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Redd Roxx Rundown: J-Heat sizzling in Buffalo music scene

blog by Maria Redd  • 

Without many outlets in the Queen City, many artists struggle to get their music heard. A rapper by the name of J-Heat, however, is making sure that these hindrances won’t stop him. He took advantage of various opportunities that has made him a permanent fixture on the the local and soon-to-be nation scale. J-Heat sat down with me for an interview to let us into his world and learn more about the driving force behind his grind. 

ReddRoxx: Who’s J-Heat?

J-Heat: I’m a lot of things but most important I’m just someone who likes to make good music.

RR: That’s the most important, right? So where are you from?

JH: The only place that matters: the 716, of course.

RR: Great to meet someone with some Buffalo pride! Let’s get into your music, tell us about how you started rapping.

JH:  I was about 15 when my people brought over Ma$e’s “Feel So Good” instrumental CD. I popped that joint in my mom’s karaoke machine, and we free-styled over it for hours. I didn’t take it seriously until about a year later, but that’s definitely how it started. I went out and bought a professional microphone, turned my bedroom into a booth and that’s when the real madness started!

RR: That’s interesting because I was just having a conversation about how the younger generations have no clue about who Ma$e is and his impact on music. So besides Ma$e, who are some of your other greatest musical influences?

JH: The greats like Big Pun, Jay-Z, Nas, Big L, Kool G Rap, Eminem etc.—they set the bar for lyrical content and delivery for me.

RR: You’ve named a few of my favorites, too. It feels great to hear you paying homage to some of the pioneers of rap. A lot of those you mentioned experienced struggles in the early days of their career, were there any struggles that you had to overcome pertaining to getting your music heard?

JH: I’ve watched the landscape for music distribution evolve into this digital age. Technology eases the struggle as far as getting my music heard outside of Buffalo to anywhere in the world. The downside to this technology is it’s so accessible that anyone with a cell phone can put out tracks, which means if you don’t have a marketing team, tons of dough and the right network of people, your music can, and most likely will, get lost in the billions of songs that flood the internet.

Specific troubles I have overcome is getting airplay on multiple radio stations, being on other musicians’ projects and getting my music to people who want to hear it—and again most of that is attributed to technology.


RR:
I agree that technology has definitely changed the playing field when it comes to getting your music heard, both positively and negatively. With that being said, what music do you currently have available and where can it be purchased or downloaded?

JH: Right now all of my music is FREE and can be viewed and downloaded from my website That’s where you’ll find my videos, MP3s and mixtapes.


RR: Do you currently have any projects in the works?

JH: I got my album, “Honor, Respect & Loyalty”, I’m working on that will be released Aug. 14. Also I’m putting together a DVD/Blu-ray to go along with the album with the same title, so get ready for that!

RR: Make sure you keep us posted on both! Now being that you have experience as an artist trying to be heard from the Queen City, what are your thoughts about the music scene in Buffalo?

JH: To be honest, overall, it sucks. There is little originality and a lot of trend wagon hoppers but that goes with all forms of entertainment in any city. As far as support, don’t get me wrong, we’ve made improvements over the years and there are one or two DJs and venues that support local music, but we have a looooooonnnggg way to go.

The support for our local artists is close to non-existent and the jealousy and insecurities of most musicians (mainly rappers) end up overshadowing the immense talent that this city DOES have. Too many are concerned with being “better” than the next or showing off their fake YouTube views to make it seem like they have more fans than the other guy. Focus more on content and unity and the music scene here will prosper, I guarantee that.

RR: It seems a lot of the artists I talk to feel the same way, but I guess things will continue to improve as long as we’re headed in the right direction. As far as your music goes, are there any artists that you would like to collaborate with both locally and major?

JH: Local, I would collaborate with any musician of any genre as long as they’re serious about their craft. Major… I wish Big Pun was alive, I always wanted to get on a track with him. I would definitely like to do a track with Alicia Keys, John Legend and/or Anthony Hamilton. That’s about it.

RR: Are you currently signed?

JH: Nope.

RR: Well even though you’re not signed yet, I seen that you have had a lot of opportunities getting on the stage! Tell us about some of your most memorable performances

JH: It was a while ago, back when the Ruff Ryders had the industry on lock. They were having a contest for best performance. I had just laid down this hot song called “Shorty Are You Ride’n” so I wanted to perform that but when I got there I noticed the atmosphere didn’t really call for that type of song (because it was way too many dudes).

They called me on stage to perform, I grabbed the mic and told the DJ not to play that [expletive], I’m just going a cappella. I spit the hardest verse I had and everybody in the place went crazy. When I got off the stage, the Ruff Ryders managers gave me their numbers and said we don’t need to hear anyone else, you won this.

RR: I was a huge fan of Ruff Ryders! They were actually one of the first concerts that I went to so that’s dope! What about any upcoming performances?

JH: Right now I’m focusing all of my attention on recording my album so I have none at the moment but they will be posted on my website as they are booked.

RR: I understand, priorities are very important in this business. Make sure to keep us posted! You seem very driven and passionate about your music so I’m curious to know what’s your motivation?

JH: I use my music as therapy. Everything that’s going on in my life gets laid out on tracks in a studio. That’s my motivation—it makes me feel better.

RR: That’s awesome, it’s great that you’ve found an outlet in music. Thank you very much for allowing us to take a look inside of your world! Before we go, leave us with one of your favorite quotes—

JH: Listen to what people do, not what they say - J-Heat

If you’d like to connect with J-Heat you can find him on:

The Web
Twitter
Facebook
E-mail

JH: Thanks for showing local support!

RR: No doubt!

TAGGED: hip-hop music, j-heat, maria redd, rap, redd roxx rundown

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