Young, Black and Gettin’ It: ICEH2O Canada’s JD Era takes all [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – JD Era just may be the crown prince of Canadian hip-hop: we weren’t too sure what to expect from the first signee to Raekwon’s ICE H2O Canada label, but he between his downright filthy rap style and his refreshingly sweet personality, we’re certainly sold.
“I’m putting the whole country on my back
and letting Americans know…
it’s not on some fake shit and we can compete.”
Era adds a fresh dimension to the classic styles of Rae, and he’s currently touring with the Wu legend on the Unexpected Victory tour across Canada. Between the mixtapes, the videos and the tour, it’s alarmingly apparent that this kid’s not gonna stop till he’s proven to the world that Canada can compete on every level of the game. HHC’s #TeamHeartbreak was lucky enough to spend some private time with the dashing and daring MC, and he opened up to us about his come-up, his future, and being on the road with Raekwon.
HipHopCanada: What’s the story of your come up?
JD Era: Well, I started out a battle rapper from Toronto just kinda working my way through the scene. We started putting out mixtapes and we’re kinda like the first generation to be doing the mixtape thing. I just built my fan base off of my mixtapes and pushing it online, you know, doing my thing throughout the city. Then luckily I connected with Raekwon and he heard some of my music and everything else is just history. This guy’s a legend you know what I mean? I grew up listening to his shit so it’s kinda surreal for me.
HipHopCanada: What are your hopes in working with Raekwon and IceH2O Canada?
JD Era: Personally, it’s kind of a dream for me to have a full length release but for the label, I really wanna just put on for the label. Rae came over to Toronto, he heard some of our stuff and he set up shop in Toronto, in Canada. To me it’s some crazy shit because it’s never happened before. Especially with all the labels coming out. We have our own independent labels and I know the struggle that we go through so to have someone with that network like Rae, the history like Rea, that legacy that is like some un-parallel shit for hip-hop. Me, I do it for the culture but for hip-hop in Canada, this is some of the best shit that could happen. So, I’m just trying to represent for the whole country and take it to the next level.
HipHopCanada: Rae’s kind of a live wire, he must be kind of fun. So what’s your funniest Raekwon story?
JD Era: Rae’s just a funny guy. You can tell by the way he raps; he paints crazy pictures with his raps. He’s mad witty with his raps. Just being on the bus, we’re on day 3 right now and he’s just got jokes. Every time he sleeps it’s like he wakes up with something new. He just has like a crazy vocab, the way he flips shit is crazy. He’s just a funny guy.
HipHopCanada: So you’re on the Unexpected Victory tour now, what is your knowledge of Canada? Are you kind of an East Coast guy or…?
JD Era: I’m am kind of an East coast guy. This is my first time around the country, first show in Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler. I’ve been to Saskatchewan. This is what people don’t understand about Canada when it comes to hip-hop we have a real love for real hip-hop and when you get across to some of the places like Saskatchewan or like Whistler – our show in Whistler I wasn’t sure what to expect but they showed mad love. Out here in Vancouver, mad love. Coming from Toronto you’re not sure how they are gonna receive you but its been really good so far. I think. Coming with Rae obviously helps but we’re just trying to represent the whole country you know. I’m putting the whole country on my back and letting Americans know we got MCs out here. Like real MCs and it’s not on some fake shit and we can compete.
HipHopCanada: Have you ever felt between the East and West Coasts of Canada there’s tension in the hip-hop game?
JD Era: Not so much tension but for me like I just wanna work with more West Coast MCs who are buzzin’. I know about Sonreal, we just chopped it up actually. I know about Tre Nyce and I literally as a Toronto guy am just peepin’ what’s goin’ on in the West Coast I could kinda watch them come up a little bit. Obviously like the Rascalz, I’m good friends with Kemo and he’s been sending me music, we’ve been doin’ something you know so I’m always trying to stay connected to the West Coast. That comes more from watching guys like Kardi do shit with guys like the Rascalz so I’m looking forward to working with more Canadian artists. I really wanna work with MadChild, I got this crazy idea for him and I just love the shit he’s doing. I saw him on King Of Tha Dot and that brought me back to my battle roots so yeah, I know you guys got mad MCs over here.
HipHopCanada: You said on stage tonight that you love fuckin’ bad bitches so here’s a question we ask all our new friends, thick or thin girls?
JD Era: Oh, thick girls. Come on, I gotta hold on to something.
HipHopCanada: What does it take to get retweeted by you?
JD Era: I’m the fucking retweet king. I retweet a lot. You just have to mention me and I usually give a lil’ something back. Honestly, I’m trying to work on my social media abilities; Rae has been on me about this.
HipHopCanada: Ok, so lets just finish off by telling us what you got? What’s next?
JD Era: Well, I got a new mix-tape coming out in March called No Handouts. Check it out at nohandouts.net. Me and Rae just been recording and that’s the good thing about being on the road I get to send him beats like “yo, what you think about this joint?’ So me and him got a video coming got some stuff coming. I’m just gonna be flooding the net with a lot of music and just flooding the streets and letting people know. I’ve been outta the game for a minute, this is my thirteenth mixtape I just wanna let people know I wasn’t away just pickin’ boogers I was doing some work and Rae defiantly has got some insight on the new work, I’m excited. Working with some new producers and not just American producers I got a whole lot of Canadian producers as well. I really think we got the best sound in the world right now, I honestly believe that. I’m ready to put out some music, Era, Era, and Era. Era, Era, the best five rappers of all time. Haha that’s how I’m feeling.
HipHopCanada: You’re a champ! Thanks for hanging out.
Interview conducted by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada and #TeamHeartbreak
Photography by KassKills for HipHopCanada and #TeamHeartbreak