With the many complaints and criticism, both ruthless and respectable, about hip-hop turning into a commercial genre, not many people are focusing on the real talent that is out there right now. Many people are fixated on what they hear on the radio and judge what is being pushed out nowadays. But has anybody considered going towards a different direction? We have all heard from the birthplace of hip-hop in New York, the gangsta rap from the West Side, the club bangers from the South, and the conscious rap from Chicago. Are these the only popular geographical places to turn to for that real hip-hop feel? The answer is no. Hailing from the “DMV” area (Washington D.C, Maryland, and Virginia), the very creative and innovative producer and sometimes rapper, Judah, brings that to the table. He gives a different perspective of the hip-hop coming out of the DMV area, giving them a commendable name in an industry where the bar is raised only higher and tougher. I got a chance to interview Judah, speaking about who he would love to work with, current projects, and his thoughts on the status of hip-hop right now.
DR: Reading on past interviews of yours, Kanye West seems to be that one person you would ultimately love to work with. Why?
Judah: Yeah, Kanye is, in my opinion, the best rapper out right now. He’s not afraid to try different stuff when it comes to music, plus he makes great records.
DR: What are some projects you are working on right now? Any that you are really excited about?
Judah: This new Wale project called “Still Running“. It’s for the 100 Miles and Running mixtape fans. I also have some record with GLC, Rapper Big Pooh and Clipse coming out.
DR: Is there any regrets you have from the first day you started this to now?
Judah: I wish I would have gone indie sooner. I was chasing placements early and got burnt out. Traveling all over the world with hopes of getting on albums and because of the dumb a– business, a lot of s— fell through…so yeah I wish I would’ve went indie sooner.
DR: Hip-hop seems to be criticized very much nowadays, from the very commercial path it has taken to the lyrical content to just the idea of making music just to get paid. Do you think hip-hop needs a revival or is it just fine the way it is?
Judah: In a perfect world, there should be a 6 month hip-hop ban. NO NEW MUSIC should be released. This will freshen up ears and relax the oversaturated market. But like I said, in a “perfect” world. [laughs]
DR: What are some DMV artists you think should have a record deal right now?
Judah: Phil Ade, Garvey and Boobie.
DR: Let’s say you were given the job as Mayor for the Day of the hip-hop culture. What would you do and why?
Judah: Do what I said earlier and have no new music, no reporting, no sites, and no nothing… just silence. [laughs]
DR: What project has challenged you the most as a producer and why?
Judah: My single that I put out this summer called “Sundresses and Sandals“, was the biggest challenge for me. I was the artist, producer, business man, performer all in one and it got tiring. I was like “whewwwwww” at the end of summer. But I loved the attention. [laughs]
DR: There are many producers who are in the spotlight on the regular and boast about the collaborations they have done. But you seem to be on some DL tip. Is that how you choose it to be?
Judah: Because at the end of the day, people doing all these collaborations and people forget that s*** in 2 days and it means nothing. This music s*** is all a fallacy in a make-believe world. I do what I do, put it out in the universe, and move to the next.
DR: A lot of your beats and also your “Sundresses and Sandals” song have that soulful touch to them. Would you say that is your trademark style? Have you thought about venturing out to other styles?
Judah: I’m from D.C., where some of the coolest people are from. D.C. has all vibes and energies here. Go-Go, Jazz, R&B, and every damn thing! That all plays a part in my essence.
DR: I loved the whole idea that you did with creating a documentary, “Bridging the Gap”, and doing a recount of the hip-hop history in the DMV area. Why do you think that artists from the DMV area don’t get the shine it deserves?
Judah: I did the documentary to show these “youngins” that they didn’t create this DMV hip-hop scene. It was alive and well before they decided to rap when they heard their first Weezy song. [laughs] Artists don’t get shine because we are not known for hip-hop, only R&B and Go-Go. And the documentary shows that hip hop goes back as long as 20 years.
DR: You have worked with Wale, Mick Boogie, Stat Quo, Terry Urban, Tabi Bonney, Cormega, worked on the De La Soul Tribute album and have had many more opportunities to work with other artists. Are you satisfied so far with what you have accomplished or do you think you could have done something more?
Judah: I’m very satisfied with what I’ve done thus far. I’m from a city with NO roots in hip-hop, besides when New York producers used to steal our Go-Go music for their hits. I have done this my way and will continue to do it my way until I retire at 35 [laughs]. I’ve been on the Billboard Charts (for 19 weeks), Gold Plaque, Grey Goose Rising Icon, music on video games and all of this I was able to accomplish it because I did it my way.
DR: I listened to your “Amber Rose Freestyles”. The sound of it is very soulful and just exudes that hip-hop aura, which I love. What was your mindset while putting this whole project together? And why Amber Rose?
Judah: Sex, hip-hop, sex, MPC, sex and samples and did I say sex, oh and fashion….a little. [laughs] I chose Amber, because at the time, she was a mysterious phenomenon and, wow, she’s hot. Her fashion was dope and she was just different, so I put it together. Oh and I met her before and she smelled good! [laughs]
DR: What is some advice you can give to aspiring producers?
Judah: Go indie first, create an independent foundation and you’ll always be good if you know how to manage your paper.
DR: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Judah: Retired with kids. Yup, 35, retired, and with kids. [laughs]
For more information Judah: