We caught up with J-Live after he passed us a new mixtape called First Things First Vol. 1. The shit was blazing so we had to ask him what was up with the concept behind the disc and see about anything else he has going on. Check the Q & A after the jump.
How did the idea for this mix come about?
I was just thinking about how the culture has changed from back when I used to walk home from the store with a new cassette and pop it in the Walkman before I even got home. That first song was always banging. Even if you had to wait through an interlude or skit, the first song made a statement. So I figure, make a mixtape with all first songs, it'll bang right?
That’s right! So the albums you chose were from all different eras. Is that how you chose which songs to use? Just pick the bangingest first tracks you could find?
Yep. It was important that I use different eras and regions to show hip-hop's diversity. Nowadays DJs get lazy and try to pick records that sound the same to make it easy to mix. A good mix CD DJ makes songs relate with his presentation and blend. You have more freedom than a party set, but if well planned it can go down just as smooth.
What else are you working on - the new album’s coming up, anything else?
The new album is titled Then What Happened. It’s coming along great. I can honestly say it'll be my best work. It’s coming out in either February or early March.
Are there going to be any collaborations?
Mostly I'll be working with other producers. I'm still hogging the mic. There might be a few cameos sprinkled here and there but primarily it's me rhyming over an assortment of dime beats from the likes of Beatminerz, Jazzy Jeff, Spinna, Oddisee and others.
What about Dwele? I heard a rumor that you’d be working with him again.
You must be referring to "Coming Home". That was on the last album The Hear After - I'm sure we'll work together again in the future, but we didn't link up for this record.
Are you focusing more on DJing at all?
Yes, I love to DJ. I am just as available for bookings as a DJ as I am as an emcee. I wish more people knew that!
What about Triple Threat, any new news on that front?
Triple Threat is my production company. I'm much more hands on with this record. I'll most likely release it myself. Until the roster expands next year, the primary source of info is www.j-livemusic.com.
Where can people buy First Things First?
Fatbeats.com, hiphopsite.com, thegiantpeach.com, turntablelab.com, sandboxautomatic.com, and fine mom and pop record shops across the country.