In today’s hip-hop space, there is no shortage of bass-heavy tracks, snares intertwined with 808’s and lyrics that bodaciously brag about the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Amid the smoke and mirrors of the industry are rappers who are known as straight shooters. Those who are not straying away from what’s real by keeping their lyrics and rhymes relatable yet intriguing.

Dreamville’s J.I.D is embodying what it means to rap from a real place and the world is taking notice. We caught up with J.I.D amid his ‘Never Had Sh*t tour to talk about his career, music, and what’s in store for the future.

They say creatives develop their talent between the ages of 5-11 years old. What were you listening to around that time? Do you think it has influenced you as an artist?

I was listening to a lot of music around that time. I was influenced a lot by the music my older siblings were listening to, I was the youngest of 7 so there was a variation of things I was listening to. My parents are older so I was also listening to what they were listening to. Subconsciously, I think it does.

When did you officially start rapping and who was the first person to recognize your talent?

College, a dude named Mark from California. He always told me I could rap. He told me I could really do it for real and I did.

How has Atlanta shaped who you are as an artist?

Atlanta is like a cluster of different flavors of black people. It’s inspirational in that sense. You can see the richest of black people and the poorest. The city is black as hell which makes it an interesting city to live in.

What has the last few years been like for you in music?

I was blessed with a platform to have a lot of people hear my music. That’s all I really wanted, not money, not fame, just a platform. A place where I could get my shit heard, and the people could respond organically. Luckily, they responded to it positively which is like the best sh*t ever.

Did you manifest your success or are you surprised by where you are in music?

I always knew I was going to do something great. It was always like something I felt. I knew it was going to be something good.

When did you start seeing yourself as a rapper?

This tour. I know that the people coming out are here to see me. I know that they’re rocking with my sound and my music and my brothers from Earth Gang who I’ve been rocking with since forever. So this year, November 1st.

What comes first in your creative process? The beats or the music?

It depends. I’m constantly writing so the words are always there. Sometimes the words come with the instrumentation and sometimes it’s the other way around.

Do you ever feel pressured to ride the wave of the popular artist out right now?

No I don’t. I listen to a lot of people and I like the stuff that I hear. I like what some of the guys are doing today and I like a lot of music from back in the day as well.

What has tour been like?

All of the dates have been selling out and it’s been love at every stop. In Cleveland there was a tornado watch and people still turned up to show love at the show. That date was one of our craziest shows. The energy from the first leg is definitely going to spill over into the second leg so I’m expecting it to get even crazier.

What can we expect from J.I.D in 2018?

Definitely more music. Once tour ends I want to get in the studio and put the finishing touches on the music I have brewing. So the plan is to keep moving forward.

 

J.I.D, Earth Gang, and Chaz French are set to take off on the second leg of the Never Had Shit tour via the west coast. For more, follow J.I.D here.