Rapper J.Gunn, 26, hails from Durham, North Carolina. His confident attitude is backed by a co-sign from the legendary MC Lyte who introduced him to the world on the red carpet of the 2011 BET Awards.
We caught up with J.Gunn, who is working on forthcoming projects to ask him 10 quick questions:
1. When did you start rapping?
Eight years old. My big brother was heavy into Hip Hop, so I followed his footsteps. I was performer from a very young age, I wanted to be Michael Jackson, singing, dancing and all that. Hip Hop was the thing growing up in the 90’s. I just picked up a pen and the rest is history.
2. When did you know you had talent?
When I first started writing rhymes, I would rap for everybody at school. And in elementary school everyone was like “This is amazing,” but I didn’t take it seriously because I was still young. Then my dad started entering me into talent shows. It just felt so comfortable and natural on stage and I started winning. I was approached by a brother named Mike City, who is now an award winning R&B producer but back then he was just a college student; he said,” Hey I think you’re really dope” and again I was kid so that meant a lot. We went to the studio, and it was my first time being in a real studio and Big Daddy Kane walked in. I’m there rhyming and Big Daddy Kane, one of the cats I looked up to comes in and he’s like “Yo you’re really dope!” So I think it was that day when Kane, a legend, said I was dope that I really thought maybe I really have a talent in this.
3. When was your “Big Break”?
A: I don’t know if I’ve had it yet. So far one of the highlights was walking the red carpet with MC Lyte. I got to be in the presence of a lot of the current and past legends of Hip Hop, R&B and Soul Music. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a big break I’m definitely on the coast of greatness but haven’t had my big break yet.
4. What are your your big plans for the rap game?
My plan is to convince the world there is room for both fun Hip Hop and Hip Hop with substance. And to reinforce, I won’t say I’m the first to prove it, but to reinforce the idea that quality music can both be critically acceptable and commercially successful.
5. What are five things you can’t live without?
Music, water, the essentials, family and my iPod
6. What is your hidden talent?
I like to display my talents, so i don’t know.
7. What’s the meaning behind your name?
My name is Joshua Gunn. When I was a kid I used to go by “Billy J” and I thought it was really cool. But when i met my manager at the time, he suggested I use J Gunn because I also used to say it in my rhymes and he said it was dope. And at the time there were no “Cory Gunz.” I feel much more comfortable using my real name than a made up name.
8. Favorite rap lyric from someone else:
That’s easy: “9 to 5 is how you survive, I ain’t trying survive I’m trying live it to the limit and live it alive that’s survive” -Jay Z “Can I live”
9. Who would play you in a movie?
I’d say Terrance Howard if he was 10-15 years younger, because he seems very laid back and his character is always about the business.
10. Who is your rap inspiration?
My rap inspiration is my life, the things thats I’ve been through. Growing up in the region that I grew up in and what I try to represent, my hometown is a pillar in the civil rights movement. At one point it was a very big stomping ground for Black arts, jazz musicians, R&B musicians and that culture is still here. And my dad being from the same place and instilling that history in me, I think thats the biggest influence for me and my music. You’ll he a lot of line instrumentation and social political references in my music and even in the way that I dress, is kind of a throwback. When I get on stage I like to be dressed well and give a visual image of professionalism and I think thats a throwback to the 50’s and 60’s era. Like an urban sophisticate type movement was going here in my hometown. So just my life and what I’ve been through growing up in a medium size city with such great history is my biggest influence.