Emerging in Vancouver’s rap scene is J. West, an artist known for his creative bars and charismatic stage presence. His rap flow brings a gritty, streetwise interpolation paired with productions by his right hand man im’peretiv. With a distinct style that plays homage to late 90’s east coast hip-hop, J. West sits down with BlueprintLIVE and discusses his latest release, W.
How long have you been in the game and what song or artist first made you fall in love with hip hop?
I started making music at 18. I didn’t really start taking it seriously until around 2013 so it’s been almost 2 years of putting in work! Growing up in Canada, I never got to hear a lot of rap music on the radio and my parents weren’t into it at all. I was always fascinated with the beats from a young age whenever I heard the odd song on the radio. Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001 was the first hip hop record I ever bought. I think I was like 10 or 11 when that shit came out, I remember my mom giving me $20 to buy it from A & B Sound. I got home, popped it in the ghetto blaster and it was a wrap! I fell in love instantly.
W is an amazing 15-track mixtape that features club bangers as well as more chilled out tunes like Youngin’ and Home. Which one do you find speaks more about who you are as a rapper in terms of writing process?
Thank you! The writing process is never the same in terms of how a song comes together. Sometimes I’ll write a hook first, then build from that. Sometimes I’ll write a verse one day and come back to it a week later. It all depends on how I’m feeling.
What do you think of Vancouver’s hip hop/rap scene and how has it helped you as an artist?
I think it’s definitely growing. I’ve witnessed the growth personally over the last couple of years. There’s a lot of young, talented cats doing some dope shit in the city, there just isn’t anyone that’s really taken the torch and ran with it. We’re close tho, real close. Guys like Snak, SonReal and Merkules are all right there at that next level and that success is gonna benefit everyone in the music scene. BlueprintLIVE has also contributed a part in the scene, consistently bringing the hottest artists and gives local dudes a chance to rock some thick crowds! So it’s nothing but positive to the scene out here.
What track off of W is closest to your heart?
This Morning. I wrote it with my girl/baby’s mama in mind. Basically touches on how she’s my ride or die, Bonnie and Clyde type. Always got my back with everything I do and keeps it 100 with me, most deffinitly the love of my life. Blessed to wake up everyday with that one!
Be sure to watch out for J. West and the whole Secret Society crew in future Vancouver dateswith BlueprintLIVE!
By Vanessa Krystin Wong
|May 20||Russ (All Ages)||Pacific Coliseum|
|May 22||Joyner Lucas||Fortune|
|May 22||Sofi Tukker||Commodore|
|May 31||Lightning Dust (Victoria)||Lucky Bar|
|Jun 1||Lil Gnar & Germ (All Ages)||Fortune|
|Jun 2||King Tuff||Fortune|
|Jun 3||Smoke DZA & Bodega Bamz||Fortune|
|Jun 13||The Sword (Vancouver)||Venue|
|Jun 15||The Sword (Calgary)||Marquee|
|Jun 15||Upon A Burning Body & Volumes||Fortune|
|Jun 16||The Sword (Edmonton)||Union Hall|
|Jun 17||The Sword (Regina)||The Exchange|
|Jun 18||The Sword (Winnipeg)||Pyramid|
|Jun 21||Culture Ft. Kenyatta Hill||Venue|
|Jun 23||Freddie McGregor||Venue|
|Jun 23||Louis Futon (Live)||Fortune|
|Jun 28||Neon Indian (DJ Set)||Fortune|
|Jul 5||Slum Village||Fortune|
|Jul 6||FVDED In The Park 2018||Holland Park|
|Jul 7||Neurosis / Converge||Commodore|
|Jul 19||Great Grandpa & Dead Soft||Fortune|
|Jul 21||Melvins (Vancouver)||Venue|
|Jul 24||Melvins (Edmonton)||Union Hall|
|Jul 25||Melvins (Calgary)||Marquee|
|Jul 27||Melvins (Winnipeg)||Pyramid|
|Aug 7||Rex Orange County (All Ages)||Vogue Theatre|
|Aug 30||Let's Eat Grandma||Fortune|
|Sep 3||The Exploited||Fortune|
|Sep 13||Ella Mai||Venue|
|Sep 14||Ravyn Lenae||Venue|
|Sep 16||Fatima Al Qadiri||Fortune|
|Sep 27||The Midnight||Fortune|
|Oct 26||SG Lewis||Fortune|
|Nov 8||Gallant (All Ages)||Vogue Theatre|
|Nov 17||Young Fathers||Venue|