True Magazine Chats With J.R. On His Breakout Song With Trey Songz, Stereotypes Placed On Rappers, Bad Business Gang, Gang Season Tour & Touring With Jacquees
-Has music always been your passion? As a child did you see yourself where you are today?
Yeah music has always been my passion. It’s always been a big part of my life whether just part of my growing up or socializing. Me being a person who sets goals for myself and felt like I can achieve them, I’ve always imagined myself being here. I didn’t always think it was achievable. I wasn’t always a hundred percent, but we worked to get here.
-A lot of artists look at music as a means of escaping their everyday lives whether it being a heartbreak, everyday life struggles and so forth. Has music been this way for you?
Yeah. For sure. Music is always an outlet. I think not even for the people creating it, but for the people listening as well. Music will always be an outlet for everybody. It moves the world. Whether you’re sad, happy, mad, ready to turn up or turn down, I got some music for you.
– Take us back to the very first time you entered the studio and recorded your first single. What song was it and what was going through your head?
I think the first song we recorded in like a “studio, studio” it was me, my partner Lil Mike and C Star. We was in Delmar. I can’t even remember the name of the studio but we did a song called “Anybody That You Ask” and we ran with that record for some years. It was classic. A major key. (laughs). That was my first time. It was a dope experience. They (C Star & Lil Mike) had already been to a studio. That was my first time but it was definitely fun.
-You recently released your debut ep “Gang Season.” What’s the concept behind the title and your favorite track?
The concept behind the title-my brand is “Bad Business Gang” and everything we do is controversial but it can be backed up. I want to get rid of stereotypes. I want to get rid of “judging a book by the cover.” People might look at our image and look at us as some kids who are in an unfavorable situation or an unfavorable city or area. They might look at us like we aren’t allowed to be in certain offices, but at the same time look at us now. We’re sitting across tables making million dollar plays with people. So “Bad Business” within itself is ironic for us. We look at each other as a family. That’s what “gang” started at. It wasn’t violence or drugs or murder. It was family. It was unity. It was picking each other up and helping each other out when we needed help. We tied that all into each other and started all this together. My movement is “Bad Business Gang” BBG227. That’s what I live by, die by, stand for, ride for. Within that, my EP I named “Gang Season” just to let everybody know I’m branding myself and branding my brand. I’m here now. Everything is to be listened to and is up for grabs for how you want to take it. Nothing is to be judged before you really get the gist of it.
My favorite track I would say is “Murder” because it’s one of those records that you might look at me and know me from the record “Best Friend” with Trey Songz and now you look at one of the records off my EP is called “Murder.” We gone throw you left and right. Life throws you in a whole bunch of different directions. We got music for all that like I said. “Murder” just gives a real good vivid painting of where I’m from and the kind of life we live here in Saint Louis.
-Speaking of Trey Songz. You’re hit single “Best Friend” which features Trey Songz has created a huge buzz. How did this partnership come about?
We were introduced through a mutual business partner, AG. He’s my manager now. He’s been in business with Trey for a long time with mixtapes and other business endeavors. With AG doing business with me, he was listening to my music and Trey started inquiring about my music so it was real organic. It was genuine from the beginning. So once I got a chance to meet Trey we really built a personal, music, and business relationship and we really never left out of contact so once I made “Best Friend,” it came with the concept. I was already in contact with him so I sent it to him. He sent me a verse right back and we went crazy with it ever since.
-Not only did the song have the streets talking, but the video as well. What was it like on set? Do you have any funny moments that happened while shooting this video?
It was just dope. It was just really fun. I don’t even know if it was any particular funny point in it. I just know it was a really dope experience. With me being from St Louis to me getting to go be in a mansion in the Hamptons. It was something we talked and dreamed about as kids. The entire environment of the video was an actual party. Nothing was staged. Nobody was telling us to “turn up at this point” or nothing like that. We had the cameras going and we really just got the chance to enjoy ourselves for a couple days in the Hamptons.
-How was SXSW?
It was dope. We got to run around and expose our career to a lot more audiences in Austin. We definitely had fun running around doing our thing. We love performing and letting people see our hard work.
– You’re currently on your “Gang Season” tour. How is tour life?
Busy. You move a lot. But you know what? You ain’t gotta get ready when you stay ready. We most definitely been preparing for this and we’re just having fun while we’re doing what we want to do.
– I also hear you are going on tour with Jacquees. Congratulations! How did that come about?
Just working man. Just working. When artists are out here on the road and you cross cities and you cross paths multiple times you gotta catch a respect for each other’s grind so I think it was a mutual thing. He’s doing his thing riding around the country on his “Mood” tour and I’m just glad to be a part of it.
– Today’s rap music is very diverse and different. What are your thoughts on today’s new era of music?
I think music is always going to be music. I think even back then, people weren’t as open on a worldly basis. People weren’t as open to Hip-Hop as they are now. I think music is going to change all the time. The scene is going to change all the time so I think music is what you need it to be for you and make what you make of it. I think music is in a good state tho. It’s at a creative point trying to find itself again.
-What’s next for JR?
Everything. 2016. We taking over. We staying in everybody face making sure this music gets across the world and really just keep building on that fan base and make sure everybody knows the name “JR” and “Bad Business” around the world.
Interviewed by: Simone Grant