It was a breezy Tuesday morning when I headed over to Atlantic Records to meet the ever popular Dirty South rapper that is Yung Joc. Comfortably slouched on a brown leather sofa, it is immediately clear to see that the long flight from Atlanta to London has taken its toll on Joc, real name Jasiel Robinson. I need to find a way of waking the laid back star up because I have questions, lots of questions and they all need answering in the short time I have with him. With my Lip-gloss in tact, I send him a beaming ‘Welcome to London’ smile….
YJ: (Eyes wide and alert) Wow Ma…you have a beautiful smile and lips
I smile and say thanks. With my mission accomplished, I proceed with the interview. You’re massive on the rap scene right now but how long have you been rapping for?
I have been rapping since I was ten, but I pretty much knew I wanted it to be my career from I was twelve.
When you were growing up, which artists sparked your interest in rap music?
Slick Rick, Run DMC, Dana Dane, Ice-T and LL Cool J
I read you used to be in a group. Tell me a little bit about that.
(Smiles) I have been in a couple of groups, but over a period of time I realised that I just was not cut out for a group. I don’t ever want to feel like something is not going right because of other people. At least this way if anything ever goes wrong I can only blame myself.
Perhaps best known for one of the biggest Hip Hop records of 2006 It’s Goin’ Down, did you ever expect that record to be the huge success that it was?
On a real, I knew that it was going to open doors for me and then once it opened those doors I would just have to keep working. (Smiles) I didn’t know that it was going to have me out here in the UK sitting next to you.
Shyly giggling, I redirect the conversation back to his music. So what do you think made that record so big?
I think at the time the clubs just needed something new. I was a new personality; I brought a new dance and a new sound. I was a new story and a good story at that.
Since being in the music industry, you have had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot talented people, from Marques Houston to Snoop Dogg, but who has been the most inspirational?
I have to say T-Pain because I saw him come from not having a buzz and not being understood, to selling like a million records and really doing his thing and he is a really down to earth, hard working person like me so he deserves it.
What’s the worst thing about being Yung Joc?
(His eyes sadden as he gazes into space) The worst thing is all of the sacrifices and compromises I have to make. I have to sacrifice personal time with my family, including my son and that is hard.
Let’s talk about the new album, firstly why is it called Hustlemonics and what inspired it?
It is what it is… I hustle. Economics is basically supply and demand and Hustlemonics is basically where you have to hustle to be able to supply and demand. When I dropped my first album I saw a lot of other rappers around and they aint even around right now.
It is Flavour Magazine’s first birthday so we are going to be celebrating big. What is the most memorable celebration you have had for a birthday?
In 2002 for my 20th birthday I turned my dad’s warehouse into a club and threw one of the biggest parties I have ever had.
What is the most expensive birthday present you have ever bought for anyone?
The most expensive present I brought for my friend was a diamond ring but that’s because she is a close friend and I was showing love.
Hustlemonics is in stores now on Bloc Entertainment
Words Lynnike Redway