BEHIND THE BEATS: Nu Jerzey Devil
Compton transplant via New York / New Jersey.
The Game, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Amerie, Busta Rhymes, Lil Scrappy, Honey Score, Beef III Score.
AKAI MPC 4000, ROLAND Phantom X8, & Roland XV 5080.
He might not be a household name, but you've most likely zoned out to some of the several songs under his belt. For the last couple of years, Nu Jerzey Devil has quietly crafted the soundtrack to the new generation of West Coast Gangster music. Originally getting his start with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, the Bronx born producer soon found himself in Los Angeles.
His gritty street influence which reflects through his beats soon caught the attention of The Game. Now with records of his own set to be released this year, the bi-coastal producer talks about touring with Chuck Taylor, his preference for live instrumentation over machines and getting thrown under the bus by Darkchild.
AllHipHop.com: For those who arent familiar with you, tell us where youre from and how you got into producing.
Nu Jerzey Devil: I was born in the Bronx, raised in Jersey, moved to Compton and pretty much thats where my music started bubbling at. Im a music producer, DJ, Rapper; I have my own label and clothing line. Im pretty much a jack of all trades.
AllHipHop.com: Sonically what songs from that era stood out the most to you?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Back in the day I went through a big Boogie Down Productions phase obviously because I was born in the Bronx. My Philosophy from BDP was my joint. I wasnt really aware of the production stage, I just knew about the rappers and the song. When I started learning about production, Havoc from Mob Deep really got my attention. Everything they were doing I felt like I could relate to and I think thats what made me want to start doing beats.
AllHipHop.com: How did you get your first break?
Nu Jerzey Devil: The first time I made contact with anybody in the industry, I was in my studio in Atlantic City and I got a two-way message from Rodney Darkchild Jerkins. I didnt even believe it was him to be honest. So I finally replied to him and he told me he heard my music from beats I was doing for people around the neighborhood and a lot of demo tapes I was doing. From there I really started getting noticed by my music.
AllHipHop.com: Talk about your time with Darkchild.
Nu Jerzey Devil: The first project was the Honey soundtrack. The very first song I did on the soundtrack was the Amerie song Think Of You. It was a crazy experience because Ive never been around any famous people or nothing like that; I was only twenty one years old. It was crazy to hear the final product. Just to hear a big-time artist on one of my beats was amazing.
AllHipHop.com: How would you describe your production style?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Most notably everybody knows my music to be grimy, but right now Im definitely trying to do everything. I dont limit myself to one style of music. When you hear my music on mixtapes, its a lot of hard drums. If I had to compare it to anything, I would say its a mixture of a Mobb Deep / Dr. Dre sound because those are the two people Ive been looking up to coming up on my production career. They definitely did have an effect on me.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you stand on using equipment versus live instruments?
Nu Jerzey Devil: I try to use a lot of live instruments because anybody can get a sound from a keyboard, but when you bring a musician in you get a whole new sound. When I bring a guy in to use a specific instrument, you cant get that from a keyboard. It brings a live vibe to the whole situation.
AllHipHop.com: How did you link up with The Game?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Through Darkchild and the move to Los Angeles. We were working on the My Baby Daddy soundtrack. And my sound is way more grimy, street and gritty so he took to my music more and we just formed a bond. When my contract was up with Rodney, I just felt like my music and my style is more fitting and catered to The Game, so thats when I just jumped ship.
AllHipHop.com: How did the Black Wall Street relation come about?
Nu Jerzey Devil: That was actually right before Game started bubbling. Black Wall Street started as just homies wearing t-shirts. It turned out to be something great; its a movement. Game is trying to take it to the next level of being an actual label; its not there yet, were still working out the kinks. Its definitely helped me out a lot and took my career to another level.
AllHipHop.com: Describe the first time you were jerked as a producer?
Nu Jerzey Devil: The first time I got jerked was Rodney Jerkins. It was actually with the Amerie song. I told everybody in the world go buy that soundtrack. I went with my brother to the store and then I open up the package and Im looking through the credits, and Im looking and looking, and I just see Rodney Jerkins; produced by Rodney Jerkins.
I was like is there something wrong? I didnt even know how to read credits at the time because it was my first time doing anything. So I called him up and he told me it was an administration error or something like that. You know how that goes, but I felt like I paid my dues and I dont hold no grudges or nothing like that. He still gave me my break but hes doing his thing and Im doing my thing, were still cool. I think its a stepping stone and I think everybody got to go through it.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your most memorable studio experience?
Nu Jerzey Devil: My most memorable moment was working with Game on Documentary and that was the first time I met Dr. Dre. Me being a producer obviously hes somebody I look up to and he came to me and started giving me some pointers. We were in the studio room and we were working with Gwen Stefani, and he started playing me all his production hes been doing with her and I was just amazed that I was sitting in the studio with Dr. Dre.
Not a lot of producers can actually say that they went in and sat with the one of the best producers in the world. It felt like just yesterday I was in Compton doing nothing and today Im in the studio with Dre.
AllHipHop.com: What brought on the decision to go from producing to becoming an artist yourself?
Nu Jerzey Devil: It was always in the back of my head, but one day I was with Game and a fan came up to me and said Hey Jerzey Devil, and Game said Man you got fans you might as well just start rapping. So I tried it, and I liked it and ran with it. So the next time I came back to Game I played some songs for him and he liked it. When we went on tour I was doing the songs and people was feeling it so here I am.
Nu Jerzey Devil Featuring Lil Wayne
**For the latest in AllHipHop Reviews sign up to our Twitter @ twitter.com/ahhreviews