J Star: A True #AirCanada Proving That Canadian Hip-Hop Doesn't Stop At Drake
#AirCanada – it’s more than just a hashtag for a trending topic on Twitter. AirCanada represents an artist out of Canada that is fully representing Canada to the fullest. With the recent release of his “Free Agent” mix-tape, Canadian artist J Star is known for living his life with little-to-no boundaries and limitations.
“Free Agent” is J Star's second mixtape with the lead single, “Clap, Clap, Clap” featuring Vado and Twista – has he gotten your attention yet? By the end of this interview, we're sure the features listed on his lead single will be the least interesting thing you read:
AllHipHop.com: You’re originally from Jamaica and have citizenship in Canada, correct?
J Star: I was born raised in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada when I was seven. Though I live in Canada, I still consider Jamaica home, and I try to go back every two years. Canada is were we immigrated to, but I’ve lived all over. I’ve lived in Windsor (Canada), Detroit, Philly, Vancouver (Canada), and New York, but at the end of the day, Toronto is home. I rep Toronto, but I show love to all of Canada – that’s why I say “Air Canada.”
AllHipHop.com: How are you going about establishing yourself as an Artist and appealing to the U.S. market?
J Star: There are one out of five people trying to break into the music industry right now. New mixtapes are popping up daily on the web and in the streets. You have to separate yourself, so I’ve been doing that with myself and my music. Music is my passion, so I don’t allow what I hear on the outside (musically) to interrupt or sway my own creative process. My network allows me to take my music abroad, touching certain cities with my sound. Music is my baby and I continuing work at it daily. When you have good music it appeals to everyone!
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been around as an artist?
J Star: I’ve always been around – behind the scenes type of stuff, so I’ve always been around the game, writing here and there. Years wise, I’ve been around for the last 10 years. I started off working with two produces 10 years ago, writing and shopping beats. As far as branding myself personally as an artist, that happened within the last five years or so. I still work with a very close friend of mine who produces on our label, "Face Beats"
AllHipHop.com: Do you think you’ve grown since the release of your first project?
J Star: Of course, everyone grows with time. I think my first tape, The Plane Is My Home, had a lot of what I wanted to give the public, which was a variety of music. I went with the title, 'The Plane Is My Home', because the music came from all over, and I was traveling a lot while putting together the compilation of music. It was a different album, and it gave people a sample of me musically. My second project was the growth of me as an artist. It wasn’t a real storyline behind, “Free Agent”; it highlighted me more as “game-changer” in the industry. I gave the public me and the music I enjoy making verses trying to meet industry standards. The beats I chose for my second project had harder baselines and were more punchline driven, I like to refer to it as “punch you in your face” music.
AllHipHop.com: What have you taken from your first project to this current mixtape style-wise?
J Star: My aim was a "Summertime Vibe." I wanted to create something people wanted to put in their stereos and blow their speakers. I took the energy from my first mixtape and amped it up to 10! Free Agent is full of energy! I did the last tape for various amounts of people, and this one gives the fans a whole lot more of me lyrically.
AllHipHop.com: Forever Young Entertainment is the “Indie” label you’re working with, correct?
J Star: Yep, I’m coming off of Forever Young Entertainment out of Canada. My clique goes by the name "Forever Young Fly GanG.”
AllHipHop.com: You’re gearing up to release a special project. Can you talk about that?
J Star: I just got back from L.A., recording a collaboration project with Twista and Vado, “Clap Clap Clap ” with. I’m geeked about the project; it took a lot of time to get this ready, and now it’s about to drop.
Vado got on it and then Twista got on it – Twista heard the track and he liked it, and it’s been epic. It’s been a blessing working with him, as he is a legend in the game. Everything else came together with it – video shot and all. Now it’s just time to run with it – it’s going to be a single but, I look at it more as my introduction track.
AllHipHop.com: What else can we expect from you?
J Star:Free Agent is out. It’s available at datpiff.com and livemixtapes.com. (http://www.datpiff.com/J-Star-Free-Agent-mixtape.371164.html) My Twitter name is (@ Fyejstar), everything is on twitter so just hit me there.
Next, for me to connect with the people, the streets, club, office building, anywhere people are at - just to get the music out there. I am working on my next project, LIV, trying to stay ahead of the game. Always expect music from me – not just rap but music. LIV is going to have more surprises feature-wise. Free Agent doesn’t have any features besides the bonus track, “Clap Clap Clap”, which is a remix from the first mixtape.
AllHipHop.com: How did you go about securing DJ Mustard to host your mixtape?
J Star: I'm a fan of his past mixtapes. To see his production take rise, it’s a signature sign that hard work pays off, so it wasn't a hard decision to have him host Free Agent. I sent him the tracks, and he was all the way in. DJ Mustard hosted my mixtape because he is on that level where he is breaking into a producer – he is buzzing with "Rack City". It shows that his hard work is paying off and I noticed it, so I wanted him to host my tape. He’s still new, but he’s been around for a minute, and I respect his hustle.
AllHipHop.com: How do you make yourself stand out from other up and coming artists?
J Star: I'm consistent, and I don't put myself in a lane. Sometimes as artists, we forget the music and worry so much about the business that we sacrifice the sound. I'm able to move when I want to, and that is one of the keys to this biz, being in the right place at the right time. I'm versatile with my delivery, and it's always catered to the sound and the vibe of the song, so the audience can't pinpoint the next thing coming, usually; it leaves a element. One of the biggest assets about me as an upcoming artist is I understand branding.
AllHipHop.com: Are you looking to get signed major label?
J Star: If the deal is right. There are a lot of games played when trying to control and steer your own destiny, at the point in my career, with the help of the almighty, I like to have some control right now. I'm blessed, and I keep one thing in mind - there's always someone that wants it just as bad as me, so my advantage is no sleep, 'cause money don't sleep, why should I? The majors aren't going to look at you if you aren't already being looked at by the public. That's what it is, so #Dowork.
Follow J Star on Twitter (@fyejstar).