Canadian emcee B Jay recently released his album “The Voice of the Misunderstood” earlier this year. It’s a personal and deep excursion that’s filled with underground hip hop production, something that still isn’t always widely accepted these days. I had a chance to talk with the Canadian standout to talk about his project, the lessons learned from creating music & what’s to come.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who are still wondering, who is B Jay?
BJay: BJay is an emcee from Toronto and an enthusiast of all forms of hip hop.
BJay is a basketball junkie, a bit of a comic nerd, but mainly just a dude trying to live his life the way he sees fit.
DEHH: With underground getting somewhat of a bad rep these days for being boring, I’m always lightened up by up and coming artists who respect & enjoy underground hip-hop, how did you get into hip-hop and how did you determine this was the medium you wanted to express yourself on?
BJay: I got into hip hop back in middle school I believe the first CD I bought was E.1999 Eternal by Bone Thugs n Harmony. I was really amazed with how fast they were rapping on their songs, but what really caught my attention was how well they blended singing into their songs. After digging more into their discography, I fell in love with the genre. It wasn’t until the middle of highschool when I met SP did I really want to start writing my own raps over industry beats just for fun. Not long after it eventually it turned into the right outlet for me to express feelings that I have bottled inside.
DEHH: Who are some emcees who inspire you? What are some of your favorite hip-hop albums?
BJay: Emcees that continue to inspire me are Royce Da 5’9, his flow is uncanny to me, he always makes me want to head straight to my notepad and his overall versatility on songs is also extremely inspiring. Elzhi, is an artist that whenever he drops I find myself in awe just with how well he meshes his flow and battle rap style with being able to tell stories and rap about stuff that’s mad relatable to me. Joe Budden though “retired” whenever I dive into his catalogue I’m always inspired but his introspectiveness and how much of his soul and passion he puts forth on his songs.
Some of my favourite hip hop albums gotta be
Captial Punishment – Big Pun
MMLP – Eminem
Bone Thugs – e.1999 eternal
Doggystyle – Snoop
GRODT – 50
The Cool – Lupe
Blueprint – Jay
Minstrel Show – Little Brother
DEHH: Let’s jump into the music, what was the inspiration behind “The Voice of the Misunderstood”?
BJay: Making this project came at a time where I had just dropped out of school and stopped playing varsity basketball. I’ve always loved making music but I never really got to focus on it as much as I would’ve like especially during my Uni days. Every time I would tell people I rap or made music I would get a funny look or people would say things like “foh you are a baller, that’s what you’re meant to do.” So this project was me kind of giving a voice to those who may felt as if they’ve been pegged to be a certain person that they truly might not be and dealing with the internal struggle of what you want and need vs what is expected of you by the people closest. That is something that I’ve struggled with, as friends and family would stop supporting me the same way they would when I was playing ball. Accepting that school may not be for me at this moment was extremely hard for me as I felt a lot of pressure to finish seeing that no other men in my family have a diploma.
DEHH: Tell me about your choice to only have one feature on this project.
BJay: Since this was a bit of a personal project I wanted listeners to get a better idea of who I am as an artist and so I never really thought to reach out to other artists unless it made sense for the song. I did have a DJ do all the scratching on the project DJ K-Flip and the one feature Rae killed her hook for “time don’t” originally, I had planned to just sing the hook myself but she took that one to another level.
DEHH: The process of creating a project and then going on to share with the world is not an easy one, what did you learn about yourself during the process of making this album?
BJay: Self-sabotage. When writing a lot of these songs it brought me back to times where I was close to breaking out in ball but I wouldn’t fully commit myself, whether it be taking the SAT’s or playing for a prep team, I would shy away from it. I almost fell into those same habits with this project as many times I thought not to drop it, because it was uncomfortable for me to touch on certain topics, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for strangers to hear some about my insecurities.
DEHH: What do you want people who listen to “The Voice of the Misunderstood” to walk away with?
BJay: An honest hip hop record. Along with the message that even when people doubt you or don’t fully understand what your goals are in life you can’t let that push you away from the things you love doing.
DEHH: I know it’s only second quarter, but what can expect from you for the rest of 2018?
BJay: Rest of 2018 you can find me with my rap duo The Junkies, we drop an EP a month in homage of Horseshoe Gangs mixtape monthly & Crooks Hip Hop Weekly series
I’m also working on a full length project to release later this year which is Titled “Thoughts” as of right now.
In addition to that I looking to get some shows lined up this summer
I also started a Pop Culture site in October of last year www.junkiesent.com that I will be continuing to grow throughout the year, with hip hop playthroughs, video game reviews, r&b and hip hop playlists etc.
Keep your ears perked as B Jay will be performing in Hamilton, Ontario on June 6th.