“JusThoughtZ has an ambition that smolders within. The Atlanta based emcee molded by New Jersey’s art scene has a rich musical lineage embodied in his name, James Sims IV. His eclectic musical background inspired Jots. JusThoughtZ is now preparing for the commercial release of Break The Day, which promises to be a mosaic of sounds from golden age Hip Hop to jazz, rock, and progressive electro. With the power of his music and his pen, JusThoughtZ honestly unveils introspective compositions on pain and hope, and the land in between.
“A lot of the zeal for a better life came from my father who passed away a week before my 8th birthday.” A young JusThoughtZ was left with his father’s duffle bag full of tapes from Hip Hop’s pioneers. Albums from A Tribe Called Quest to Smif-N-Wessun became a portal to the roots of Hip Hop and ultimately his own. Between his father’s tapes and his grandmother’s 2,000 plus record collection of gospel and early R&B, the seeds of JusThoughtZ destiny was planted. His first steps was writing letters to heal the tension with his mother and the fatherless void that marked his childhood. After reciting poetry in a packed home studio full of varsity football players, JusThoughtZ faced a silent room full of glistening eyes. Norfolk producer MaddBeatz was at a lost for words, but he stumbled upon a memorable appellation: “He has an old soul. I’mma call you JusThoughtZ.” Just like that, a career was born.
Since then, JusThoughtZ has established himself as a spiritually conscious lyricist who captures the thoughts and feelings most try to conceal. He’s made noteworthy appearances such as his poignant “HELP US!!!” feature on Jerrell Johnson’s breakout mixtape Dream S.O.D.A. (2012). A natural observer as an emcee and photographer, JusThoughtZ sums up his mission for his forthcoming album Break The Day in one profound statement: “I want to be like Jesus, and be completely human, while fully acknowledging God’s presence within and without.”
The #SpartanRace was one of the more challenging things I’ve done (willfully) in my life.
I have a whole new perspective on what the following words mean:
They opened the race shouting “The old you will be shed off.”, and that’s exactly what you’re seeing in this photo. It literally felt like my skin was coming off my muscles as I crawled through the sticks and mud barely missing the barbed wire.
However with every cut and bruise I encountered, I didn’t mind the mud. In fact, I looked forward to the pits of mud and slush. It meant I was progressing. Although the cuts didn’t hurt less, I began to realize that most of the pain at the point was mental. To see others along side me going through the same trenches, gave me hope. Eventually EVERYONE made it across the line, helping each other along the way where they could.
Every person had to pull their own weight, if they didn’t they held up others who would then begin to push you forward, verbally and physically.
Being clean, no longer mattered.
Our only objective was to finish the race.
At the very end we had to pass through fire, having been refined. The warmth from the flames met our cold hardened bodies, and did not damage. It was almost as if we were immune to it, because of the mud.
There were no freebies.
It did not come cheap.
Fear of resistance lead to longer paths to the same route.
And there was no turning back without utter shame.
We signed up for this. It was more than we signed up for. Nevertheless, we were IN.
Upon crossing the line, we were greeted with family and friends who had watched from the sidelines.
Some to praise, some to criticism for taking so long.
I wanted to ask the skeptics “Where were you?”
But it didn’t matter.
If our muddied clothes and bloodied bodies didn’t say anything…
Our awards did.
I write this to encourage you.
The naysayers will say what they will.
Finish the race.
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong…
- Ecclesiates 9:11
J. Givens is easily one of my favorite emcees in recent years. The truth always cuts deep without the herald being needlessly offensive.
Moral of the story : ” We all worship somewhere. How good has your god been to you?”
This just has well done all over it.
Be sure to purchase J.Given’s record El v. Envy.
I promise it will be, ten bucks that will enrich your soul, no gamble.
This record has been getting play since it’s release nearly a year ago. Stro’s verse resonates in me at 24. I’ve done a lot, I thought I’d do more by now, but what exactly should I have done by now? What’s the barometer for “maturity” at ___ age? I see people my age doing things that others think I should’ve been doing 8 years ago, but they don’t really know whether I would’ve been able to handle those things with tact or humility. As much as we’d like to think of “growing up” as a linear streamline of events, I can say that for me that hasn’t been the case, there are thoughts I still wrestle with since I was a child, and some things that have come and gone in literally the switch of an environment or circumstance.
I think of people I grew up with back home in Jersey, on the same block, same age, same school, etc. Our parents knew eachother and it was the same case, and yet, I’m SO different from them. Or am I? Have I should just been placed in different situations where the our similar mentalities bring different effects for me than it would them or provide different (dare I say “better”) opportunities. Who knows? How do you gauge what’s the best for a person?
My Fresh & Local fam and I were discussing fame, fandom, and how each of us would respond. Our case study was Eminem’s song “The Way I Am”. One person took the stance of he was simply a rich person complaining about what he already knew came with the territory. There was any sympathy felt because that person sees what happens to celebrities and has the money to move away from harassment. Two of the others involved in the discussion strongly disagreed asking “how could anybody possibly know they are going to be the BIGGEST thing the world’s seen since elvis?”, especially in Hip Hop at that time, it simply hadn’t been done before. And then there’s me, trying to make sense of both sides. All I could think of was “How would I respond to such things currently?”. At 16 I thought I could handle anything, at 20 I knew better, and here I am at 24 wondering “what’s worth my peace of mind?”. I don’t know that I’m built for fame, which is why I often halt myself before it comes. I see what it does to people, and hate the thought of how it could affect those I love, let alone myself.
I can’t imagine being scrutinized for everything I say or don’t say, but it’s going to come because that’s what we do as humans. We judge, and try to make sense of things that we know in part.
So in conclusion, if I still have these questions at 30, will those who listen to me now, still be patient with me as I try to make sense of these things, or will they have expected to have it altogether as they have in the past?
Should I have it “all together” already?
I don’t know.
On another note, so glad they put me onto the trumpeter/composer J Kyle Gregory.
I’ve been listening to Brian To Earth for nearly 3 years. I remember we first connected via youtube. We both had similar tastes in production and topics to write about, it’s odd lol.
Any who, here is his record “Prevailing” which features production from Roku.
His entire first verse is pretty much my life musically.
I practically live in my mind, fighting my “fight or flight” syndrome when it comes to writing. Sometimes I wish I could stop writing, but it’s my favorite form of communication (and strongest). I can relate to the fear of not knowing whether or not this is going to amount to anything, but then there’s the fan love (shout out to everyone who emails/tweets/messages me. That stuff truly means a lot to me.)
There’s so much frustration in not being able to say exactly what you want to say, exactly how you mean it. I feel most comfortable when I’m in one particular room, with one particular person. Usually if this one particular person isn’t feeling it, I just scrap it (or write so that I won’t have to see the disgust on their face lol). Why do I care what this person says? Because I trust this person to tell me the truth the way I need to hear it because the really know me. I get driven by that type of persistence that treads the line of being completely sane/insane.
I don’t truly know if anyone understands me until I say something in my music.
But I think Brian does though.
I contemplate about things like this all the time, especially throughout the course of 2012 + 2013. As much as I would like to think in my younger years that I could get somewhere in life without the use of money, strictly off of great work ethic and the fleeting goodness of man, it proves to be rather difficult to do well.
In this record, J-Live sculpts one of the better pieces I’ve heard regarding the subject of currency. Many artists would like you to believe that money is ultimate, which it is not. On the contrary, there are also artists who would like to dismiss money as if it’s of no significance. While these are both lofty ideals, J-Live helps to bring back a healthy dose of gravity to what we think about money, and it’s connection to the real things we wish to attain upon acquiring it.
My favorite line is “looking up long enough you might just go blind”. This lyric makes me think of astronauts. You know, the people who are out of this known world, tethered to nothing but the ship they manage, was built by another’s hands. We here on earth look up, and find it hard to see past the sky’s limits, we struggle with the uncertainty of the infinity and beyond. Maybe it’s because it makes us realize how frail our being is. And then there’s the astronauts, who go beyond the mass majority, charting territory many will never know even exists. But the stakes are MUCH higher for them. Something going wrong could mean instant death (physical, character assassination, the realization how much was sacrificed to get to where you are, etc). Why do you think we call celebrities “stars”?
For whatever reason, we equate money to “upward” mobility. And while, not all of us are “amongst the stars”, we all have value and character.
Something money can’t buy, although it matters.