Producer, Rapper Uses God-Given Talents To Help Shape Dreams and Send Strong Life Message
HOUSTON– He is not only a passionate producer, but also an accomplished “Jenius”. In the Dog-Eat-Dog World of Rap music, June James is a gentle giant and a rising influence on an industry that is shaping the thoughts and minds of a younger generation of African-American and Hispanic youth who are looking for guidance, direction and hope in a world full of positive and negative influences, ideas and philosophies.
At 26, his wisdom is unprecedented for a man his age and his dreams and goal are active, alive and unfolding right before him.
“Life is a journey and each of us must seek out our own uniqueness and be patient,” he said. “One of the greatest allies in your success is knowing and learning the importance of business and surrounding yourself with positive people or a team that has your best interests at heart.”
James is doing just that and carving out his own new respectable niche in the music and production business hoping to bring his own special brand and message that branches out and inspires others to explore and discover their own dream and talents, even beyond the sacred realm of music.
A native of Acres Home “44”and raised in Houston, “Jenius” sought out and found his talents amidst the challenges of family issues, the lure of the streets and the desire to get his education.
James is steadily and quickly making a name for himself in the hip hop music scene with placements with major artist such as Young Jeezy, Rich Homie Quan, T.I, Rocko, Iggy Izalae, Curres NY, Juvenile, Paul Wall, Plies, Slim Thug and Lil Keke.
Many who know him consider him the hardest working young producer in Texas.
His Self-Driven Path
James always had a healthy love for music, but his first steps into the business started at age 14, when he played in his first band. It grew from there into a healthy love for writing music and producing and by age 16, he had worked on his first project in 10th Grade, called “Fruit Loops 5”, while at Lamar High School.
That gave birth to a multitude of other music mixer projects and scores of music he has written and produced.
He said producing and writing music as an outlet after losing his father at an early age. The temptations of the streets were a challenge he constantly fought to overcome and has lived to tell his story and influence and hopefully steer young people through difficult straits of life.
Music came fairly natural for him as he sought to tell stories about life using his own unique form of poetry, prose and beats.
During that time, he became aware of the power and influence of producing and it also motivated him to create and a desire to reach out and help others.
He also modeled and developed his individual dreams and marketing goals around successful artists in the business who demonstrated a desire to give unselfishly to developing their skills while helping others do the same. Some of those include heavy hitter producers like Timbaland and Pharell.
An Active Journey
Since those very early days, James took his ability to play every horn instrument and began producing. He has since produced for an array of artists, including T.T., Gucci and Juvenile.
Outside of producing, James attended college at Texas Southern University where he curated LAD Dj’s – a coalition that began in 2011 and grew to as many as 40 members. That effort changed the college and club scenes by consistently breaking the latest records. In addition, he founded the collaborative music group, The Hit Cartel in 2014. The Hit Carel houses producers, disc jockeys, engineers, songwriters and artists.
Also, he was selected and Awarded Houston’s Hottest producer as well as XXL magazine‘s top 25 producers to watch for in 2015.
For more that nine years, James has been actively producing records at all levels.
His first major placement was “Big Faces” by Plies. Recently, James signed an exclusive songwriter and co-publishing agreement with Think It’s A Game Records and TIG & Publishing.
He was awarded “Producer of the Year” at Houston’s Hottest Awards in 2014 and was awarded a second “Producer of the Year” award at the 2015 Go DJ Awards.
Today, he has one of the top songs on the charts called , “Key to The Streets” Remix by YFN Lucci, ft2 Chainz and Lil Wayne.
To add to last year’s successes, not only has he placements with 2 Chainz and Young Thug, his mixtape, “June the Jenius”, dropped in November. That two-disc mixtape houses 26 songs and features the artists, Zoey Dollaz, Tory Lanez and even Slim Thug.
The Evolution of Music Business
James said social media has taken the industry to a whole new level.
“It’s not your grand daddy’s music or records today,” he said. “Music has evolved from just hit plays on the radio and is like fashion – it changes quickly from the streets to the studio…Rap music has morphed into multiple genres and now has a host of venues and messages flowing from artists all over the world.”
Some of the new ways and alternative music is produced and presented through the internet and social media, include places like Sound Cloud, Bandcamp, MixCloud and other social media vehicles. This provides a way to helps artists sell their music and deal directly with their fans, and helps fans discover new music and directly support those who make it.
According to James, many do not understand the effort it takes to get your music and message out, but said having a passion to succeed and the spirit of persistence is essential to stay in the hunt.
He also noted that television shows like “Empire” present an unrealistic look at the business and doesn’t tell the real story about the struggle it takes to make it and get ahead in the music business.
“The real struggle is like the movie “Hustle & Flow”,” he said. “It’s the real deal and tells the story of the ups and downs of the business and shows that when you hungry, you work harder and are more creative which brings out the best in you.”
From Life of the Streets to Production Manager-Business Owner
It has not always been easy beating the odds of the streets, but James attributes his success to focus and having a plan.
“The business is actually 90-percent business and 10-percent talent,” he said. “Success takes time… there simply are no shortcuts.”
He said the Black community has still not mastered the principles of understanding ownership and self reliance. Breaking free from the bondage of dependence of others as providers is the only way to true independence as a people.
“We have not learned our business. It is time for us to seek ownership and self reliance,” he said. “Why be dancers and singers in the theater when you can own the whole theater.”
He added that we are content to be a rider of life’s train, instead of being the conductor or owning the train company.
James said one of his main goals is to be one of the leaders promoting more people to work and discover the talents within them and taking those natural God-given talents to levels never before imagined success.
“Discover and find the God given talents you have and focus on it,” he said. “Don’t take the easy way out. Take the time and good fortunes will find you.”
Call To Unity
Another thing that African-American must strive to overcome is the tendency to become divided, fractious and hateful towards each others success. Statistics continue to yield year end and year out that Black on Black crime is at epidemic proportions in every major U.S. city.
“We are hurting one another and have become our own greatest threats to one another,” he said. “We must stop the jealousy, hating and beefing on one another. Times like these (referring to latest political changes in the White House and Washington) require us to work together, step up, be strong and lift each other up.”
Message to Youth
One of the key steps to success is knowing what you are good at and going for it.
His simple message to youth is that life is a journey and that many youth must recognize their talents and stop selling themselves too short. He lamented that too many believe that the music or entertainment business is the only way to financial success and happiness. “Everyone is not fit for the (music) business,” he said. “Everyone can’t be Rappers, basketball players or football players. Our community needs doctors, lawyers, scientists, astronauts and teachers too.”
James said that Black youth need to understand how much they are needed in these other vital areas, and set their dreams and goals to accomplish it.
He warns youth not to waste time trading their skills and talents or selling yourself for a quick dollar, being cool or popularity.
“Hard work will pay off and dreams do come true,” he said. “Be yourself, don’t grow up too fast and learn from all lessons life teaches.” For those with music aspirations, he said one of the most important things is be genuine and original. “This industry is filled with copycats. Set Your dream – Don’t try to be the next Pharell…Be you because producers are looking for the next you..” he said. “Don’t force success. Let it find you. It is best to be yourself and do your own thing.”
Despite being extremely busy and in demand, James also is active in service to his community, especially when it comes to helping, encouraging and supporting youth in developing their knowledge of Arts and Culture.
He has a heart for children and is passionate about protecting and preserving the civil rights and human rights for all people. He also has never been too busy to make a difference in his community. James has been that he a volunteer in African-American communities, actively involved in work at the S.H,A.P.E. Center and participated in supporting toy, charity work, food drives and other related outreach to the community.
BY: DARWIN CAMPBELL, African-American News&Issues