Doctor J [Profile]
Montreal, QC – Our latest Prolific Profile is Doctor J, an MC coming out of Montreal’s Lachine borough. He’s currrenly promoting The Prescription, his debut solo project, and is working with HMan for their collaborative GQ release. Check out the interview after the jump and stay tuned for more Doctor J.
Doctor J: Q&A
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Doctor J: I define hip-hop as not only a culture, but a community. It’s about staying true to yourself, being original, standing up for what you believe in, and never backing down. It’s about being cool… Cool with yourself and cool with others. It’s about bringing something fresh and new to the table.
I see myself in every aspect of that definition. Growing up on hip-hop, I evolved into a “student of the game”, as I became not only a huge fan of the music, but an enthusiast of the culture as well. I have researched the roots of hip-hop and all the classic material that helped mold the genre into what it is today. I believe that my extensive hip-hop knowledge gives me a huge edge in being my own artist.
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
Doctor J: Apart from being a huge fan of the culture and having the creative urge to share my own story, the competitive aspect of it is where I get my drive from. I played basketball and football my whole life at highly competitive levels, and the reason I don’t anymore is because I made the decision to seriously pursue music as of two years ago. So as far as the competitive aspect goes, I look at it the same way I looked at ball: At the end of the day, the ones who train the hardest and have the best team will always come out on top.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically?
Doctor J: L-Town, Real City. (Lachine, Montreal)
HipHopCanada: How has living there influenced your sound?
Doctor J: Growing up in the L has influenced my music in a very INSTRUMENTAL way (pun intended). Having lived here my entire life so far, L-Town is where me and my homies developed our own style (Lachine style). Located on the south side of the island, Lachine is one of the few boroughs in Montreal where you have both upper-class suburbs as well as lower-class projects and public housing. Spending 21 years here to date, I have been exposed to the two lifestyles (upper- and lower-class), and the perspective I have gained from it definitely influences my music and myself as a person.
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Doctor J: I’d say that my fan base is primarily my city, MTL. I like to think it’s specifically the real hip-hop heads, those who rely heavily on complex lyrics and word play rather than just catchy beats and choruses. But I try to have a broad appeal. I get daps and love from all kinds of different audiences, including some that I would have never expected, which is always cool to see. I do my best to display my various styles through my music, so to say that I cater towards one specific fan base wouldn’t be true.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up, or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in the hip-hop industry?
Doctor J: The first thing that I would tell someone starting to pursue a career in rap is simple: Do you. Anyone can steal a style or mimic a certain sound. The only way to really last in this business is to find yourself as an artist and continue to do music that, above all, is real to you… real will always recognize real. Secondly, don’t give up on your hustle. Everyone and their mamas can write a 16’s these days. It’s the work OUTSIDE the studio – the endless time you put in to promote your music and yourself as an artist – that will land your record in the right hands. And landing your shit in the right hands is all it really takes to blow up and go on to the next level.
HipHopCanada: In which ways do you interact with your community?
Doctor J: I stay active in my neighborhood man. I put on my own shows, I take part in various other live shows and hip-hop showcases that other people host. I go to the radio stations in my city to promote my records and to bring them new tracks to air. I go around to different bars and clubs to give them my record to spin, etc. I try and do everything in my power, and more, to make sure my music reaches as many people as possible. I also affiliate with a Montreal-based clothing brand, SoYou Entrprise, which plays a big role in spreading my work around town.
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Doctor J: For my most recent project, “The Prescription”, I worked with a handful of MCs and producers (Boy6lue, Borden, Big Bricc, NessQuick, SkinDeep), but the most notable collaboration was with my homie HMan. We linked up through SkinDeep, who produces a lot for H and myself, and once we got that first session together (“Smell It”, prod. by SkinDeep), the rest was history. His unorthodox delivery and unique style has shown me that it’s not ALWAYS strictly about the lyrics, what it is ALWAYS about is the ENERGY. Chuuch!
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Doctor J: I’d want to link up with Classified if I had the opportunity. I always vibed to his production, dude can flip a nice sample. Not to mention his bars because dude can spit as well. I feel like he would have something right up my alley that I could definitely shine on.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects?
Doctor J: My past: Style & Substance. That’s my rap group that consists of me and my boy J-Blu. We released our debut mixtape last year entitled Raw & Uncut. Peep that! (jredthedoctor.com)
My present: The Prescription. That’s my solo debut project, out right now availabe for free download on my website. All original beats, and it’s a true BODY of work. Type of shit you listen to all the way through, front to back, on loop.
As for the future, HMan and I are working on a collaborative project, titled “GQ”, that we’re currently recording. I’ve also been working a lot with my producer (who also raps) NessQuick, and we should also be putting out a collaborative project in the future. And to top it all off, Style & Substance will always get back to work in the near future and start working on our follow up joint, Raw & Uncut II: Substance Abuse, so look out for all that!
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Doctor J: Everyone make sure to go download all of my work at jredthedoctor.com. Bump “The Prescription” on loop. Follow me on twitter @Dr_Jred, and get with the movement… Move or get moved on! Word is bond.