An interesting thought crossed my mind the other day. Is it immature or wrong for a person to make hip hop music, or aspire to be a hip hop artists past a certain age? In general, if I asked "Is it immature or small minded for a person over let's say 27 to make or aspire to become a successful hip hop artist", many people may initially say yes right off top. But consider this... Most other genre's seem to embrace an artist regardless of their age if they are talented, make good music, have an image that works for them and their style, and overall are able to be relevant musically. For example, consider rock music. If Kiss, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Aerosmith, and/or Linkin Park held a concert near you next week… they would most likely have a sell-out crowd made up of fan's of ALL ages. The members of these bands/ groups are for the most part between 35 & 60. Hip Hop on the other hand seems to question a person’s maturity level if they try to, or want to make hip hop music past a certain age and it also suggests that hip hop is only for the youth. While thinking about this I stumbled across a article that really put the whole topic into perspective for me. This article quoted none other than one of the best to ever do it, Jay Z.. " No matter what I do, any person that gets to this stage of their life is going to do whatever is in their heart," Jay explained during an interview with XXL Magazine. "I think people should make music as long as their heart is in it. As long as they're pushing past the deadline four times and they're still making more records. Like, there are thousands of boxers that could have retired before they had that fight, Muhammad Ali for one. But you never stop -- because of one, your passion or greed, your financial situation, there may be a need, you know? The thing that I can do is stretch the subject matter. Whether Kingdom Come was your favorite album or not, '30 Something,' you have to deal with that subject matter [in that song]. If [the target audience is] 15 to 25, that's too narrow. What am I going to listen to at 26 and beyond? That's a quarter of my life. That's such a small slice of the pie. We have to expand the genre. Everyone is speaking to the kids, thinking that's the key to success. The sad part of it is that all these [rappers] saying it are 30 years old, at least. Sometimes 35. It's misleading. It's that lack of growth that will keep us in a certain place"... Then he said...""I hear it all the time -- 'Yo, he should let the young guys, the new generation of guys come in,'" Jay explained in an interview. "But you don't become the front-runner in music because someone lets you. You have to claim your shoes...If you grow up listening to hip-hop, you love hip-hop and that's the end of it. But if you're a 30 year-old rapper still trying to make music like you're 15, then you're making it narrow. At my age, I can't relate to a 15 year-old. I deal with mature and relevant topics for my age group "... I couldn't agree more with everything that Jay had to say. He mentioned that for most rappers, the target audience is simply people between the ages of 15-25. Which is very narrow and would explain a lot of the popcorn hip hop music that we hear, because artists are trying to cater pretty much only to teens. Expanding the genre would mean expanding that target range! But expanding that will require hip hop artists who actually have the content to do so . Something else that stood out was "if your a 30 year old rapper still trying to make music like your 15, then your making the genre narrow". This is most important as it pretty much sums up this whole topic. I think ageism does exist within hip hop, but it is no match for the artists that understand what it means to expand the genre. If that’s you, then like Jay said, you should continue to do music for as long as your heart is in it.
As I was listenin to the pastor preach on Easter sunday a major thought crossed my mind. Is it possible for a rapper to go to heaven. I have pondered this question before and never really came up with a solid answer. But as I explored the topic, there were a few things that I considered. First, I have always been taught that getting into heaven is a matter of what you believe in your heart, in other words, if you believe with your heart that Jesus died for your sins and that he is your lord and savior that you are on the right path to gaining entrance to heaven. Secondly, if that is what you believe in your heart, ultimately that will be reflected in the way that you go about living the life that you have been given. Then thirdly, if the other two things I just mention are there then you become a vessel for God's light to shine through for others to see. Now, with that being said.. I return to the original question. Do rappers go to heaven? In my opinion, based on the above my opinion is that it depends on the person. I believe that God created us and everything in us. Which means I believe without a doubt that God gave specific people musical abilities/ talents for a reason. I also believe that God can and does use people in an infinite number of ways, to connect with others. I also believe that there are many things that God will do that we will never understand because he is the creator of our path. So I believe that it is possible for a person to be a hip hop artists and go to heaven, and I believe that god has blessed certain people with the ability to make hip hop music for reasons that others, including the artists may never fully understand. There are a lot of people who believe that if you can rap, that you should be doing what is called "christian rap" and if you are doing what they call secular rap, you are going to hell. When I hear this I immediately think of the term... "God works in mysterious ways". And I think of how many people overlook one of the main principals of christianity... that ALL of us fall short. This includes your pastor, deacons, ministers, and christian rappers. Because like hip hop artists, they are all human. I believe God can use anything to further his reach. Are hip hop artists perfect, absoultely not. Do hip hop artists have temptation, absolutely. Do hip hop artists struggle with sin, yes. But can you name one person in the church who doesnt deal with these struggles every day? My point is that I believe God has blessed me with the ability to make music and I believe that just like everyone else, my ticket to heaven is about my personal relationship with God. Do I struggle with things, yes. But I also know that God is not asking me to be something that he knows I can't be... perfect. But he is expecting me to pick a side in regards to my heart and my mind. So if I was to blow up tomorrow, I believe that whether or not I go to heaven will be based on what I believe in my heart, if others can see his light in me, and what I do to help others know that he is real. I think becoming successful at this music thing will be a powerful story to anybody who becomes a fan of my music. Because I will always let it be known that without God I am nothing and nothing is possible without God. Jevy
Last night I was sitting at my desk skimming through the Billboard Top 100. While looking at the top 10 I noticed that there was one astonishing trend... pop music was the leader of the Billboard. There is nothing wrong with pop music and I listen to it daily to stay in the know but my immediate thoughts were where does HIP HOP fit in this world of music?
Hip hop music has to reach the top 10. I thought to myself what formula do we have to use in order to get on the chart in general. I see hip hop artists sprinkled in the chart but closer to the bottom 100.
We need to change the way we see music, it is a business and evolution is needed with the times. Hip hop is steady evolving in its own right but how many hip hop songs feature pop artists or producers? Are we pushing the envelope in the music that we are making or going with the status quo?
As we look to the future...we have to move with the wave...without Evolution there is no Movement!
- Joe "J.Bezz" Stubblefield
Recently while in Hawaii, someone asked me where I came up with the name "Jevy". I responded by saying that Jevy comes from the term longevity. I actually came up with this name a few years ago. It came to me as I thought about my journey as a music artist. I realized that talent, passion and drive don't always progress at the same speed. For example, an artist could start off with talent, passion and drive. But as time progresses those things don't always progress together. In fact, some of those things if not all, can die.. along with that person's musical goals and dreams. As an artist moves forward, they can possess the talent but lose their drive and passion. Or they can have drive and passion, but lose touch with their talent. But then you have those artists who master their craft and find a way to maintain a progressive balance of talent, passion and drive. I believe that I have found that balance by becoming the best at being JEVY. The result of that has been the continuous progression and sharpening of my talent in combination with a renewed sense of passion and drive. I believe that I am on the brink of reaching my main musical goal... which is to be heard throughout the country and the world.
Someone once told me that you know what your calling is when you try to ignore it and opportunities to do it always resurface. The beginning of The Take Off Movement has been yet another opportunity resurfaced. I look forward to sharing this experience with my fans and the whole take off movement team. Longevity in the music game is all about the ability to stay relevant, while staying yourself. Welcome to Jevy's World.