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Justen Flint: The Self Made Man

Peer pressure isn’t always a negative thing, just ask Flint, Michigan native Justen Flint.

From a young age, he’s been in and around music learning what the

buttons do in the booth and it didn’t stop there he continued to

further his knowledge on the craft that he was gonna make his own. It’s

taken him throughout the country and abroad. After years of

honing his craft in various studio spots he was part of a crew in his

early years called The Coalition, which he put out an album with and

numerous production spots were heard in his hometown. He’s back,

putting out such joints as “Earned Success,” “See The Top,” and “What Would Happen,” making rounds on the airwaves in the mighty state of Michigan.Justen

is the all around package, he writes, records, produces, engineer, and

mixes his own tracks. Did I mention this dude doesn’t even write his

own rhymes, its all in his head. This is the new undiscovered gem in

the mid western region.

 

AllHipHop.com: Where did your

name come from?

Justen Flint: Um… Well, my real stage name is Jon E.

Fontaine, and Justen Flint is like an alias of that. They all stem from my

initials J.E.F., and Justen Flint came from Roscoe, Kurupt’s little brother,

Kurupt and his boy kept calling me Flint when I met and was kicking it with

them in New York I was out there with a photographer named Pascal, he’s from

Germany, and he did the Febreeze

album cover plus handled my photo shoot. Since I’m from Flint, they kept calling me that and the name

stuck. AllHipHop.com: Michigan has some pretty

dope producers. Who would you say are the dudes out there that made Flint pop?Justen Flint:  We got Salaam Wreck, he DJ’s for D-12;

Fredwreck, he’s a West Coast producer, and Salaam’s brother, and they are from

here.  I can’t forget, Syience, he did

the “Hollywood” joint for Beyonce and Jay- Z. Plus;

he did the new joint “Angel” for Ne-Yo. That’s my god brother.AllHipHop.com: You mentioned

the Febreeze album earlier, is it

true that you mixed and mastered that album?

Justen Flint: Yes. I did that all myself.

AllHipHop.com: Wow, so you

must’ve saved yourself a hefty grip on recording and production costs?

Justen Flint: (Laughs) Yes, Sir. I do all the

recording, I get production, actually I get music from all over the U.S., I’m

in a crew called the Industry Ready Crew; it’s like an underground nationwide

crew that we network with each other get tracks, music, and get stuff placed

for each other in each area, because, we don’t have the budget to just get out

nationwide and travel. I get my stuff out there, and they get there stuff out

there.

AllHipHop.com: The Internet

is a beautiful thing.

 

Justen Flint: Yes sir! I get music from a lot of

places but I do the all arrangements, engineering, recording, I mix and master

for other people. So, that’s the job right there.  That’s what I got to do, but I like the time

that I invest [in it].

 

 

AllHipHop.com: You do all the

stuff behind the boards as well as in front of the mic. Do you help mold any

artists as well?

 

Justen Flint: I have a couple of R&B artists

that I’m working with right now, Whitney and Ayala, trying to get there

projects together. As soon as we get somebody to just believe in what we’re

doing and invest in us and see what we’re doing as real music. We’ll be set,

but, for now it’s just grind mode.

 

AllHipHop.com: What do you

say your sound is like?

 

Justen Flint: Febreeze. It’s like fresh air. The

feeling is refreshing, the sound is refreshing, and it’s not too heavy where it

wears you down. You see a room light up when you play one of my records.

 

AllHipHop.com: Your songs

“Play No Games” and “What Would Happen,” were rap tracks that have an R&B

feel to them.

 

Justen Flint: Right. I saw the trend that the

industry was kind of going, but myself I’m not gonna start singing or nothing

like that. But I saw what the radio was playing, and I wanted to do something

for the ladies. I’m single with no kids; I talk to ladies and find out what

they want. Those two songs were inspired by women.

 

AllHipHop.com: You have other

tracks like “See The Top” and “Earn Success,” they have a real street feel to

them. I see they show off your versatility.

 

Justen Flint: Yeah. But at the same time I keep it

honest and as far sounding like street records there aggressive like street

records.  I feel that way too, that

aggression is put into a positive mode that’s why the song is you “Earn

Success,” and “I See The Top.” It’s sort of like the Trojan Horse; the shape

and form outside is a street record, but on the inside you listen to the

message it’s real supportive and positive.

 

AllHipHop.com: So you

generally did all the writing, and producing on the Febreeze album?

 

Justen Flint: I wrote and arranged. The music I got

from other producers like Syience did “See The Top,” and “What Happened.” Those

were definitely special records for me. Cue Da Kid, from Arkansas did “Earn Success.” I also had a

guy named Bill from Flint

on there as well as Ill Koncepts. But I did produce “I Made It.”

 

AllHipHop.com: How was it

coming up in Flint?

 

Justen Flint:

I liked Flint;

actually, it might be my close relationship with God. I have a lot of faith,

and I live with a lot of faith. So, the danger aspects of Flint I’ve seen it, been around it but was

never shook or nervous about it.

 

AllHipHop.com: How is the

local scene compared to other parts of the country?

 

Justen Flint: It is different, not a lot of support

here. People might buy your stuff it’s like the industry; you spend a lot of

money people will be on you ‘til it’s gone. We don’t have local radio, meaning

that the main stations don’t play local music. So, we had to start an

underground outlet radio station that plays local music.  It’s WKUFLP, 94.3; it’s an FM station which

is cool, so all of Flint

can get it. That’s where local artists get any type of spins. But I’m glad to

say that I did get a chance to travel around the states and see what else is

out there.

 

AllHipHop.com: How’d you get

into music?

 

Justen Flint: I played ball with Mo’ Cleaves [NBA

player Mateen Cleaves], and one day I had a game and my mom asked my God brother

to take me to my game. He actually had other plans; he took me to a studio, at

12 years old. He was like I got to make a stop first, he told me it wouldn’t be

long he took me downstairs and he played me some music that he recorded. This

was 1992 I believe, the studio had computers and sound proof booths. I never

seen that in my life, I was like “Man, I wanna learn how to run the computers!

Or, show me how to record; I don’t even care about the mic.” But my brothers

told me that I had to record a rap and they’ll show me how to use the

equipment, so they wrote me a verse I rapped. 

I eventually made it to my game at halftime; still had 25 points. I fell

in love with the studio right after that. 

My dad introduced me to Bernard Terry who was an engineer and had a mega

studio and I went nuts when I saw it. On top of that, he told me that was my

uncle and from there I knew that this was I wanted to do. At 14, I was with a

label out of Detroit

called Solider Records, that’s when I started producing and I was hearing my

music being played. I started going to this studio in Canton, Michigan

called Talent Live. It was a 4 million dollar facility; a man named Rick that

still works there showed me how to run a 4 million dollar facility. He taught

me all the ins and outs of production, recording, and acoustics. Comparing my

notes from my uncle Bernard and Rick, by the time I was 17, I was a senior in

high school and got involved with the foreign exchange program in Mexico City.  That opened me up to seeing the world and it’s

bigger than Flint.

It helped me grow in my music, when I got back the school asked if I wanted to

go back to class for the rest of the year or find a place that’ll have me work.

Most people took the bank, or an office I chose a professional studio called

Boomin’ Records. They signed off on it, and there I was a 17 year old running

the studio recording local acts, back then when local acts were getting

airplay. I was with a group called The Coalition at the time and we put out

records.

 

AllHipHop.com: Who’s your

favorite M.C.?

 

Justen Flint: My favorite MC is Redman, my favorite

artist is Jay- Z. It’s almost a tie between Redman and Eminem. Em took it to

that level, Redman always was and still is that dude today he does it style,

flavor, rhyme schemes, and that’s what he does.  I said that if I want to be the best I have to

study the best Biggie, and Jay never wrote down their lyrics. So, in 2003, I

trained myself  to just vibe on the beat,

and come up and create the songs. Jay can paint charisma on anything and that

within itself is what an artist is to me. An artist can take trash and make it

desirable. Can’t forget in terms of looking at my city I liked the Lox’s first

album for the simple fact they repped Yonkers

heavy, most times when people say New

York they always meant the city. They were proud to

be from their small town and they let everyone know it.

Justen Flint’s 

MyPpace is www.myspace.com/justenflint

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