Being the oldest of 5 children and born in San Lorenzo, Calif., an artist by the name of Jake Slakey, aka JPrice, arose. As a way of channeling his inner anger and frustrations, he started writing rhymes back in the 8th grade. His message is, “Music is beyond a passion for me, it became a way of life. Every situation we endure in life can be a topic for a song. I try to apply the simplest concepts in terms of subject matter to my music to relate to a wide variety of audiences and then attack the simplicity lyrically to open peoples’ minds to different views and meanings of life.”
Just recently, JPrice released his first mixtape called, “Food For Thought” and had his first performance at the infamous Key Club in Hollywood. The doors have opened for the young emcee and his musical voyage continues next week, opening for Phife Dawg at another historical Hollywood location, The Roxy on 27 April 27, 2012.
PCLP: You just launched your mixtape and had a debut performance at the Key Club in Hollywood; describe your experience with both?
JPrice: I had been in the studio recording songs for two years with no direction or thoughts of a mixtape, so when my debut mixtape “Food For Thought” dropped it was a huge deal for me, personally. People knew I was always in the lab recording, but I had nothing to show for it. I started promoting the release of the mixtape on March 1, 2012 and officially dropped the tape on March 12. After one full day, the mixtape had reached over 150 downloads and it was the most humbling experience of my life. I stand at over 800 downloads and it’s been less than a month. To have no true fan base, almost no networking skills, and very little promotion the tape was a HUGE success for me. I was being contacted on Twitter by people I’ve never met wanting to congratulate me, give me praise and collaborate on new projects, which gave me so much motivation to continue to pursue my dream. And the performance at the Key Club was the icing on the cake. I felt like everything was coming together so nicely. Being on stage and looking into the eyes of people who took time out of there day to watch me perform live was amazing. To see their reactions with every song and how much they enjoyed them was personally fulfilling. The crowd reaction was totally positive, which allowed my first performance to be an exciting and memorable experience I’ll never forget.
PCLP: Describe the feelings and emotions you have when you perform your music?
JPrice: Well, nervousness was the first emotion i endured when performing my music, but once the butterflies settle it turns into pride. Through each song I perform, all the emotions I had when I wrote it reappear and it humbles me. It allows me to re-evaluate my situation and show myself how far I’ve come personally and musically. I also experience a huge adrenaline rush while performing because the spotlights on and its all eyes on you. Performing is a way of showcasing my abilities as a musician without holding anything back. I put my heart into every song I write and I use the same approach to my live performances. It allows me to connect with the audience in a way that downloading my music on a computer couldn’t do. It’s a more personal interaction with the people who support me and are the driving force to why I continue to make music.
PCLP: Is there a particular song that takes you back to a memorable moment?
JPrice: Well, the song “Imma Make It,” off my debut mixtape “Food For Thought,” brings back so many memorable moments in my life. The second verse brings me back to a simpler time in my life. Before my family’s breakup, the eviction, and my dad’s jail sentence, the verse puts me back in the house with my brothers playin’ basketball and joking around and enjoying life unaware of what was to come. It puts me back to a time I called the “Perfect Years.” Then I listen to the third verse which was a shout out to my producer D-Temple and close friend/ beat-maker Statik. It reminds me when I used to just write music and shy away from revealing it. It reminds me of the first song I recorded and how unprepared and uneducated I was about recording. I had no idea how to double my lyrics, adlib my verses, throw in my main phrases, record between bars, or follow a beat structure. It makes me laugh and reminds me how far I’ve come with my music and how persistent I am in being the best artist I can be.
PCLP: What would you say separates your music from anything else out there today?
JPrice: Purity. I’m not pursuing music as a career to impress people, show off what I have, or try to be someone I’m not. I make music because I put my heart and emotion into every song and I truly enjoy my craft. I take great pride in providing people quality music that is completely 100% true to my character. It makes every fan a true fan of you as a person when your music is a direct and true reflection to you as a human being.
PCLP: Tell the audience something they don’t know about you?
JPrice: It sounds crazy but I felt like Wale stole my idea about the More About Nothing Mixtape where he samples and bases the mixtape around the sitcom Seinfeld. Im a huge fan of the show and get a lot of song ideas from every episode. I feel like the show captures my view of music. Seinfeld is a show about real life situations with no real plot or structure. It’s based solely on what experiences the writers have been through in their daily lives which is a tactic I apply to my music. The show in society’s eyes is so simple yet its simplicity is a form of genius in itself. It’s so much deeper in thought if you take the time to truly understand the themes which is an exact parallel to my music. I take such simple topics and if you take the time to truly listen you’ll see the deeper message being portrayed. So, in a way, I feel like the Seinfeld of music.
PCLP: Who and what are your greatest influences in both life and music?
JPrice: The biggest influence in my life and music is my struggle. I know that everyone’s first thought would be their parents, friends or heroes but I tend to think a little bit differently than the Average Joe. Every bar I write is somewhat influenced by the pain I continue to deal with on a daily basis. I put pain, frustration and feeling into my music to withstand my struggle and work extremely long hours in hopes to overcome it. But my style, in terms of beats, lyrics and sounds is a testament of the artists I listen to on a daily basis. Nas is probably the artist that most influences my music. His lyrics, beat selection, delivery, subject matter and style are things I continue to try to emulate and mix into my music.
PCLP: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
JPrice: If I could collaborate with any artist it would without question – Nas. Ever since the release of Illmatic, I’ve been the biggest fan of his music. The level of thought in his subject matter, his unmatched vocabulary, the wittiness in his lyrics and the pure skill in regards to his craft is why I consider him the greatest rapper of all time. To collaborate with the person who influenced the way you view music would be an ultimate dream come true. I’ll tell you this though – if I did a track with Nas it would definitely be the greatest 16 I’d ever write.
PCLP: What would be your advice to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
JPrice: Be true to yourself! Music is a rough business and there’s always going to be people who dislike you and the music you make for no good reason at all. Keep an open mind and continue to make music for yourself and those who enjoy it. Persistence is the key to success. Never take no for an answer and continue to grind hard every day. In one of my songs I said “dreams are only dreams if you never try to reach them.”
PCLP: Thank you so much for the interview and allowing us to get to know you. Where can your fans find you?
- Abbie Isidro
Abbie Isidro lives in the Bay Area. She aspires to one day be a mafia princess,but, if that doesn’t work out, then she hopes to put her MBA in Hospitality Management to great use! (Yes that’s a plug right there!) She is obsessed with Hello Kitty! Anything Hello Kitty she has to have. It is a personal goal to one day be on Masterchef since Kitchen Nightmares may not work out to meet Chef Ramsey. She makes damn good cupcakes that are moist and fluffy. She’s not scared of the camera since she was on Pacific Rim Video. Don’t mess with the dance crew she represents called AOV! If you wanna be her first stalker then follower her on Twitter @abbieisidro.