JD Era: Reign Of Era

Something has to be said for those artists North of the Border, they put the work in. Vying for radio love on Canada’s only urban station is a battle in itself, but getting the folks down south and across the water to open their ears to your product can make even the strongest man falter. […]


has to be said for those artists North of the Border, they put the work in.

Vying for radio love on Canada’s only urban station is a battle in itself, but

getting the folks down south and across the water to open their ears to your

product can make even the strongest man falter.


when you put JD Era under the spotlight, you conclude that this disciple of

Hip-Hop is determined to make sure those doors opened by the likes of Kardinal

Offishall, K’oS, Swollen Members and his home-boy Drake stay open. This is not

a passing phase for JD, he isn’t doing this because he can’t do anything else,

repping Toronto and creating music is simply what he enjoys the most.


recognizing that this was the path he was going to take, JD ERA set to

infiltrating the streets with a collection of mixtapes. His most recent Th1rt3en has been welcomed by fans and

critics a1like. It gives folks a chance to gravitate to the consistency he

exudes and at the same time anticipate the as of yet untitled album which he

will be releasing later this year through his own imprint.


competent in the boardroom as he is in the booth, JD Era is proof that the

crème de la crème from T-Town doesn’t necessarily need that major label love.

They are just going to get on and do it anyway.Music:Th1rt3en Mixape“Champagne Nights”

AllHipHop.com: Was rapping always the plan?

JD Era: Well as a kid I always used to do MC

battles and was always good at it. So it took over because it was what I was

always doing.


What was it that made you realize it was going to be more of a

profession as opposed to a hobby?

JD Era: 

When I was doing more music stuff than anything else. I mean I played

ball too and when it started taking over everything it took over my life and it

was all I was focusing on.


Were you parents supportive?

JD Era: 

Yeah they were. I have Ghanaian parents so their focus is school, school

and school. So at first it was like they were saying there was no future in it.

But they are definitely 100% behind it now and I have a good family.


Were you born in Toronto or Ghana?

JD Era: 

I was born in Toronto.


There is quite a big Ghanaian population in Toronto isn’t there?

JD Era: 

Yeah, there is a big community in Toronto. It is such a multi-cultural

place Toronto and for my parents there was just so much opportunity here.


Now you have just released your new mixtape, Th1rt3en, what has the response been so far?

JD Era: 

So far it has been crazy and I have been pleased that all the feedback

has been positive. The haters have been quiet [laughs]. Yeah they have been

silent. I am feeling blessed right now and I am enjoying this and building off



Is there a lot resting on this tape?

JD Era: 

Not so much because I have a lot of music tucked away as I am in the

studio a lot and it’s a case with this tape that people know there is a

movement happening. There is talent in Toronto that people need to hear and we

chose to go hard with it and show the world.


It came out through Black Market Music Group right?

JD Era: 

Yes that’s my organization, me and my cousin Fase.


Are you looking to do what Drake did by signing an out of country deal?

JD Era: 

We are independent, so it is more about looking for distribution. The

mixtapes have opened a lot of doors already and I am open to everything right

now and just looking to see what is out there for us.


Has the indie route always been the plan for you?

JD Era: 

Yeah because we come from a mixtape background, so our mentality is ‘do

it yourself .’ If you are doing it on your own, you make sure the people hear

it and that’s how we’ve always operated. No point in changing it now, that’s

the way to go.


So if someone waved a big check at you from a major, what then?

JD Era: 

Of course I am not a fool, but at the same time if it doesn’t happen it

isn’t going to slow my grind.


We’ve watched the decline of big deals over the last ten years, is this

why you chose to do it your way?

JD Era: 

That and the Internet changed the game. I am definitely one of the

people who have seen the changes and Drake’s mixtape being so big, it wasn’t a

surprise to me; I saw all the signs for that to happen. I have a bit of a

different perspective being from Toronto and seeing all the groundwork we were

putting in. I love the fact that I can use the Internet as a tool to reach a

bunch of different people and places. You know you’re interviewing me from the

UK for a US site; the Internet makes it so much easier for the music to

communicate as well as us.


Was the mixtape route you keeping you in tune with the streets?

JD Era: 

Yeah and that’s how it started. We came up in the streets and I actually

remember coming out to the UK to push my first mixtape, Black Market Volume 1 and that was six years ago. I met Shortee

Blitz and was on his show, so I have always been a person who is out pushing

their music; my team is always out with the people as that is how we started



Was it understanding how important a global fan base was that encouraged

you to travel to places like England?

JD Era: 

What I love about the UK is that you were open to listening to the

music. It’s a little different in the US in terms of getting people to take a

good listen to your music and give you an actual chance. You are open to music

plus you do so much different stuff. I love the Drum n Bass and the Garage.


Has the US been a hard market for you to tap into?

JD Era: 

Yes, it’s been a gradual thing and it has been like the UK in the sense

that you have to put in your work into breaking into markets. Plus they are

open to the music a lot more nowadays, which is good. I think that is part of a

generation change as well. With my generation of music we have the Kid Cudis,

the B.o.B’s; they are doing Hip-Hop a bit different to the traditional style

and I think people appreciate that.


You have a BG alum on your tape and a long time fave of mine Freddy

Gibbs. How did you hook up with Freddy?

JD Era: 

Gibbs is crazy. I hooked up with him through the kid who does my

artwork, Heinze, he is a huge fan of Freddie Gibbs. When he first him me up

about him he told me there was another rapper that looked like me, because

there’s not that many dark rappers. So I was like ‘whatever’ and that was how

it started out. He asked Gibbs management if he could jump on the record and he

did and he killed it. Gibbs verse on that track is crazy.


And on Don Cannon beat.

JD Era: 

Yeah had to go big with that one [laughs]. Shout out to the kid. I

connected with Cannon through someone else who works for me. He got me some

beats and when Cannon heard the record he co-signed it.


Have you faced many obstacles thus far in your career?

JD Era: 

Every day is an obstacle until everyone else has heard the music and

that is how it is going to be. But I guess one of the challenges has been

breaking into the US market. Everything comes in good time and with work. I am

just going to keep on working over here, nothing stops.


Coming from the mixtape era but with a strong Internet presence, how

influential have the blogs been on breaking you, as some say they have

literally replaced the DJs?

JD Era: 

They definitely helped a lot but you can’t deny the importance and

relevance of the DJ playing your record in a club. As much as people are

getting it and putting it on their IPods, a big record is a record that is

being played everywhere. So you need the DJ just as much as you need the blogs.

They are both good ways to get the music out but you can’t cut the DJ out.


Securing airplay in Toronto is pretty tough right?

JD Era: 

Yes for some people but the issue is that we don’t have many Hip-Hop

stations. There is only one urban station in all of Canada and if you are on it

you’re on it and if you are not on it, then you have to make some Top 40 music.


Was it easy for you to make those hits to get you airplay?

JD Era: 

I think because I came into the game really young, I got to see a lot of

things and understand the music business while I was getting better with the

music. So from early on I got to see how radio works and because of that I took

it upon myself to figure out how that all works. I mean it’s still a grind.

They are receptive to new artists and new music which is why I have been

blessed. There could be a lot more radio stations, which would encourage out

scene a lot. There is a good energy going on right now in Toronto and people

are putting in work right now and it is good to see the results. Kardinal has

opened the door and set the pace for us but not we are seeing it a little



He is on the new Estelle joint, is that something we can see you doing

on your impending album, a few collabos?

JD Era: 

I got a couple of joints, the Bobby Valentino joint ‘Cover Girl,’ which

I am holding on to. But some things will start to surface soon.


When is the album scheduled?

JD Era: 

Looking at summertime. We are just working over the plan for the album

right now. You know we push the tape out to a great response and now we are

going to breathe for a minute, then get back into the studio and it will all be

figured out.

AllHipHop.com:  Like you said there is a great energy in

Toronto now, so egos haven’t kicked in yet?

JD Era: Yeah definitely; everyone sees the

potential and no one wants to be the idiot that ruined it [Laughs]. I hope no

one is dumb enough to do that. That’s a warning [laughs].

 Please Visit JD Era at:twitter.com/JDERAwww.myspace.com/jdera