Published Jan 01, 2006If talent, perseverance, and a superior product can together be viewed as fairly reliable determinants for success in the music biz, then Brooklyn's lyrically infallible rhyme slayer J-Live is long overdue for a taste of the limelight. Few things in life, however, are that simple. Since the day he first flashed on the scene with the certified classic "Braggin' Writes" some ten years ago, the indelible MC has watched each of his critically celebrated releases suffer commercially under labels that have gone belly up like a pregnant sunbather.
But if finding a home for his artistic gems (currently Penalty Recordings) has been a struggle, it's made J-Live one of the sharpest MCs many have never heard of, and paved the way for his most conceptually complete release to date.
With The Hear After, the former middle school English teacher not only raises the level of poignant lyricism, deft wordplay, and provocative social commentary that carried 2002's All Of The Above, but the noted DJ and MC also ups his triple threat status by producing over half the record. "I've been doing it more to get my name established," says the budding producer. Of his decision to turn to a completely different group of hired hands this time around, he adds, "I wanted to change the sound of the record. I don't want to get boxed into one thing, and I like each record to have a life of its own and be able to stand out for different reasons."
As J-Live's talent grows exponentially with each release, one can only wonder what it's going to take for the man to blow up. It's a question many around him have asked, and one he hopes can finally be resolved with this latest release. "It's the funniest thing, people that know me complain that I'm not famous enough, so I guess I'm doing something right in that regard. [But] hopefully this record goes gold and takes off, and I start to get the recognition that I've been longing for, and that my fans sort of want for me."