In 2000, Nelly arguably put the St. Louis hip-hop scene on the map with "Country Grammar." Some 16 years later, Cards country rapper J.R. has taken that torch and run with it ever since he dropped his No Filter On Da Way mixtape a few years back. Fittingly, a remix of "I'm Just Sayin" featured Nelly. Keeping the mainstream climb alive, J.R. released his debut EP - Gang Season - last month. The album's first single "Best Friends," which features Trey Songz, is already a hit and its accompanying music video has racked up over five million views. It's also caused some controversy (not for J.R.) in that a Long Island assistant principal appeared in and was subsequently fired.
A few weeks before J.R. , played some shows at SXSW, he sat down for an interview with A-Sides Read on.
"Best Friend" was huge. The video garnered over five million views. Did you think you'd score right out of the gate?
Yes and no. There is always that being the new guy in...there is always that 'what if'? But, we most definitely had our eyes set on what we wanted to do and accomplished it I feel, and [we're] still going.
Your EP is seven songs. Did you ever consider bringing it to a full-length album vs. EP?
Not at this time. I just want everybody to get used to me sonically and to build a core fan base and after a single I just felt that would be just too much to submerge with all that at this time. [We're] just trying to give them a taste right now and let them know what we can do.
Nelly really paved the way for St. Louis rap. He's an integral part of your remix as well. Can you describe his inspiration to you and your city?
Of course, he is a huge part, a huge influence on me musically and just as a kid growing up where I'm from. He changed the all feel of the city at that point in time. It was fun, you know what I mean? Even though there was still the crazy stuff going on streetwise, he made it entertaining. He was definitely a big part of everything I got going on.
Read the rest of the interview right here.
And now for something completely different...
He's toured with everyone from Fitz & The Tantrums to Gary Clark Jr., and come springtime, he's headlining his own show here in the states. He's Max Frost, and ironic to his name, he couldn't be any hotter. Jon, you can do better with that opening. Yes, I can. OK, enough talking to myself Gollum style- let's stay with Frost. The singer/songwriter recently released his Intoxication EP and is climbing that proverbial hitmaker ladder. His single "Withdrawal" has hit #1 on Hype Machine, and can already be heard in various TV spots. All of this comes on the heels of his debut EP Low High Low, which dropped a few years back. That album featured the hit "White Lies." The artist recently recorded two exclusive songs for A-Sides. Watch "Withdrawal" and "Let Me Down Easy." Watch below, and jump on the bandwagon before everyone else does.
Watch our exclusive interview as well as a performance of "Let Me Down Easy" right here.
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Walk the Moon, and Bastille.