Monday, July 03, 2006

SOUNDSPOT: J-ZONE
I know 90% of you self-proclaimed hiphop headz have been sleepin (straight Nyquil) on my main man J-Zone! Sometimes, I think me and Eharm are the only katz that know about J-Zone? It's time that this brotha get some well overdue shine and recognition for his contributions to the rap game! J-Zone is based out of Queens, New York, and like most young hiphop producers his influences are (the usual suspects) legends like Marley Marl, Pete Rock, DJ Premier and The Bomb Squad! J-Zone was serious about his production, but he did dable a little with rhyming. He was introduced to Vance Wright, who was Slick Rick's longtime DJ/producer and that was when Zone's career starting moving in an upward motion! He began to intern at a local music studio where he developed his skills and overall knowledge about production. While interning he went to college (SUNY Purchase) where he majored in music. His senior music project ended up being his first musical EP released on his own Old Maid Enterntainment label that was titled, "Music for Tu Madre" (vinyl only) back in 1999. Since, he didn't consider himself a rapper, he introduced two of his homeboys Al Shid and Huggy Bear (The Old Maid Billionaires) to the world who handled the majority of the rhyming on the EP. J-Zone was starting to get a buzz on the underground hiphop scene with his debut EP, and respected radio DJ's like Bobbito Garcia was showing Zone some love by spinning tracks from his EP on his radio show as well. There was definitely a large buzz happening for J-Zone on the underground hiphop scene. This was the start of a J-Zone's musical career, but even seven years later many folks still don't know him?

I came across J-Zone on the internet back in 2000! I was on HipHopSite and they were really hyping up his second EP release titled, "A Can of Whup Ass," which is now out of print! After I heard a couple of EP snippets from tracks like "190" featuring Al Shid and "No Consequences" I was immediately a J-Zone fan! He was bringing something different to the game. I had never heard a production style like J-Zone's back then. He could take damn near any sample and make a dope beat out of it. Plus, his unorthodoxed production style was addictive. He was the first producer that I had ever heard who would change the rhythm of the beat cadence during a record! I read something where J-Zone stated that he thought it was boring to keep using the same beat pattern during a song! He likes to change his beats up to keep them interesting. Like most producers that rap, J-Zone is not legendary on the mic, but his rhymes fit perfectly with his production style! He has a great sense of humor, so you will probably find yourself laughing out loud while playing his music because he doesn't take himself too seriously. There was a running theme (joke) that was prevelent throughout J-Zone's first three music projects, and that was his fetishes with Lucy Liu (actress) and Cadillacs (All pimps need one)! No woman could compare to Lucy, and he needed to stack his chips to get a caddy! True comedy!

In 2002, J-Zone got a distribution deal through FatBeat Records where he released his third project, "Pimps Don't Pay Taxes!" Since, he had a major distribution deal, his CDs actually made it to the music store shelves this time around. The new album sold more than his other projects, but still didn't make much of an impact based on the industry standards for record sales? Who cares about that? Not J-Zone! He's about the music. This album did put Al Shid and Huggy Bear on the map as true MCs though. In 2003, J-Zone dropped "Sick of Being Rich." This album had a few gems from Masta Ace, Copywrite, Celph Titled and Al-Shid. Tracks like "Ho Kung Fu," "Bling Around the Collar," and "38th & 8th" will keep you laughing! When was the last time you laughed while listening to a rap song??


In 2004, J-Zone released "A Job Ain't Nuthin But Work" that was pretty decent overall. His next couple of musical endeavors were side projects. "Gimme Dat Beat Fool: J-Zone Remix Project" was a project where he took some of his favorite rap classics and remixed them the way he would have liked to have heard them done. Then came the Boss Hog Barbarians (J-Zone & Celph Titled) album called, "Every Hog Has Its Day" in 2005! Celph Titled (from the Demigodz) did most of the rhyming, but again this album never loses its sense of humor! If you don't know who the Demigodz are, do yourself a favor and get familiar with them. These katz are some of the most lyrical MCs in the hiphop game! Currently, J-Zone has been promoting his new side project EP release titled, "Experienced" that just dropped on June 27, 2006! This time around he's taking a different legendary rock sample and flipping it into a dope beat for each song. I read that this project only has a limited 1000 CD copies available for purchase, but what does that mean these days???

If you didn't know who J-Zone was before, well you definitely know about him now! As usual, I can't guarantee that you will fully appreciate his music the way I do at this point? In 2006 there are several katz on the production tip that are making serious m0ves providing unique and diverse beat compositions like 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Nicolay, MF Doom & Illmind! Finding J-Zone today may not be as exciting as it was back in 1999...that's all I'm saying? Did he influence these other producers? Who really knows, but I feel that he should definitely be mentioned respectively in this fine list of young producer talent!

Listen to a few of my favorite songs from J-Zone below (Click the link):

J-Zone feat. Al-Shid - 190

J-Zone feat. Dick Stallion - Disco Ho

J-Zone feat. Huggy Bear - Invisible Ink

Here are a few sites where you can get your ears on more J-Zone sounds:

Zonesite.net

J-Zone on Myspace

J-Zone on Amazon


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

J-Zone, shit sounds tight and yes I would say we have been sleepin on his skizz!!! ATL You know me Jay!!!

Teff said...

I heard of J-Zone, but I did not know any of his music. Thanks for the info. Nice tracks.

SoundNexx said...

I hope after this post, J-Zone will have some new fans??

travis said...

EXCELLENT article. I first heard of J-Zone after reading a review on a now defunct hip hop web site that gave "Bottle Of Whup Ass" a 10, then I bought it, unheard from hip hop site. It's still one of most prized CD's.

Dude's production is amazing to me. It's so unorthodox, kind of like a modern day Bomb Squad. I buy everything he puts out now, just got that "Experianced" joint he put out on Hiphopsite, using all the Jimmi Hendrix samples...great stuff.