Lil J is a white rapper from Westwood MA and a current student at Bryant University. He writes over both classic and original hip-hop beats. Rap is his true passion, almost to the point of obsession. He says his music can be considered “clowning”. After the release of his “Idols” EP, where he paid homage to his heroes and idols, Lil J came back with the follow-up, “Idols 2”, which over and above containing songs to his idols, also discusses Lil J’s dreams as a rapper. He is following that up with his new mixtape, “Stoner Chick” which which dropped on 2/14.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
LiLJ: I started rapping my junior year of college when I was around 19/20. Me and buddies would throw on a beat on YouTube and just spit. We never really took it serious, just something fun. One of my homies Nick also known as Pasty White Boy had made a few tapes on SoundCloud. We all joked around that we were going to make a tape. There was one event in particular that made me realize rap is something I want to pursue. One night in February of 2016, I was delivered a very special message. After a night of heavy chronic smoking and indulging in a highly potent marijuana edible (a firecracker) this message was delivered to me in my sleep. I rarely remember my dreams, especially when I smoke weed, but this dream in particular I remembered. I can still remember to this day. In that dream, I found myself in a hot-boxed room in front of a wall of smoke. Out stepped Andre Romelle Young, better known as Dr. Dre. In this dream, we smoked some blunts together and then told me that there was a special reason for his visit. Dre told me that he had come to deliver a message which came straight from God. In this message, you told me that I was to become a rapper along with my accounting study. He told me that as long as I never quit and put in the work, that I was gonna make it big; even saying that I was going to be the “White Snoop Dogg”. I wrote about what he had to say in my song “Lil Buddy” off my first mixtape, Idols. After that dream, I can tell you that it changed me forever, for the better. I hope I can meet Dr. Dre and all my idols one day and make fire raps with them.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
LiLJ: One of the first rappers I listened to where homies like 50 Cent, The Game and Eminem. As I got older, I expanded my repertoire of rappers I listened to. I have 12 Idols from whom I derive my inspiration for my music and they are Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Eazy-E, Tupac, Freddie Gibbs, Wiz Khalifa, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game and Nas.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
LiLJ: I listen to the music put out by my idols a lot. But honestly, I listen to many other rappers too. Just whatever is fire honestly. I don’t listen to the radio much … it’s become trash. I would love to collaborate with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
- Where does the moniker Lil J come from?
LiLJ: It was a nickname I got in college and decided to use it as my rap name.
- What do you think separates you from the crowd of emcees emerging right now?
LiLJ: I have faith and grit, two things that you can’t teach.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
LiLJ: Haven’t entertained a live audience yet, but I feel both would be equally fun.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this highly competitive business day after day?
LiLJ: Love. I have so much love for rap, it’s my passion. I do not get paid now, so it is just kind of a hobby. However, I hope one day someone will recognize my talent and I will get paid for this.
- What would you consider a successful or high point in your career so far?
LiLJ: My latest release called Stoner Chick.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle yourself, and which do you outsource generally?
LiLJ: I write my own lyrics on pen and paper. I usually writ over classic hip-hop beats, But recently I have been using some I had found on YouTube or beats for lease/purchase. I record on a laptop with my beats headphones. That’s pretty much it.
- What do you feel your listeners should get out of your music?
LiLJ: My music I real. I rap about my life, my idols, love and the world around me.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music so far?
LiLJ: Just trying to find my voice and get my music heard more.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
LiLJ: I love writing, that parts always exciting. Something about putting a song together, that is so satisfying. It can be discouraging when you don’t get the attention you feel you deserve. Nevertheless, I just keep my head in the game and grind away.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
LiLJ: Right now it’s all me
- If you had the opportunity to change one thing about the music business, what would that be?
LiLJ: Greater ease of access gaining in contact with A/R executives.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
LiLJ: Clowning and dead-pan comedy. I am a funny guy but I can be subtle about it.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
LiLJ: Absolutely. I have my songs on Soundcloud and I have some people listening from far away places like Denmark.
- Tell us something about your “Stoner Chick” release and where fans can find it.
LiLJ: Stoner Chick is about my quest for love. It can be found on my SoundCloud Page
- What is your relation with visual media and YouTube etc. Have you released any videos clips for fans to see?
LiLJ : I appear on The Adventures of Pasty White Boy Episode 2. It’s a TV show based around at my homie Pasty White Boy’s EP, Friday Night at Mary. I might make a music video at some point.
- If you were stuck on a desert island, which 3 albums would you choose to accompany your stay there?
LiLJ: I would pick Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg, 2001 by Dr. Dre and Raw Footage by Ice Cube.
- Do you have a motto or positive message stuck somewhere in your mind to inspire you, or anybody else, at any given time? If so, what would it be?
LiLJ: I’ll leave you with these two quotes: “You might not have a car or a big gold chain, but stay true to yourself, and things will change” – Snoop Dogg and “If I was a plumber or something like that, I’d still make hip hop records. That’s how much love I have for it” – Dr. Dre