Player Turned Rhymesayer – An Intro to J Dennis [Article/Interview]
Vancouver, BC – The rap game isn’t where Jerome Dennis aka J Dennis started playing. Although from a young age he had taken an interest in hip-hop – beginning to write rhymes at age 13 – his earlier years were spent in a whole different ball-game. Football to be specific.
“I worked on music the whole time – it’s my therapy. Music is my therapy”
Dividing his time and passion came later on when the Southern California native made his mark in the football scene, accepting a scholarship to Utah State to play ball. While studying and football took up most of his time he never quit rhyming “I worked on music the whole time – it’s my therapy. Music is my therapy”. Dennis even recalls a time where playing and performing crossed over and he had to leave the field straight for the stage, “it was nice – we killed it”. Both the game and the show he explains.
Dennis graduated Utah State with a B.A in sports management, accepted a position with the Indianapolis Colts and eventually he made his way to Vancouver, landing a defense spot on the BC Lions. A good portion of his football career was spent as a Lion although a brief period in 2010 was spent in Hamilton with the Tiger-Cats. Dennis came back out West to win the 2011 Grey Cup Championship with the BC Lions and after being released the following year he was faced with a choice – get back in the game and grind hard or start to focus on his other passion – rapping.
J Dennis with Killawatt opening for Pete Rock and CL Smooth in Vancouver
At 31, the transition feels comfortable and his focus is now split between music and his daughter. He’s settled out West and has linked with Vancity heavyweights Red1 and the Killawatt crew while mixing tracks with the likes of HeatWave, Young Hungry, Eliza Smith and working with producers K-Rec, Kemo and Stroker De Luca. His grind is heavy and he’s ready to work, planning some new material as well as an Australian tour date for SupaFest 2013 with team Killawatt. J Dennis gives off the energy of a winner and not only when he’s flexing a championship ring. He has a passion for hip-hop and the attitude of a champion so we’re keeping him on our radar, we suggest you do too. Check out some of his recent material below.
Words and photos by KassKills for HipHopCanada