If you don’t know about J. Nolan by now, then you better start getting familiar. This up-and-coming MC out of ATL is here to put the game in a chokehold through his thought provoking lyricism, cut-throat delivery, and uptempo flow. Moreover, he’s an artist that is truely dedicated to his craft and is motivated by nothing more than reaching out to his fans and making timeless music.
We got a chance to link up with J. Nolan to give the fans a better look inside J. Nolan the person, and J. Nolan the artist. The ATL native talks his life behind the music, his musical influences, the meanings behind his latest projects, and what to expect from him in 2012. Peep the interview after the jump and be on the lookout for his CloudMusiq sponsored release, Distinction, dropping in the spring of 2012!
CM: People are starting to become familiar with J. Nolan the emcee, but not a lot of people know about Jamar Nolan, the man behind the name. Who is Jamar Nolan?
JN: I’m a very laid-back, and observant person. Almost to a bit of a fault because I don’t like a lot of commotion around me and can be kind of intolerant to people’s personalities that are unfit for my types of surroundings. That’s why I create so much music and I never really run out of inspiration. I take in everything I can from a situation and try to sort out why things are the way they are. I’m a firm believer in GOD and Christ as well. Outside of that, I’m pretty regular. I’ll talk about your moms (not yours in particular) and help kids with their homework in the very same instance.
CM: The music industry can be one of the toughest careers to get into. What got you into hip hop and when did you start making music?
JN: It’s always been around in one form or another. Hip-Hop was the primary music in my household and I was always the kid that knew every lyric in every song. Eventually, I started twisting lyrics into my own little renditions and my older brother got me into writing when I was about 8 years old. I didn’t do my first recording until I was 15, though.
CM: We know that your music lies in the general realm of hip hop but, more specifically, how would YOU describe your music?
JN: It’s definitely Hip-Hop to its core, but I think of it as just a representation of who I am. A lot of my personal views and the codes that I choose to live by are all present in my lyrics so there’s more depth to it than a majority of what’s out at the moment. Like if you look at Public Enemy, you think of a lot more than ‘Terminator X’. You think of what they stood for on a human level. That’s what I try to bring with my music.
CM: Who are some of your musical influences? And who are some newer artists that you enjoy listening to?
JN: My main influences are Nas, The Roots, OutKast, Goodie Mob, and A Tribe Called Quest. But I’m inspired by all the greats that paved the way. Even the lesser appreciated dudes that didn’t get the push they needed. The new guys I rock with are Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Stevie Crooks, and that’s kind of it. I respect everyone, but I’m really trying to build the legacy for me and my circle so I can’t focus on too much of the new stuff coming out.
CM: You’ve released many projects up this point including: “Broken Dreams” ,”The Loose Files”, & “Chaos Theory”. Can you enlighten us on your progression as an artist through these projects? And how have they helped you grow as an artist?
JN: I take a different stance with every project that I work on. There may be similarities, but it’s always different in terms of the tone. For instance, “Broken Dreams” was written from a very poetic standpoint. The lyrics and rhyme schemes weren’t overly complex. I had a specific point to get across which was to be thankful for life and to make the most of it. “The Loose Files” was more experimental because I was just having fun with a majority of it. Some of the tracks were songs that didn’t make the cut for Broken Dreams. “A Love Supreme,” specifically. And “Chaos Theory” was me expressing myself in a defensive manner. I really had a chip on my shoulder when I was doing those records because I was out of touch with this new breed of rap going on. Like, I’m focusing on survival and what I’m gonna eat at night- hoping it won’t be Ramen noodles again and then I’m struggling to get the right people’s attention in the Hip-Hop world. That’s pretty much what brought about the tone of that album. Each of these projects represent pieces of me that most people will never get to see. “Broken Dreams” is kind of like the genuine, goodhearted nature that my friends and most people get from me. “The Loose Files” is the more social side of me that can have healthy fun without being reckless or self-destructive. Just doing what I love to do without thinking too much. And “Chaos Theory” is the militant part of my mind that you don’t get to see, yet it’s always there in case something happens. But it’s still from a good place to where if I smack somebody for stepping out of line, I’ll help them out afterward and tell them exactly why they got smacked. Doing this type of music kind of made me more comfortable with who I am as a person.
CM: Nas claims “hip hop is dead” what is your opinion on the current state of hip hop?
JN: Honestly, I almost don’t even care about the current state of Hip-Hop. I think people need to step up on all fronts and make life better in general. Music is only a reflection of how people are living. More young people are on drugs and being predisposed to alcoholism early in life than ever. The music speaks to that. I can only make music from my perspective and hope that there’s some folks out there that understand where I’m coming from.
CM: What do you think is the best song you’ve ever wrote? And why?
JN: I can’t really pick a best song. I think my best content might’ve been on “A Love Supreme” or “Cracked Cement.” I told stories that were 100% accurate and true on those songs. A lot of times we write about what we see and there’s room for speculation or whatever. But those 2 songs were scenes taken out of me and my friend’s/family’s lives.
J. Nolan – A Love Supreme (Prod. By B Dilla)
J. Nolan – Cracked Cement (Prod. By Alex Goose)
CM: Who are some artists (dead or alive) that you would love to work with?
JN: I’m not really into names like that. I want to work with people that are driven and dope, whoever that may be. Esperanza Spalding is someone I’d love to do a song with. Big Pun. I wish I could do a raw track with him and reunite the original Terror Squad on it. That’d be legendary.
CM: I think Hip Hop’s making a stride to becoming more substance oriented, with a lot of MC’s focusing more on their lyrical content and portraying a message in their music. However, nowadays, we’ve seen many artists give up their artistic integrity to get more flashy, club oriented production, in order to go mainstream. For you, what is the fine line between making dope meaningful music and making it big?
JN: Everyone’s aspirations are different. To me, if you’re able to reach thousands or millions of people with meaningful music than you’ve made it big. Some of the most mainstream artists are the least successful when you look at what they’ve done in life. Club songs are dope. Music with a message is dope, too. It’s all in how you execute it and what you’re trying to get out of it.
CM: Lastly, What can the world expect from J Nolan in 2012?
JN: They can expect “The Archetype” EP with Reese Jones on January 16. I’m doing a lot of features right now and really trying to solidify my live performance game. Sometime between April and July I’ll have DISTINCTION out. Just doing what I can to move forward as an artist and as a young man in general.
CM: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Any last words to the people?
JN: No problem, I’m always down to share my messages with whoever is willing to listen. Last words to the people; much love and respect, thanks for listening to my music, and remember to keep it #Righteous.