Superstar Jay : In the Midst of Controversy

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The DJ game is hot right now, just ask DJ Drama. Or better yet, ask the DJ who stands next to DJ Drama as one of the most powerful mixtape DJs in the mix right now, Superstar Jay. Winner of Justo’s “Rookie of the Year” award at the Apollo Theater, and MTV.com’s “Breakthrough DJ” in 2006, Jay has successfully immersed himself into the spotlight. Now the rookie superstar is standing next to another hot player in the game – Remy Ma, who is charged with attempted murder. Superstar Jay is only down with Remy on the music side and teamed up with the Bronx star for the controversial mixtape, “Shesus Khryst.” Spinning since the age of 12, with DJ Clue as an example, Jay has years of great experience behind him. With his own album, DVDs, and film projects in the works, “Superstar” is a name Jay is really living up to. Despite the recent controversy surrounding his Shesus Khryst partner, Jay had some great things to say about all females in Hip-Hop, and why there’s never been a better time to be a DJ.

AllHipHop.com: There’s a lot of buzz about the Remy Ma/ Superstar Jay mixtape that’s coming out, but now it seems like there’s also another situation that may outshine that.

Superstar Jay: It’s a bad situation for it to outshine, definitely. But going through all her stuff that she’s going through, we don’t want to take away from what she’s really known for, the music. The mixtape, “Shesus Khryst” is gonna be a classic mixtape. It’s got a DVD with four and five videos, and like 19 original songs.AllHipHop.com: When you put together a mixtape, how closely do you work with the featured artist?Superstar Jay: Basically when I work with an artist, I try to work closely as much as possible because if they just give you songs, you just don’t know particularly what they would want on it. So I’m very hands on with each artist I work with.  Me and Remy was working on the Shesus Khryst mixtape for like a month and a half just filming videos, listening to  song, like actually she did like 3 new songs on there that she collaborated with a couple of producers that I got and she liked the beats.  AllHipHop.com: While working on the mixtape, did Remy appear to be under any form of stress?Superstar Jay: Nah she totally wasn’t under no stress, that’s just how she felt. The whole “Shesus Khryst” thing, she felt like the savior of Hip-Hop and what she was going through in Hip-Hop as a female and [that] sometimes the industry doesn’t respect females.  She felt like she was as nice as most of the guys in the game. But she wasn’t stressed out, she wanted to work, she was very excited about putting the mixtape out.AllHipHop.com: Artists sometimes do things to bring publicity to themselves. What are your thoughts in regards to the timing of the most recent allegations against Remy?Superstar Jay: I’m a fan as well as ya’ll and I really don’t know what really happened.  Right now that’s a serious matter. I don’t think nobody would ever want to put themselves in that predicament [to produce more exposure].  That’s a little bit keeping it too real, you know?   That right there ain’t controversy.  That’s life and we’ll see in the court of law what happens.AllHipHop.com:  Have you spoken with her since the incident happened?  Superstar Jay: Yeah I’ve spoken to her a couple of times. You know her head is up high,  she knows she’s not guilty and this is just a thing that goes on in life.  She’s in good spirits. She’s ready to get the mixtape coming out and go forward with her music.  AllHipHop.com: The cover is her depicting the crucifixion, reminiscent of Nas’ “Hate Me Now” video a while back. That’s kind of controversial. What have you been hearing about it so far?

Superstar Jay: You know you’ve got a lot of people who don’t know the whole idea of the mixtape, and think she’s just doing it to be doing it. Like I was saying before, how the industry treats her. She was with a crew that wasn’t really helping her out. She felt like she was with a label that had a classic album, they wasn’t helping her out. She feels like she’s been crucified through all this, so we was sitting in the studio, and she was like, “What better way to call it…Shesus Khryst…”  We talked to Miami Chaos and she had an idea, with her on the cross and was like “I’ma go all out. That’s how I feel now.” AllHipHop.com : It seems to me like controversy sells better than any other type of marketing plan right about now. Would you agree?

Superstar Jay: I definitely would agree with it. I [didn't] think when we was putting this mixtape together she was gonna get so much slack for a mixtape cover. I think she was reflecting on how she feels. You know, many rappers did it. Kanye did it. Nas did it. You had Tupac do it. So we didn’t know she would get so much slack, but I guess coming from a female, it’s just like brand new. Like, she’s the only one that did that before.

AllHipHop.com: We all know Remy through her music. She’s not afraid to gloat about herself. But what would you tell people about her, after working with her on a personal level?

Superstar Jay: On a personal level, she was a very smart female, you know? A lot of people think she’s this big tough female, but she’s a very nice, very smart female. Very family orientated, but always ready to work. You know, we did four videos for this mixtape, and it was like she was ready to do anything she got to do to get the mixtape out there. She’s got a lot of fans, and she thinks about her fans a lot. So she felt like if she did this mixtape and give it a little buzz out there, that things would be golden cause it’s classic.

AllHipHop.com: I had a chance to hear Chuck D speak a year back, and he answered a question saying the next level in Hip-Hop lies within the female gender. What do you think about women in Hip-Hop at this moment in time?

Superstar Jay: I think it definitely needs to be more female oriented. This is a real manly industry right now, that some people aren’t getting breaks [because they are] females. And you got a little catty thing going on with females. You got females like Lil’ Kim, Eve, to even Foxxy [Brown] trying to come back out, so there should definitely be more females in Hip-Hop.

AllHipHop.com: So with your mixtapes, how much direction do you give when you collaborate with one artist like you did with Remy Ma?

Superstar Jay: The best way I can put it- I can’t write your rhymes, but I can make a mixtape, you know what I’m saying? I just tell them to do what they do best. Like Remy, she already had her songs, her freestyles done. I asked her if we could do a mixtape, and she was like “Oh yeah, I got many songs.” But I was like, “Yeah, I want to do something bigger than a mixtape.” You know, nowadays mixtapes are like movies… You get the opening day, and after that you forget about the mixtape. I had a director who was doing some good videos, so I thought it would come out a whole lot better. You know, give the fans a little bit more, you know how music is right now.

AllHipHop.com: Well you came up under legends like Cutmaster C, Ron G, and your mentor DJ Clue. You must have some good stories from back then.

Superstar Jay: Most definitely. I started deejaying at the age of 12, grew up under Clue. My first experience of trying to put my tape in, Clue was trying to put his in at the same time. And him and the tape seller was having an argument about how much money the tape seller owed. And I was sitting there ready to put my tape out, but he took so long talking I never got to put my first mixtape out. I was 13. So just thinking about back to Ron G putting out mixtapes in stores, to buying them, to putting out [my own] mixtapes at 14 and selling 200 or 300 at a time. That’s a great memory.

AllHipHop.com: No doubt. It seems like back then DJs got more respect, but now that recognition isn’t around as much anymore. What do you think about that?

Superstar Jay: Personally, I think back in the days DJs got recognized as much as they do now. You got DJs out with kind of the artist mentality. You know, you got [DJ] Khaled that came out with an artist; you got Drama; you got Clue; you got Kay Slay; Whoo Kid coming out with magazines. I think the DJ game has been a whole lot better now that there’s a big market where DJs can do DVDs and promote clothing lines.

AllHipHop.com: But do you think that high marketability takes away a little bit from the art?

Superstar Jay: It doesn’t take away the art of deejaying, because everything changes every year. Right now you got DJs that aren’t DJs, you know? You got DJs that just spin on the internet that don’t have skills at all. You got DJs that have skills that are getting the right recognition though, like Green Lantern and Kid Capri. So I don’t think that takes away from it, but what does is [the fact that] you got people doing mixtapes that’s not DJs now.

AllHipHop.com: Is there a particular DJ or mixtape series you were really feeling the last few years, that you would point to as an example a classic mixtape?

Superstar Jay: I definitely feel DJ Drama; always been a fan of Green Lantern, Kay Slay, and Clue. But right now, I gotta say Drama. He took it to another level with blowing up [Lil'] Wayne on a mixtape. A lot of people don’t know he blew up Lil’ Wayne on a street level and on a mixtape. So I’m a big fan of Drama.

AllHipHop.com: You’ve always been an advocate of the East Coast, and now it’s looking like the next year could be the one for a takeover. How are you feeling about your coast?

Superstar Jay: It’s really all about good music. I think the South was making good music, and the East wasn’t bringing its’ best music out. But now I think people are doing more music and being more creative. It’s all about a good record.

AllHipHop.com: After having the spotlight on you for 2006 and now 2007, do you feel your living up to your own expectations?

Superstar Jay: I always look at myself as I’m just beginning. I could win all the MTV awards, and be in Essence as the top 20 people in music with Drama. But you got so much competition and so many people deejaying now. It was always hard before when you had to master getting on the turntables and scratching, but now you got CD turntables and all that, so you got a DJ coming up everyday. So I just grind the most. When I first put out a mixtape I felt that I could push a whole lot of mixtapes, but that never happened. So every time I feel a little big-headed, I go upstairs in my garage and look at all those mixtapes that never got sold. [Laughs] At the end of the day, that could happen again. It’s a lot of competition out here now so I just try and be more creative with it.

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