It is difficult not to respect the hustle of rapper Juss James. In a short period of time, the rapid-fire lyricist has made his mark on the industry and built a solid fanbase from the ground up.
Dripping in style and spitting bars will leave your head spinning, the up and coming artist is making waves and making a name for himself in a way we’ve never seen before.
We sat down with Juss to get to know a bit more about him as an artist, a hustler and a creative soul.
Bridge: Tell us about yourself as an artist and when you got your start in the industry?
Juss: As an artist, I strive to blend the highs and lows of life together on the record. After all, that is how life tends to flow, from high to low, low to high. Each song is an opportunity for me to take the listener on a journey from both sides of the spectrum. For example, the opening lines on my new record “Savannah Summer” are “Back when pops was in the slammer, we were poppin’ hammers, speaking country grammar, and I put that on my grandma in Savannah, my Mercedes-Benz is built like a dome word to Atlanta.” Just in those four bars alone, I took you from my father being incarcerated and us running in the streets, to me now evolving as a family man with a glimpse of flashiness, hence the sports car reference. I like to keep the listener guessing from line to line. I do not like to get too conceptual and thematic on the tracks because that is not how life works. Life is full of surprises, some good, some bad, but nonetheless we must keep on breathing and expressing ourselves as much as we can, whether it’s with art, music, fashion, writing, acting, athletics, etc. Find your passion and make that your lifestyle.
Sometimes passions evolve into other passions. That’s how I got my start in music. I was away at college playing basketball in Vermont, far from my home in Florida, and I felt a burning desire to express myself due to the drastic changes that were happening in my life. Next thing you know I am coming up with hip-hop records and developing an obsession as an artist. I started falling in love with the music so much so that basketball started taking a backseat, and the rest was history. I did not go back to Vermont the next year. I transferred back home to Florida and I have been obsessively making music ever since.
Bridge: I find that perspective so intriguing. And you’re right, live doesnt happen all smooth like that, it really does jump around. I appreciate the intentionality behind what you’re doing….So, what would you say are your main inspirations as an artist?
Juss: Every artist is always inspired by the greats before them. To me, my greats are really no different than the rest: Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, Drake. Those are my big inspirations. They are the reason I fell in love with music, and of course all the many other greats that came before them who they were inspired by as well. But sonically, I am inspired by those artists I previously mentioned. I studied their music like a student trying to master a craft. That is where I get a lot of my approach from, just the way they are able to speak on their actual everyday real lives, no matter how dark it may be. They do not hold anything back, just brutally honest, holding no punches. That is why their music hits the heart and strikes chords that most artists cannot, and that is what I strive to do with my music. Give my real actual self: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am inspired by my own journey in life and the evolution process I have endured to become the man and artist I am now.
How would you best describe your sound?
Juss: Spiritual. Soulful. Honest. Lyrical. Artistic. Articulate. Crafted. Mathematic. Calculated. Organic. Natural. It is all these things combined. Whether raw and rugged at times, or vulnerable and expressive, you will always get the naked truth from me when I flow.
Bridge: These are all words we love here at Bridge (laughs)…Can you tell us, what vision do you have for your music?
Juss: I am thinking long-term and internationally. I want my music to be heard by the masses globally. I want to create music that will stand the test of time. I am not all crazy about chasing a “classic,” but I will definitely take my time with everything I create, and if it so happens to be on the level of a “classic” then great. Nevertheless I know I will not settle for what I feel is my best, from there it is up to the people to decide, but I can assure you that anything I drop will not be watered-down.
Bridge: So true, it really is up to the people. And while that’s scary, you’re right. We just do our best and let go of the rest….What do you ultimately want listeners to get out of your music?
Juss: I want the listeners to get confidence from my music. I want them to feel like they can actually do what I do because that is how my favorite artists made me feel. I felt like I could actually be them on the mic and lead the lives they live. I guess that’s why I am doing what I am doing now. With that said, I am not trying to inspire everyone to be rappers, but if they gain the confidence from my music to go on and be the best version of themselves then I will consider my job done.
Bridge: Love it. What better outcome could someone have for their music?! …Now I’m curious, who would you love to collaborate with?
Juss: Adele, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Drake, Rick Ross, Griselda Records, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar
Bridge: I was not expecting you to say Adele! Dang, now I’m trying to picture what that would be life. Gotta hear that one day!…Are you able to share with us what current projects do you have going on?
Juss: I just released my latest project New Ice New Angels (NINA), inspired by great-grandmother Nina who passed away last year. I plan on following this project up with a sequel, and I am thinking of maybe even making it a trilogy because I have so much music recorded from the inspiration of her passing. I just think it would make for a great series of spiritual music, maybe not necessarily in the most religious aspect, but in essence of that whole realm. Again, I look to speak from the soul and touch the lives of my listeners, and creating from the perspective of losing a loved one can definitely help me tap into a higher power.
Bridge: Alright, that got me right in the heart! We call my grandma “Neena” as well. It’s so beautiful the way you are honoring her….
I know it’s hit or miss with artists due to Covid right now, but are you touring right now?
Juss: Currently, I am not on the road, nor do I have any shows planned, but I am always open for bookings if the scene makes sense. I imagine I will have tour dates soon for mid to end of 2022, but right now I am primarily focused on further developing my craft day and night in the lab. That is something that I like to do at my own pace, and I do not want being on the road to interfere with my creative space and process momentarily. Sure, I can rush to the road with it, but I am thinking long-term here as I said. The world is not going anywhere, people will always be in need of new entertainment. When I roll out, I will make sure it is something they will never forget.
Bridge: We’ll be in the front row, I can guarantee you!…I love asking this next question because it’s such an insight into a person…What is your go-to song when you’re going through some heavy stuff?
Juss: These days when I am going through something emotional or troubling, I do not turn to music ironically enough. My go-to is Neville Goddard. I put on one of his lectures and tune in. I used to look to music a lot but I noticed that it stopped providing me what I needed in those tough times. I guess that is what inspired me to start making the sound I make now. I needed something that I can actually relate to and what better way than to actually make the music yourself. It would be like never being able to find something fashionable to wear for your specific taste, so you just decide to start designing your own clothing.
Not to sound arrogant, but these days I will listen to Neville Goddard or myself during the dark hours just to keep my perspective sharp on who I AM and what I AM capable of.
Bridge: That’s not arrogant at all, that’s real and we’re here for it!
Do yourself a favor and follow Juss on IG below and be sure to check out his latest music, streaming everywhere!