Posts Tagged ‘j-zone’

Important Indie Hip-Hop Releases

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

I’m not saying all these are classics, though many are. I’m not saying that some of these are even the best releases by these artists. I am saying that these are some of the most important independent hip-hop releases of all-time, in my opinion. These 36 albums, many of which are still influential to this day, helped define the genre.

This isn’t a definitive list and I know there are plenty more that deserve a spot, but these are my selections (no order). Indie hip-hop is the foundation. There is no major without it. I hope many of you have listened to most of these, because they are the very reason we still invest in the music today. I could easily have made this into 50+ with The Best Part, Time Waits For No Man, Movies For The Blind, Beauty And The Beat, Champion Sound, A Piece of Strange, Revolutionary Vol. 1- 2, Leak Bros, the list can go on and on. I’d love to hear your picks, please post them on our Facebook or Instagram or in the comment section below. –Philaflava

Take It Personal: Hip-Hop Mount Rushmore

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Episode 9 might be titled the Calm Before The Storm, but it’s anything but. Our next show will be a DJ Premier tribute, so we wanted to take a short break from the tributes and get back to the traditional potpourri show. Special guest, Aaron Wade, sat in with us as we discussed and dissed each other’s Hip-Hop Mount Rushmore. We also announced the winner of our Evolution of The B-Boy Sticker pack contest and play some ridiculously dope music from Mobb Deep, Jeru The Damaja, Brand Nubian, Kool G. Rap, Gang Starr, Ice Cube, Das EFX, People Under The Stairs, Insight, J-Zone and Supastition. Plus, we threw in some new jawns by King Magnetic, Kendrick Lamar and a special K-Def/DJ 360 Beneficence remix. So, while you’re listening. think of who you’d put on your Mount Rushmore and then share your picks with us in the comment section. RIP Don Rickles!

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OpJay Interview: J-Zone

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

If you haven’t been following, our lil’ brother blog OpinionatedJay has been running weekly feature called Tuesdays with. This past week J-Zone was the guest and he talks just about everything, so don’t sleep. And don’t forget to stayed tuned for more interviews dropping every Tuesdays on

Click for full interview

You took a little break from music. Was there ever a point where you felt like fuck this shit, I’m just going to do something completely different with my life?

Definitely. Early 2009 I just didn’t have it anymore and I got into a slump. It never really went way after that. My studio got messed up in a flood that summer and I boxed up all my equipment and put it away for about a year and a half because I got to the point where I actually hated the thought of making music, which had never happened to me before. From late 2008 through spring of 2011 I was focused on trying to get established in the traditional job world and quit doing music. I had no plans of returning to music, despite artist retirement being notoriously bullshit.

Nine years later you’re finally releasing a new solo Peter Pan Syndrome, what can folks expect to hear on this album that they wouldn’t find on any of the previous ones?

It’s more honest than the previous ones and even though it’s pretty silly, profane and low-brow like the rest of my stuff, there’s an undertone of seriousness and vulnerability that wasn’t there before. I’m older and am dealing with different life shit. I use the humor to make it digestible and entertaining, but there’s a lot of self-realization that I never approached as an artist before.

The last album your bought, you wish you hadn’t?

I liked everything I bought, but I borrowed Watch the Throne from my local library on a recommendation from a friend and that was a bit of a mistake.

You’re a villain, so I’m going to list some other villains and I want you to rank them in order of greatness. Darth Vader, MC Ren, Mama Fratelli, Biff Tannen, Buffalo Billl, Ivan Drago and Doctor Doom.

MC Ren, Mama Fratelli, Darth Vader, Doctor Doom, Biff Tannen, Buffalo Bill and Ivana Drago.

causes problems in other areas of my life like relationships. I’ll probably never be able to start a family or retire.

You’ve had a few jobs during your hiatus, which was the worst of them?

Actually none of the jobs were terrible, it’s more that the pay was so low and there was no room to advance. But the data entry job at the school was tedious. Id leave the school with my eyes burning and headaches. It paid like $50 per 8 hour day after taxes and gas money. I had to quit to finish my book because there was no way I could hold 2 other side jobs and still write a book. My body didn’t allow it. Lame as it sounds, I give a ton of credit to people who can pursue arts careers full steam and still work a full time day job. People do it all the time but I can only go 100% one way or the other. I tried. I Just can’t do that 50/50 shit. If I gotta get a full time job it’s a wrap for the J-Zone shit. If I do the J-Zone shit, it’s gotta be full steam. I never could do both and still be adequate at either one.

Click for full interview

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger Returns w/Recap

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Keeping tradition here at T.R.O.Y. we’ll be bringing back our Guest Blogger posts that we’ve done over the years. We’ve had a lot fun with these because we’ve been able to deliver a different side of our guests. Every one has been slightly different, but the goal has always been to exhibit something new that we didn’t know or expect for that matter. Below are links from some of our previous editions. Check ’em out if you haven’t already. Refresh those that you once read years ago and get ready for some more guest bloggin’ about to be in full effect. –Philaflava

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/J-Zone

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/MF Grimm

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Sean Price

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Jean Grae

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Tame One

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/ Chip Fu

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/B-Real

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/9th Wonder

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Blockhead

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/ AJ Woodson (JVC Force)

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/Superstar Quamallah

Waka Flocka Flame, Celph Titled, and The Tim Dog Effect

Friday, November 5th, 2010

(Or How We Can Learn To Stop Worrying And Bump The Bomb)…

Waka Flocka Flame “Live By The Gun”

Celph Titled “Eraserheads”

Producer/rapper/author J-Zone ((Read about his upcoming book in his guest blogger entry.)) helmed a short-lived but excellent blog over at Dante Ross’s site; his writing is filled with praise for “guilty pleasures,”  rappers whose simplistic or seemingly ignorant approach results in their absence from high-minded discussions of great music. J-Zone asserts that personality is key and the right combination of charisma, humor, and eccentricity is often more memorable than artistic pretense or technical prowess. He reasons that certain “bad” rappers are able to infuse their personality into the very structure of a song; their gritty deliveries, unsophisticated lyrics, and bizarre ad-libs function as additional instrumentation; violent and/or profane content adds a visceral thrill. ((Read his post “Great ‘Bad’ Rappers” in which he explains his appreciation for the unorthodox styling of Tim Dog, but also the Disco Rick, Project Pat, and Group Home’s Malachi The Nutcracker.)) I call this “The Tim Dog Effect” after the  Bronx emcee of “Fuck Compton” fame that J-Zone praises for his ability to turn his bare-bones rhymes and even a series of grunts ((Check “Dogs Gonna Getcha” if you don’t believe me.)) into a great song. (more…)

T.R.O.Y. Guest Blogger w/J-Zone

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’m currently finishing my first book entitled Root For The Villain, a collection of short stories, anecdotes and essays. The book takes humorous, nostalgic and sarcastic looks at interning in hip-hop recording studios in the early 90’s, socializing and dating disasters in post-gentrification NYC, semi-famous rappers coming to my house and clogging my toilet, cassette tape and record collecting, Gadget Hoes (only the book can explain that one), androgynous fashion, relationships, what it feels like to watch rappers you grew up idolizing ruin their legacies with Myspace bulletins for $200 verses, me getting sued by my childhood idol, going back into the working world after a decade in the music business, what its like to live with your grandmother as a grown ass man and much much more.

It‘s almost like a J-Zone album, but in book form. If you‘re over 30, a curmudgeon or felt Snoop Dogg deserved an Oscar for his performance in Baby Boy, you’ll definitely relate to it. Root For The Villain is slated for a 2011 release. And now on to the lists… [ed. – lists are after the jump] (more…)

J-Zone’s "Ign’ant" Mixtape Series

Monday, September 21st, 2009

J-Zone has always been one of NYC hip-hop’s most under-appreciated musicians. The man came onto the scene in the late 90’s, carving a niche all his own which was defined through his sharp wit and undeniable talent for creating unassuming and completely original rap music. Never making commercial concessions, J-Zone albums have always been unabashedly ignorant, extremely hilarious, and impeccably produced. These qualities are what initially distinguished Zone from the flotsam and jetsam clogging up the New York underground, and have continued to distinguish him for a decade.

Over the past ten or so years, Zone has also proven to be extremely prolific. In addition to dropping five traditional “beats & rhymes” solo records, he’s released an instrumental concept soundtrack for a fake movie, three remix projects, a duo album with Celph Titled, seven instrumental compilations, and most recently, a concept record themed around the St. Ides malt liquor radio ads from the early nineties. That’s not even touching his impressive production clientele, which includes Biz Markie, Tame One, Akinyele, and MF Grimm.

As stated above, Zone has always shown a penchant for the ignorant, illustrated through songs like “Ho Kung Fu!” and “Jailbait Jennifer.” According to Zone himself, the influence came from a variety of places:

“I grew up on Black Comedy albums. Rudy Ray Moore, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, LaWanda Page, Blowfly, Redd Foxx. My family had all that shit and I used to make tapes of ’em and play em in school for my friends. That foul, funny and low budget element of those records was very prevalent in a lot of Southern and West Coast rap and I loved it. All the Rap-A-Lot shit, 2 Live Crew, Bustdown, Poison Clan, NWA, JCD & The Dawg Lb….Those records were like hip hop versions of those comedy albums. But I also was a fan of New York stuff because I was a funk fan and record collector and the samples drew me in. So when I created my sound it was like a lighter version of the subject matter and vibe of the ignorant shit and the offbeat sampling of the classic NY shit.” – J-Zone, 2007

In 2003, J-Zone decided to pay homage to those records and dropped the first volume of his “Ign’ant” mix series, with volume two released a year later. Nearly sixty combined tracks of the most unapologetic and completely misogynistic, violent, and just plain offensive rap music known to man. A pre-No Limit Master P, Poison Clan, and Willie D all make appearances alongside lesser-known regional talents like Ron C, X-Raided, and Disco Rick & The Dogs. Trust, if C. Delores Tucker had heard these mixes she probably would have dropped dead instantly. The first volume (released through the Black Jesus World imprint) has been out of print for a few years now, so good luck finding a physical copy. As far as the second volume is concerned, I’ve never seen it for sale, either online or in stores, so I would assume that it’s either a tour exclusive or a bonus disc for one of Zone’s solo efforts.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to clear out a party, offend your neighbors, or are just plain having a bad day look no further than these two mixes. Trust me, the music more than speaks for itself; it straight knocks. Burn these two mixes for play in the Protege and become a connoisseur of the ign’ant.

– Echo Leader