J-Kwon, the St. Louis born rapper who burst onto the scene a few months ago with his hit “Tipsy,” acts a lot like someone who doesn’t have a set course or destination. The Arista/So So Def artist maintains that only God knows the true path to what will transpire from his rap career. Obviously, based on the hear-and-now, he seems to be on the path to success. Still he seems rather uneasy and secretive about where he is heading and what he wants to do next. Perhaps his reluctance is due to his highly unstable past and the 17-year-old is just like other teens - caught up in the ebb and flow of reality.
AllHipHop.com: How has growing up poor in St Louis helped you become who you are today in the rap game, how has it shaped you?
J-Kwon: I don’t think it really mattered where I’m from, I could be from Italy. Its all about your life and your mentality. The streets don’t make you, the streets just follow you, they just make you stronger. It doesn’t matter if I was from the boon docks.
AllHipHop.com: Now when did you start rhyming?
J-Kwon: I started at 12. That’s when I decided I wanted to do this the rest of my life.
AllHipHop.com: When you were out there struggling out on the streets, who did you admire the most and who did you look to as a role model?
J-Kwon: I didn’t have no role models. I’m pretty sure if I had one they’d pull me in. I’m my own role model.
AllHipHop.com: You didn’t model yourself after anybody at all?
J-Kwon: I modeled myself after Jay-Z a little bit cause I liked his style, but its not really like that, because I’m on the streets I can’t call it how he going about it because he a made man. We living in two different realities. I’m wishing on God, he’s wishing his album sales, so that’s all I had.
AllHipHop.com: How has your record, Hood Hop, impacted your life physically and emotionally over the past few months?
J-Kwon: It is me. It is my slogan as you can say. That’s what I represent. I’m just thinking about my next album. I got versatility. It’s helped me get through, yah I got money, I’m trying to get more. It really ain’t all that, my kids cool, my momma cool, I’m straight, and the people handling business with me straight. But what that mean ya know what I’m saying, we trying to sell records and that ain’t about the money, if I end up with nothing ain’t nothing missing because I never had it.
AllHipHop.com: How much creative control did you have over the record?
J-Kwon: I had a lot, I had all of it. If you open up the notes and look in the credits I wrote every song, everything.
AllHipHop.com: But I understand, as we’ve seen in the past, Jermaine Dupri likes to guide a lot of his younger artists to a point? Did he take you under his wing at all?
J-Kwon: I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not talking, I love JD. JD is a great marketer, put that in there.
AllHipHop.com: Did the success of your single and your album surprise you?
J-Kwon: Am I surprised? I’m surprised my single hit number one.
AllHipHop.com: What contribution do you feel you’re making to hip hop as a whole?
J-Kwon: I don’t know yet. Its too early for me to decide, plus its not for me to decide. You gotta go around with a tally sheet and go around and ask kids and people, ‘yo is J Kwon hot?’, okay what do you think you’d change about the new shit, and whatever they change that’s what it is. You can’t judge yourself. I can’t look in the mirror and say I’m cute, you can’t judge yourself. I’d be straight hypocritical if I judged myself. Only God can judge you.
AllHipHop.com: Where were you one year ago at this time?
J-Kwon: I was in the studio. I was starting recording Hood Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Do you see yourself having a long career in hip hop or do you plan on using this as a stepping stone into some other field of the entertainment industry?
J-Kwon: I don’t know yet. Like I said once again, I cannot predict my life. I can’t even try that. I’m doing me, that’s what I’m doing, I’m doing me.
AllHipHop.com: What message would you give to all the people or kids out there trying to make it as a rapper?
J-Kwon: Don’t do this shit. Stay in school. Do what you believe in. If you believe in being a rapper, just do you, have fun. Just stay focused, I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression, just stay focused.
AllHipHop.com: I noticed Daz Dillinger in your video for “Tipsy”, whats you’re relationship with Daz, and how has he shown you some rules to the game?
J-Kwon: I’m not gonna comment on that. I’m just gonna say me and Daz’s relationship is good. He in the new video too. Me and Daz are cool, me and Daz have a relationship.
AllHipHop.com: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
J-Kwon: The plans for the rest of the year is, get as much attention as I can, cause as much trouble as I can, and sell records.