Period would describe himself as an old school A&R, the overseer
of the artists project that made sure the album got finished as well
as making sure the album remained true to the artists vision. Today,
A&Rs arent really known for that process. J. Period says he sees
todays artists send their mixes and demo tapes to DJs instead of
ironic thing about hearing J. Period say all of this is that he himself
isnt working toward one goal, one vision and the completion of one
album. He takes on no less than five projects at a time because he says
as someone who doesnt know where his career is going, he wants the
freedom to do more than simply be a mixtape DJ or be labeled as a producer.
He wants to try both and then some.
addition to putting together mixes for Pusha T and Talib Kweli, much
in the same vain as 2006s critically acclaimed Best of the Roots
album, he is also talking with Alicia Keys about a best of album
and Virginia hip-hop artist Skillz for production.
Period is also working with unsigned Brooklyn hip-hop/rock group Game
Rebellion. The sextet plans on releasing a conceptual album based around
the search for Rick Rubin, where the group has revisited older
hip-hop records the legendary producer put out from his days working
with Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys. And J. Period ended up sitting
down with Game Rebellion and producing the groups forthcoming album.
if it couldnt get anymore interesting, J. Period could have a production
credit to the upcoming Denzel Washington film American Gangster
where one of J. Periods songs might be heard in the next round of
trailers for the film. Hes also putting together a new best of
mixtape featuring music from an as-of-yet-to-be-named hip-hop collective.
J. Period doesnt want the name revealed just yet, so thats the
only hint readers get.
is also the best of Mary J. Blige album that he put together, which
has been sitting on the shelves of major label bureaucracy. What started
as a sort of follow up to 2005s Best of Lauryn Hill
release that J. Period put together, Mary Js album is a monster,
to say the least. Its three discs long, including a third disc of strictly
ballads and slow jams. Even more startling is the idea that Bliges
label, Geffen Records, wants to put out the album as an official release,
which is why its taken almost a year to put together the album.
a big step for J. Period and for DJs across the country. No longer bound
by the rudimentary idea of putting out mixtapes underground and selling
them through street vendors or the Internet, should Periods new Mary
J. Blige album come out on a major record label, it will mark a turning
point for Periods career and for the careers of many of todays
most successful and revered DJs.
about creating a brand and being authentic, says J. Period. For
me, its about pushing as many envelopes as possible to see what the
feature of deejaying is. I work on five projects because I dont know
what the future will hold.
a major stepping stone for one of hip-hops DJs to release material
on a major label. Its not just putting together a collection of exclusives,
rarities, remixes and freestyles, and then calling it an album. In todays
world of maintaining versatility and remaining sharp so as to keep a
step ahead of the curve, its about producing music, interviewing
the artists whos songs will be on the album and truly understanding
how a collection of tracks should sound together when theyre revamped
about creating a cohesive, listening experience, says J. Period.
Im trying to create something you can pop in and based on a certain
vibe from the artist, you can listen to it from front to back. I think
that if you can get inside the feeling that artist puts out, you can
wrap your head around what the artist is thinking.
Joel Aspman, the 32-year-old Los Angeles to New York transplant says
that what started him in deejaying and mixtapes was the pause tapes he
used to make when he was growing up in southern California.
applied the same perfectionism then as I do now. Now, Ive just got
more tools, says Period. Back then it was cassette to cassette,
and I would make intros and interludes of James Brown doing the seven
wonders of the world speeches, and then go into something like a
Busta Rhymes verse.
when he got to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., J. Period ended
up having such a diverse album collection he became the de facto DJ
for campus parties. Though he was on track to become a teacher like
his parents when he graduated in 1997, he ended up moving to New York
two years later as a graphic designer, deejaying at nights on the side.
graphic artist in him is evident in all of his releases. Up until about
the last five mixtapes J. Period has put out, he was designing all the
artwork. Those early releases include Beats from N.Y.: Classic New
York Hip-Hop, a collection of early 1990s rap, Soundclash Dancehall
Vol. 1, a reggae mix, War of the Worlds, an underground German-bass
album thats extremely difficult to find, and Dark Dayz, an
album of music J. Period put together following the events of Sept.
11, 2001. Things got even more serious for J. Period with the release
of Best of Nas, which J. Period says is the album that really
got the attention of hip-hop heads.
was a listening session for Gods Son [in 2002] and I went
in someone elses place, says J. Period. Nas showed up. There
were all these college radio DJs and I was like the infiltrator. I interviewed
him. I went up afterward and pitched the idea of me dropping everything
remixed and his interviews for a mixtape. I make the mixtape and the
next thing I know people are calling me for these CDs. And from there
it just sort of progressed.
was Big Daddy Kane. It was the Isley Brothers, CL Smooth, The Roots,
Lauryn Hill and Kanye West. Whatever project came his way, J. Periods
stock began to rise as both a DJ and producer. But instead of picking
one profession over the other, he chose the middle ground, opting to
do both, and has done so successfully ever since.
is a big part of it, says J. Period. Everyone I know complains
of having someone look over their shoulder when producing. And with
production now, its so big legally and there are so many sample issues.
I can produce beats and do raw samples that I would otherwise have to
clear. Danger Mouse famously got in a lot of trouble for using those
Beatles samples. People that know my mixtapes know that certain songs
I produced, the artists would have never cleared the samples.
artist who used to simply go by J period, and one can understand
how its turned into its present moniker, is now a producer, DJ, the
go-to guy for mixtapes and best of albums, and is an example of
whats needed for the future of DeeJaying.
Period doesnt want to make it seem like hes the only one doing
this. Where he sees constant opportunities and chances to create new
music, for J. Period, the future of hip-hop and deejaying might seem like
a blank slate. But its DJs such as J. Period who are carving their
own interpretation of the culture, of hip-hop and all of music. And
if he is reinventing music, well then at some point J. Period does have
a vision, and he is the A&R he half-jokingly makes himself out to