J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, acronym for Just Undeniable Songs Tracks
Instrumentals Corporate Enterprise League, consists of a trio of
Grammy-winning producers; Colione, Kenny, and Rook hailing from Tampa,
Florida. The three-man crew has crafted hot quality production for the
industry’s elite like Mary J. Blige, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Juelz
Santana, The Game, JR Writer, J. Holiday, Young Buck, Shareefa, and a
host of others. With the emergence of writers and producers from the
state of Florida like Cool and Dre, T-Pain and The Runners,
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League has ‘repped’ The Sunshine State just as well.
Although relatively new to the music industry as a collective unit,
they have been individually cultivating and perfecting their styles
individually for over 10 years. Together for four years as the
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, their reputation and work are setting them onto
the path of attaining veteran status while still bringing a breath of
fresh air to the industry. Their work with Mary J. Blige, on the song
“No One Will Do,” earned them a Grammy as her album was named best
R&B album of the year. Colione provides hard drums, infectious
melodies and synth-laden beats while Rook, originally from the Bronx,
N.Y., brings an east coast arrogance and influence on the group with
dusty samples, a classic drum break approach to making music and a
blend of vinyl-driven, ear popping drums with a meticulous approach to
recording vocals. As a master of sax, keys, and woodwind instruments,
Kenny is the musical tie that binds the group together.
Their individual strengths serve as a testament
to the diversity of the music they create, which ranges from all styles
of Hip-Hop, R&B to Rock.
With a new label situation and upcoming projects with Usher and
Ludacris in the works, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League is on their way to
becoming a household name. We caught up with the guys at the Hip-Hop
Soda Shop [Tampa, Florida] during their artists’ 2 Pistols video shoot
to discuss their recent recording with Rick Ross featuring Jay-Z, their
new label situation through Universal, and the pros and cons of
attaining success in the Hip-Hop and R&B genres…
AllHipHop.com: What’s up fellas, first of all off the top,
congratulations on the Grammy for your work with Mary J. Blige, how was
that experience? Elaborate on that a little.
Rook: [ I ] Appreciate it. It’s an honor to be even nominated for a Grammy. But for us to win is incredible being that a lot of people work a long
time to achieve that goal and we’ve been in the business for relatively
a short period of time and we’ve accomplished that. It’s definitely not
a fluke we’re definitely all about quality music.
AllHipHop.com: You recently did some work with Rick Ross and Jay-Z correct?
AllHipHop.com: How did that situation come about?
Kenny: It all started when Rick Ross came by one of our cribs in
Tallahassee when we lived there. We were playing him some tracks to
place on the upcoming Trilla ablum, and he came across a track
and in a few seconds he said “Oh I got it, this is “Maybach Music” you
know what I mean?” So he was just vibin’ to the beat for a while trying
to come up with some more ideas. So he took that beat back along with a
couple other ones and he eventually came back with what he had recorded
to the song and the idea and what he came up with was crazy. We were
actually working in our studio in Atlanta and he came through and let
us hear it and he had a feature with Jay-Z on it and we thought that
was crazy, having Jay-Z on one of our tracks because you know that’s
Jay-Z. So Rick Ross told us to add some elements and basically do what
we do on the track but it was hard because we wanted to give it that
authentic sample sound to fit with the Jay-Z feature.
Rook: When we were nearing completion of that song we wanted to go
back and add a lot of things musically so when you hear the final
product you’ll hear that every verse changes musically and there are a
lot of things going on that really pushed the bar as far as production
and even Hip-Hop in general.
Kenny: We had gone through about five different intros, we had to
change up the verses a couple of times just to get it right because
that collaboration was so huge that we had to get this right, we had to
get it perfect. It was a blessing and kind of a nightmare at the same
time but the finished product came out sick, so we’re very happy with
how it came out man.
AllHipHop.com: Make sure I get one of the first copies of that, I’m
a DJ as well so as soon as you get the clearance to give that track
out, make sure I’m one of the first to get it so I can blaze it for you.
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League: Ok, (Laughs)
Kenny: Yeah the Rick Ross Trilla album is gonna be legendary.
We also have a track on there with Young Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne, and Trick
Daddy too. That one’s called “Luxury Tax”, that one’s crazy, it came
Rook: We also did the intro to the album, a song called “Hood Billionaire.”
AllHipHop.com: You’ve been one of the few production camps to be
able to achieve success in both the R&B and Hip-Hop genres. How has
that been advantageous to your career, you do a little Rock and Roll too correct?
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League: Yeah, yep
Colione: It definitely makes you work a little harder because now
you’re doing different genres of music, some producer’s specialty is
Hip-Hop, some producers specialize in R&B and that’s basically what
they do. When you start flippin’ genres of music then you have double
the work load. You gotta be able to have beats prepared and ready for
Hip-Hop artists, then you gotta have a whole selection for R&B
artists, then a whole selection for Pop artists. You gotta stay on your
grind and keep moving but what’s good about it is the double the work,
the double the funds.
Rook: I think also it keeps us on our toes musically because we have
to be able to compete with the pure R&B producers and the pure
Hip-Hop producers and the Pop producers so it keeps us on our toes
AllHipHop.com: In the studio what gear do you prefer, are you using the MPC, Reasons, Logic or what?
Colione: We use Logic Pro, we use a lot of these software bits and
software plug-ins like the Philharmonic there’s a couple of others that
give you a good quality sound.
AllHipHop.com: Obviously I know you’re working with ProTools.
Colione: Yeah, we record all of our vocals and all of that in ProTools.
AllHipHop.com: What other projects do you guys have in the works, do
you have any of your own artists that you’re grooming or working with?
Rook: Right now we’re working with 2 Pistols and he’s signed to our
production company through Universal Republic and we’re wrapping up his
album. He got the single with T-Pain “She Got It,” it’s on your site.
That joint is taking off for him so hopefully we’ll get the album out
AllHipHop.com: What are the future plans for J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League,
you have any aspirations of starting a label or any other entertainment
Colione: Basically we already started a label, 2 Pistols is the
first artist on our label. We have another artist from Tampa named
Fame, he’s coming out real soon. He just released a mixtape with Bigga
Rankin you can go online and get that, that kid’s crazy.Kenny: We’re pitching songs for Usher’s next album, Ludacris just
picked up a few. We’re going back to work with the entire CTE
[Corporate Thugs Entertainment], one more round in with Young Jeezy as
well as producing tracks for Slick Pulla and Blood Raw.
Rook: We’ve been on the phone in the studio with Slick Pulla for the
last few days trying to get his album right and make sure he’s happy
with his album.
Kenny: We did a joint with Rocko recently and then we’ll also be
producing tracks and working with the Poe Boy camp as well. We’ll be
working on Brisco’s stuff and the Black Flag album, that’s the Triple C’s [Carol City Cartel] album. We just came out of the studio with Shareefa on DTP.
Rook: We did a song with her that’s crazy, like really classic.
AllHipHop.com: What would you guys say is the key difference between you and the other production crews out there?
Kenny: It’s not easy to pinpoint our sound and really say what the
difference is, but it’s all in the music when you hear it, it speaks
for itself. We’re three different producers that had three different
tastes in music coming up. We were each inspired by different stuff
growing up so when we come together it’s beautiful the way it works out
because we all work together so well. We just get into the studio and
crank some stuff out without any problems it works out so smooth.
Rook: Right, I think the difference between us and other production
crews is I think we’re kind of like a throwback to the old school
producers like Quincy Jones and Ashford and Simpson meaning they put
together big albums, big music and big hits you know what I mean? Plus
like Kenny said we’re influenced by different things. A lot of
producers just make beats but we wanna make sure that we produce the
record and make sure it’s the best it can be sonically, vocally, and
AllHipHop.com: Sounds good, what kind of advice would you guys give
to the younger producers trying to pursue a career in entertainment?
Colione: Well the advice I give to up and comers is try to get your
name out there. What you need to do is go ahead and give out your music
free at first. Get it on some people’s mixtapes, get your name known
and then after an artist uses it on a mixtape, people will be like,
“He’s dope I wanna get one of his tracks”. So then when it comes around
and somebody else wants to get a track you can charge them a little
bit, start off with five or whatever and you can say, “Yo I did this
track on this mixtape so give me a little something for this”, then
you’ll slowly start getting paid, you’ll slowly start getting your name
known, and moving into the industry.
Rook: Don’t be scared, don’t use the same f**k*n’ sounds every
f**k*n beat’, use some different sounds know what I’m sayin’? (Laughs)
Kenny: You gotta stay dedicated, you can’t make it a hobby. You
can’t do music on your spare time and expect it to go anywhere. You
can’t be working two jobs and then work on music three hours a week,
you gotta be dedicated to it.
Colione: Yeah, find a way to do music full time.
Check out J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s artist 2 Pistols featuring T-Pain “She Got It” [In our media / music section]