Following in the footsteps of his iconic uncle Rakim, comes Long Island emcee J Readi. The rising lyricist began putting rhymes together in the second grade, and by the age of 16 he was already in the studio recording tracks professionally.
His famous relative was not the only musical influence on Readi. Growing up in a family of rhythmically talented individuals, Readi and his brother both learned to play the keyboard and the drums. But it was the microphone that eventually became the Strong Islander's instrument of choice.
Readi made some crucial connections in the beginning stages of his career. He and his then rhyming partner Fresh hooked up with future superproducer Mike Will Made It in the mid 2000’s. A bond was formed between the Atlanta board master and the New York rapper that still exists today.
While on his early grind, Readi also contributed to The Fly Guy Family’s Rise Of The Empire mixtape and worked with Brooklyn’s indie champ Skyzoo. Then came his own solo project The Welcome Mat.
Up next, Readi is set to offer Radio Readi which will feature the newly released single “Insufficient Funds” and the forthcoming track “Young Gods." Readi plans for the entire collection to provide a genuine feel of who he truly is as an individual, yet still remain personable to listeners.
AllHipHop.com spoke with J Readi for the “Three Questions” series. The interview includes the street poet giving his list of the top emcees of all time, reflecting on a classic Hip Hop film, and his m.o. for treating the ladies when the bank account happens to be low.
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Who are your top 5 rappers dead or alive?
No order. I’m going to go with Jay and Nas. Those two are great, so you gotta put those two in there. I would say Eminem. This is tough, because there are so many. I really got a top 10. I want to say Andre 3000 and Pac.
If you could have starred in the role of any movie character played by a rapper, which one would you choose?
I'd want to be 2Pac in Juice. It was one of the movies that definitely influenced me and my music. Then of course unc [Rakim] being on the soundtrack was huge.
Pac’s character was kind of crazy. He’s the opposite of who I am as a person, but I think it would be interesting for me to play that kind of role… I’m the good guy in real life. [laughs]
What is a creative way to pull off a date when you have insufficient funds?
You gotta have that EBT card, so you can get whatever food you're gonna need. I’m gonna buy the chocolates. I might even buy the Pop Secret. As long as the cable's still hooked up, we’re gonna make sure we got the Netflix going. That’s the perfect date for me.
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Listen to J Readi’s “Insufficient Funds” below.