessss music videos are sooo important in giving your audience a try look at how you are as an artist. I recommend that everybody go watch my Minecraft Music Video for LHPS. I edited it myself. I promise you it’ll not only give you a good laugh, but the editing is quite impeccable if I do say so myself.

  1. What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?

Justis Bratt: The most rewarding thing ever is knowing that one day maybe 60 years from now there will be somebody on this earth who knew who I was a musician. I believe that we live in the memories of other people and if there could be at least one person to keep my spirit alive after death, then that’s the most rewarding thing ever.

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