Canadian artist and actor, J-Star of Forever Young Entertainment, is geared up to release his Free Agent mixtape. While the mixtape holds no true features outside of the extra bonus remix to the lead single Clap, Clap, Clap with Twista and Vado, it was done on purpose.
With a different approach to the game, “I’m a fan of the game in the game”, J-Star isn’t trying to take anything from any other artist but wants to stand out to the best of his ability. With a humble mindset, and go get it attitude, J-Star’s introduction mixtape is surely to be one played throughout the speakers of many this Summer.
How long has it been since you’ve established yourself as an artist?
I’ve always been around… behind the scenes type of stuff, so I’ve always been around the game, writing here and there. But as far as branding myself personally as an artist, the last 5 years or so. And I still work with a very close friend of mine who produces on our label, Face Beats.
What was the transition process from behind the scenes to the front?
I went to theater school in New York… I was doing a bit of acting for awhile but I was always writing as I mastered my craft of acting for those two and a half years. I don’t really want to be labeled, not as a rapper or anything like that because music just wasn’t in the plan but then I felt I could diversify and do both and I realized that I had established more connections on the music side so I just started really putting forth the effort and focus on music as school was ending for me. But I am getting back into acting and still consider myself an actor; I just did a short film.
Where are you from originally? I’ve heard you speak about New York and you reside in Canada.
I’m from Jamaica and live in Toronto, Canada. I came from Jamaica when I was seven… I try to go back every two years but I’ve lived all over; I’m a hustle brat. You’ve heard of Army brats, but I’m a hustle brat… I’ve been all over. I was in New York for about three years and before that I was in Vancouver but at the end of the day, Toronto is home.
Foundation of music, you consider yourself a Canadian rapper, correct?
Yeah, I rep Toronto all day but I show love to Vancouver and all of Canada… that’s why I say “Air Canada” a lot!
Being heard in the States, do you find it a difficult task?
In the US, they just have so many doors that you can pull on and so many doors that will close… there are so many opportunities though. I guess we are about to find out though, with the tape dropping soon… we will see. There is one out of five people doing music right now and you have to separate yourself, so I’ve been doing that with myself and my music. In the States there is just has so much more opportunity for being heard though and more avenues. It’s been pretty cool though, the opportunity is there so it’s cool.
How would you say that you’ve grown as an artist since your first project and even other projects to now?
I think my first tape, The Plane Is My Home, it had a lot of what I wanted to give the public a variety of music. The reason why I named it The Plane Is My Home is so many people had their take on how I should sound and what I should do. It was a different album from different angles with commercial, street and clubs, and it all had to do with me and I did it that way so people could get a taste of what I had to offer and coming out of the box. I wanted to get peoples perception of different sounds of me and see how they liked it. I felt like the first tape was perfect because it was something on there for everybody.
Your sound now follows suit with your introduction project or has it switched up?
No, the sound geared for the Summer vibe… it’s a verbal blessing. For me, it was about a dude who can’t be really put in a bracket and a tape full of energy… you put it on and you just want to go and go! You know in the morning when you just ready so that you can go, that’s what the tape is about. I did the last tape for various amounts of people and this one is like to give the fans a whole lot of me verbally, lyrically and to give them a sense of life. A lot of the rhyme patterns show a lot of skill and more so fun than anything. It was just for me to have fun and I wasn’t thinking about nothing else, where I wasn’t trying to satisfy this or that; it’s hard street but high energy music to enjoy.
Do you write your own material?
Yes, I write all of it.
How did you go about securing DJ Mustard to host your mixtape?
First off, I'm a fan of his past mixtapes and to see his production take rise it’s a signature sign that hard work pays off so it wasn't a hard decision to have him host Free Agent. Sent him the tracks and he was all the way in. DJ Mustard hosted my mixtape because he is on that level where he is breaking into a producer… he is buzzing with RackCity. It shows that his hard work is paying off and I noticed it so I wanted him to host my tape. He’s still new but he’s been around for a minute and I respect his hustle.
Forever Young Entertainment is the indie label you’re working with, correct?
I’m coming off of Forever Young Entertainmentout in Canada and out of the label; my clique goes by the name Forever Young Fly GanG.
Are you looking to get signed major label?
If the deal is right, yes. There are a lot of games played when trying to control and steer your own destiny with the help of the almighty of course and I like to have some control so right now at this point in my career. I'm blessed and I keep one thing in mind, there's always someone that wants it just as bad as me so my advantage is no sleep cause if money don't sleep why should I. The majors aren't going to look at you if you aren't already being looked at by the public.
That's what it is so #DoWork. Who would you say your sound is similar to?
That’s a good question! When I’m creating, I don’t listen to anybody. You get so swayed with decision and you get pumped up but you don’t want to create in a lane that someone is already in. I’m a student in the game and I study it to see how I can be different. I’m sure I do sound like someone because you can’t escape not sounding like someone but it’s tough to say who I sound like and it would be more so my style more than me sounding like someone. It’s like my juice or swag is like someone but I don’t really sound like anyone. I have an East
Coast vibe, but it’s tough to say who I sound like.
How do you make yourself stand out from other up-n-coming artists?
I'm consistent and I don't put myself in a lane. Sometimes as artists we forget the music and worry so much about the business that we sacrifice the sound. I'm able to move when I want to and that is one of the keys to this biz being in the right place at the right time. I'm versatile with my delivery its always catered to the sound and the vibe of the song so audience can't pin point the next thing coming usually, it leave a element. One of the biggest assets about me as an upcoming artist is I understand branding.
What top named producers would you like to work with?
If I had to pick, it’d be Pharrell Williams and Kanye West and I think Drumma Boy, The Runners and Just Blaze …oh and Swizz Beats.
You’re gearing up to release a special project, can you talk about that?
I just got back from LA with Twista for a collaboration project, Clap, Clap, Clap, with Vado from New York. It took a lot of time to get this ready and now it’s about to drop.
Vado got on it and then Twista got on it. Twista heard the track and he liked it and it’s been epic. It’s been a blessing working with him, as he is a legend in the game. Everything else came together with it… video shot and all. Now it’s just time to run with it... it’s going to be a single but I look at it more as an introduction track.
What else can we expect from you?
@FyeJStar, everything is on Twitter so just hit me there. Next for me is to go hard with this tape and coming out of Canada… the next tape will be dropping, LIV, and trying to stay ahead of the game. Always expect music from me… not rap but music. LIV is going to have features, this one I’m dropping doesn’t have any besides the bonus track which is the single and it’s really a remix because I did it before I added them.