Interview with Hip-hop artist Jesse James

Jesse James dealt with many hardships before realizing his passion for music. Hailing from Rhode Island, the half black and half white MC grew up in an area that Rolling Stone labeled the “Cocaine Capital.” In this environment, he hustled on the streets to support his family, who was struggling between multiple jobs to make ends meet. His true calling, however, was undeniable. Influenced by artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, James wants to use his musical platform to share his story and inspire others.

James took time out of his busy recording schedule to talk about his most recent release, the mixtape “Ahead of My Time,” and what he has in store for the future. This project features an anti-bullying anthem titled “Outcast” that he collaborated on with The X Factor’s David Correy. James hopes this track will resonate with victims of all ages and motivate people to stand up to bullies, whose hurtful remarks have sometimes caused people to take their own lives. How has your life story influenced your music?
Jesse James: All of my music is a combination of what I’ve seen and what I’ve been through. It shapes and molds everything I put out.

TCC: What inspired you to write “Outcast?”
JJ: I felt that I had a moral obligation as an artist- as a voice within the hip-hop community- to make sure bullying was spoken about. So many kids experience it but everyone is afraid to address it because it’s not the cool thing to talk about.

TCC: What do you hope viewers take away from the song?
JJ: I want people to recognize what is going on, help if they are in the position to, and see how bullying can affect people.

TCC: You teamed up with David Correy not only on “Outcast” but also on another song on your mixtape called “Future.” What brought you two together? How was it working with him?
JJ: We’ve been working together for the past three months and we developed a friendship. He’s my favorite person to work with and I’m his favorite person to work with. So every time that we have a new record, we’ll reach out to each other. We always seem to make great music and have great chemistry together.

TCC: If you had access to anyone in the industry, who would you like to collaborate with in the future? Why?
JJ: That’s tough. There are so many great artists that I looked up to growing up like Jay-Z, Eminem, and Nas. It would be a dream come true to work with those guys.

TCC: What is the significance of the name of your mixtape “Ahead of My Time?”
JJ: If you listen to the actual lyrics, it’s very well-rounded. I made songs that represent many genres of music. It has elements of rock n’ roll, pop, techno, and, of course, hip-hop. Most people you listen to, you already know what to expect. My music is all over the place.

TCC: Are there any other songs from the mixtape that stand out to you?
JJ: Yeah, the song “My City” is about where I’m from. I’m from a very small state. Pretty much no one has even heard of us. Putting that record out and talking about the things that we go through, the way we are, and what it’s like out there is very personal and one of my favorites as well.

TCC: What is next for you in terms of your music?
JJ: I’m in Miami right now working on a big project with The Renegades, DJ Khaled’s producers. Right now, we’re just in the beginning stages. There are a lot of musicians involved and instruments like guitar, violin, and piano. It’s a project I’m very excited about.

You can find and download Jesse James’s mixtape “Ahead of My Time” for free at The video for “Outcast” is featured below.

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