24hourhiphop.com’s Next In Line comes from rapper J-OTEY from PG County, Maryland. J-OTEY talks to us about what hes got going on in the music game. He also gives us some insight on his backround and where he grew up. Les tells us about his upcoming and current projects. Make sure to check out the interview below and let us know what you think!
24HHH: How did you come up with your Producer/Artist name? Tell us about it.
J-OTEY: I’m J-OTEY of Independent One Music (IND1), LLC . Well actually I just officially got my name about a year ago, that’s the funny thing bout it. Coming up through middle school my coaches always called me by my last name, which is Otey. I used to go by J-O, because those are my initials. I changed it because there was another hip-hop artist who was going by the name J-O Felony, and I felt that the names were too similar. So I decided to add my last name, which made it J-Otey.
24HHH: Where are you from, and what was it like growing up there?
J-OTEY: I’m from PG County, Maryland. Growing up was pretty wild, I was always in trouble because I was hard-headed. In my neighborhood you were either in the streets, playing sports, or on music. Where I’m from, rap was overshadowed by go-go music. Around the early 2000s is when rap became more dominant. I love my city, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It made me who I am today. Even with all the gains and losses, I wouldn’t go back and change anything.
24HHH: Who were you raised by? Tell us your family situation. Got any brothers, sisters, or any siblings? Tell us about your childhood, and how it impacted your music?
J-OTEY: Coming up, I was raised by my nana until I was 8 years old. Then I started being raised by my mom. It was me and my younger brother in that household. It was a single-parent home, so we had our ups and downs. I watched her play both, mom and dad. She provided and made sure we had everything that we needed. That’s where I get my toughness from. I have a song on Young Man, Old Soul dedicated to her called “Give Thanks”. I appreciate my mom for all she has done. My younger brother and I we were always there for each other. All the bumps & bruises made us even closer. I have other siblings outside of my mother’s children. I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters on my father’s side.
24HHH: What age did you start making music?
J-OTEY: I started rapping when I was around 5 years old, to be honest. The first Christmas gift that I can ever remember getting was a boom box from my mother. It had one cassette player, speakers on the side, and a handle. I had that thing all day, every day. When I was 7, I stole a tape from my cousin. It was the LL Cool J single, “Mama Said Knock You Out.” I listened to it all the time, but I ended up rapping and recording a track over it. I started actually recording music when I was 12. And I still remember the lyrics to my first song.
24HHH: What inspired you to pursue making music?
J-OTEY: A quote that Dr. King that said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?””. I started thinking about it for a while. It truly took me a lot of time to figure it out. I wanted to do something to relate to the people. I wanted to be able to reach people all over. Other than that, it was a way for me to vent and express myself.
24HHH: What artists/producers do you work with? Or rubbed shoulders with?
J-OTEY: I’ve rubbed shoulders with a lot of people like, Fat Trel and Wale. I haven’t had a chance to work with them yet, but I hope to see that in the future. Most of the people I’ve recorded with have been underground artists. One of the producers I’ve worked with is Fanobee Beats, he’s an upcoming producer from California. I’ve also worked with Beatowski from the UK.
24HHH: What else you got coming out? New Album? or Mixtape/EP?
J-OTEY: Right now I’m in the studio working on my sophomore project. I don’t want to put the name out there just yet. You know, you’re kind of just trying to get the feel of everything when you put out your first tape. But this project is really big for us because we’re trying impact the game. We have sort of a fan base and better following now. The mixtape should be out by the first of the year. I just released Young Man, Old Soul this past January, so I want to give it some time to get out to the people.
24HHH: Tell us about your newest single “Graduation Day”, how did you come up with that, share us the story?
J-OTEY: The latest record that I did was a song to a Drake beat. I titled it “Graduation Day”. I recently graduated from college this past May. But my single from the mixtape is titled “Fall Thru”. I actually wasn’t too sure about that song. I really just took a chance on it. It just happened to turn out to be one of the biggest songs on the mixtape. It’s a personal story. It has to do with a female that I was involved with when I was 18. I knew I shouldn’t have been because she was with someone else. I like to put my life stories in my music.
24HHH: Any new travel plans, what you got going on?
J-OTEY: In the beginning of August, I should be going to California. I’m working with some new producers out there. I’ve actually never been to the west coast. I’ll get a chance to enjoy the change of scenery. On October 8, I’m heading to the A3C Festival in Atlanta, GA. I should be back in the city in time for Howard’s homecoming.
24HHH: What is the biggest thing to happen in your career?
J-OTEY: I was recently at Stadium in DC. I went in there to just chill and watch the game. I ran into a couple of guys from the radio station. They kind of put me on the spot about my mixtape. They were asking me about what I felt my best record was, and I told them about Fall Thru. They ended up playing the record right then. And at the same exact time, Fat Trel was walking in. Everybody loved the record; they played it twice. I wasn’t expecting that big of a response. It was all love!
24HHH: Where can people find you?
J-OTEY: You can find me on Twitter under @JOtey1987, Instagram at @JoteyDMV, and facebook at Justin Otey.
24HHH: Where do you see yourself going in 2014 and how do you plan to separate yourself from the other artist out today to get therecognition you feel you deserve?
J-OTEY: I see myself becoming one of the best new artist in hip-hop. The way I plan to separate myself is be authentic. I don’t feel like there are too many artist that you can relate to. There are not too many who make you feel like you know them through their music. I feel like music now is over-saturated and people are sounding too much alike. Other than that, I will just continue to grind hard in the studio.
24HHH: Any last words or shout outs?
J-OTEY: First and foremost I would like to give a big shout out to my mother. Secondly, Iwant to shout out my IND1 family. I have to shout out all my fans and supporters. And last but not least, I cannot forget my home, the DMV.