DJ J-Ronin: Life is good! The bills are paid and things are looking up. Lots of projects coming, tours and moves being made. I can't complain. I just gotta keep grinding and building up the movement.
Royalty Magazine: Well 2012 crept in, out and is damn near gone! What are some of your greatest accomplishments or memories from this year? Tell us one thing that you will do differently next year than you did this year?
DJ J-Ronin: This year was great, rocked penthouses to basement parties. Lots of memories. I feel like the media is showing myself and my team more love than ever between blogs, websites and DJs playing our records. It's always beautiful to hear records i worked on played on Hot 97 - Shout out to Peter Rosenberg! One thing i did different starting this year was put my name on records i put together. DJ J-Ronin featuring so and so. Several OGs in the game been told me to do that but i felt if i wasn't making the beat it wasn't the right thing to do. However if DJ Khaled and other DJs who dont make beats can do it why can't I? Especially if im picking the beat , getting the features and the concept together. Anyway as far as next year i will be less focused on mixtapes and more on albums. I'm taking my company All Elements Music Group to the next level with Distribution for the label. I'm an A&R on a lot of projects including Sav Killz, Ras Kass and my own album . It's time for me to step it up and really get my feet wet on the business side of things. I've been in the streets for years making moves in Hip-Hop but I'm ready for the office!
Royalty Magazine: Speaking of next year...what can we expect to hear or see from you in 2013? Any upcoming projects, tours or tracks should we be checking for?
DJ J-Ronin: Yes 2013 will be the biggest year yet for myself and All Elements. I'm almost done working with my Co-Ceo Sav Killz on his debut album entitled "Still Determined" We've sold over 45,000 Sav mixtapes and its long over due. Everyone has been asking for an album from fans to DJs. The production is crazy. Brothers like Khrysis from North Carolina, Bronze Nazareth from Detroit and of course my team Super Produer Beat Butcha, DJ Snips, Vokab and this brand new producer Chuck Lawayne who i will be working with a whole lot more. Feature wise M.O.P. , Inspectah Deck and Killah Priest of Wu-Tang, Steele of Smif N Wessun , DV Alias Khryst , Maya Azucena (very talented female vocalist) and a bunch more. I don't want to give it all away to soon. Besides that record I am starting on my DJ J-Ronin album and Ras Kass F.I.L.A. project and Big Lou- Pray For Me. i'm working on several tours for the near future as well. Before any of that drops i am finishing up my next mixtape All Elements Freestyle Files vol.2 "Everybody Who's Anybody" All original freestyles from over 40 Mc's done just for that mixtape mostly on classic beats. Dropping real soon, so stay in tune with me and ill keep y'all updated.
Royalty Magazine: Tell us more about J-Ronin. How did you get started as a mixtape DJ? Take us back to the moment when you fell in love with hiphop...what was that feeling like and how did it happen? What pushed you to take that next step with music and make it career?
DJ J-Ronin: I was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn with Hip-Hop and Reggae everywhere. I was going to lil park jams before i can even remember with my baby sitter! Truthfully i couldn't tell you when i fell in love with Hip-Hop. I always loved music growing up and i played guitar, clarinet even a recorder when i was 6. Music has always been a big part of my life. Now i love all types of Hip-Hop but in particular i always was into that hardcore street but lyrical ish that dropped jewels. I was rocking the occasional party as a kid but i wasn't going too hard with the DJing and it got to a point when all the mixtapes in the street were not representing the kind of Hip-Hop i liked. I made a decision then and there that i would champion the Hip-hop i knew and loved and grew up on . From there i went to a ton of shows and networked as well as built with all the MCs i already knew from around the way. I got more and more into the mixtapes as well as recording in studios, hosting mixtapes and then management with Sav Killz. From there i dropped out of school and made that decision that this was going to be my life. Repping that real Hip-Hop and getting involved in all sides of the business.
Royalty Magazine: Tell us about your movement "All Elements". How did it get started and who & what does "All Elements" consist of? What is your overall mission? How does your movement make a difference in the community?
DJ J-Ronin: All Elements aka The Elemental Cartel is a movement i started which developed in the early 2000's. A lot of the original members fell off the face of the earth or got locked up but i carried that flag and kept it going. Sav Killz linked with me in 2004 thru 9th Prince from Killarmy (RZA's brother) and we became the dynamic duo! From there several DJs, producers and MCs become part of the crew including Illa Ghee, DJ Snips, DJ Toshi, Beat Butcha, Louie Gonz formerly known as Spit Supreme, Iron Braydz, Telisa D and more. We have members and chapters throughout the US and UK. All Elements is an organization that promotes dope Hip-Hop with a message. Sure it might be street or hard but we all still drop jewels. We have all done a lot of charity work for various causes from fighting Cancer, raising money for Hurricane Katrina victims, Haiti etc. Myself and Sav have both spoken to High School Classes and even took on interns from the classes who we helped get jobs. Beyond that we also mentor youth. Shout out to Frank Knight who's coming up! DJ Snips also was teaching music production out in London giving back in his own way. In the future when the label really takes off i would like to build a Hip-Hop Community center in Brooklyn with studios, video production and classes on the music business. Maybe even have tutoring for regular schooling if any of our members are qualified. Giving back to the community has always been a priority to me. Embracing young people who love Real Hip-Hop is very important. A lot of people in the game have a very elitist attitude which turns people off from being an active member in the Rap World.
Royalty Magazine: You are well known for being a mixtape DJ, but you are also an A&R manager, executive producer, promoter, radio host as well as a manager for other artists. From the perspective of a DJ, promoter or even management, what makes an artist hot? What makes their grind successful and/or what makes it fail?
DJ J-Ronin: Well hot can be whoever is popping in the game right now. Hype or throwing around money doesn't mean dope to me though! To me a hot artist is someone who has the skills. Flow, presence, lyricism. The stage show is very important as well. Artists need to have a personality people can relate to. Work ethic, that grind the hustle or Grustle is a must! Artists need to stay on their pen game and have them bars as well as showmanship. After that they need to be out there at events networking. Its like running for office. It's a campaign. You have to shake the hands and kiss the babies. Some artists let their ego get carried away with them and act funny style quick! A little blog love doesn't mean you made it guys! Slow down now! Don't change your number when you get a deal. Keep the same contact info so you can get that business. When people see you doing well they only want to work with you more and you might miss some business opportunities.
Royalty Magazine: Tell us the importance of the relationship between the artist & promoter? How about the relationship between a manager & artist? Does it even matter? Why or why not?
DJ J-Ronin: It's all about relationships in this business. Stay humble and be a team player. Without out a good promoter and manager most artist won't make it. Its as simple as that. A good manager brings their relationships to the table whether its features, production, shows, publicity. Managing the moves, the tours and all that as well. Promoters are so important as they book the artist for gigs and nowadays with music sales declining show money is integral to an indie artists career.
Royalty Magazine: If you had a chance to appear in the BET Cypha as a guest DJ, what artists would you want spitting on your set? What beat would you choose for them to rock to?
DJ J-Ronin: Well that would be an honor. I would have whoever i liked and felt was nice from different regions. Some of my favorite mc's. I would have 6 people and i would mix it up. Ras Kass, Royce Da 5'9, Sean Price, Nas, Scarface and of course my brother from another Sav Killz. I'd be greedy and want two ciphers i can think of so many dope MCs . Killah Priest, Tragedy Khadafi, AZ, Cormega, Raekwon, Planet Asia. Maybe i need to do a DVD of ciphers. I've put out several on All Elements Tv on the youtube channel and organized more for Jon John TV which is part of All Elements and drops DVDs as well.
Royalty Magazine: You've had a chance to work with Jadakiss, Joel Ortiz, Saigon, Maino, Smif N Wessun, Ras Kass, Killah Priest, as well as other known artists on your "All Elements Mixtape Series". How did the opportunity present itself for some of these artists to host your projects? What makes your mixtape series stand out from everyone elses?
DJ J-Ronin: Again its personal relationships. Im an active member of the Hip-Hop community. I don't just stay online! So many of the artists i knew personally. Jadakiss for example i booked for a college show and actually got him more money than he asked for. I try to bring business and get money with those that work with me and show love.Whether it's getting dope beats or helping with features. Booking shows or setting up interviews i always spread love! It's the Brooklyn way. Shout out to all the legends and up and comers who've supported my and the movement. Salute! As far as what makes my mixtapes stand out from the rest, well that would be the fact that i actually record majority of the music myself. I get beats from producers and make dope records happen. Bringing artists together from different movements and regions who's never collaborated before. One example would be this record entitled "The Purpose" with Reef the Lost Cauze from Philly, Sha Stimuli from Brooklyn, Mistah Fab from Oakland and then Cappadonna from Wu-Tang. Unity is something thats often lacking in the culture so i try to promote that as much as possible.
Royalty Magazine: How do you feel about the current state of hiphop? Are you familiar with the term hip-pop? Are you feeling hip-pop at all or do you think it has an impact on the watering down of hip-hop? How would you describe your style or taste in music?
DJ J-Ronin: The current state of Hip-Hop varies. You have some dope stuff on the radio and a whole lotta crap however their is a lot of talent coming up on the blogs and most of the legends are still making music that I like a whole lot. Everything is at your fingertips online. Don't get lazy people! Support what you like and put your money with your mouth is. Don't complain about Hip-Hop help and add on. As far as the pop side it is what it is. There's songs for parties, the strip club and songs to drive to, get hype plus records that are introspective and though provoking. I like it all. There's different music for different vibes. I just want to see balance with it. Lyricism needs to be displayed more. Some of these cats really can't rap. Its R.A.P. Rhythm and Poetry and a lot of these so called artists are not too poetic!
Royalty Magazine: Which era of music (past or present) has affected and/or has had the most impact on you as an artist? What DJ's (past or present) have influenced you to go hard in the mixtape game? Please elaborate.
DJ J-Ronin: I love a lot of eras musically. 60's and 70's Motown Stax soul to the old school Rocksteady and Reggae records to 80's and 90's Dancehall. Hip-Hop wise my favorite eras are the Mid to late 90's , late 80's to early 90s and early 2000's. As far as DJs who have influenced me i would say Kid Capri, Doo Wop, Tony Touch, Premier, Clue, Kay Slay, Green Lantern, WhooKid. Doo Wop's 95 Live and Tony Touch 50 Mcs - Power Ciphas were some of the best. Clue and Kay Slay for the exclusives and how they took over the street. Kid Capri for his presence and how he saw being a DJ as an artist . He was dropping albums before everyone! Green Lantern with his complexity . Using tons of movie samples to make the mixtape sound cinematic. Whoo Kid had them artist tapes with G-Unit and 50. He was a pioneer in that way.
Royalty Magazine: Any advice to upcoming artists and/or entrepreneurs looking to get in the music business? What would you say to someone who has a vision but has no major label backing or support?
DJ J-Ronin: Show consistency and pay your dues! Don't expect to blow up out of nowhere. Most people work for 10 plus years before you ever hear about them! Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar included. Have a strong team around you that shares your vision. Not just friends who can get you caught up in drama and street beef. Be willing to work harder for your dream than you ever have for any regular job. It's a full time gig overtime!
Royalty Magazine: Any last words, comments or shot outs? Anything you want to touch basis on that we haven't already?
DJ J-Ronin: Shout out to Taz and PB for the opportunity to build with you guys at Royalty Mag. For all you readers out there, get at me about any business I'm all about the people and making things happen. Shout out to my Elemental Cartel (especially my PNC Sav Killz) and everyone who supports what we do from the legends in the game, the fans at the shows and online to the streets. I love you all and without you there wouldn't be a DJ J-Ronin.
Royalty Magazine: How can people keep up with you and/or check out your movement as well as artists? What sites or radio stations can people catch your mixtapes and projects on?
DJ J-Ronin: Keep up with me online via Twitter @JRonin or Facebook where i am DJ J-Ronin. Also check out the official All Elements site AllElements.ning.com for the latest mixtape downloads, videos and more. Check me on the radio every Sunday - All Elements Radio on Mix1620 AM in NJ, Mix1620.com or on the Tunein App for all smart phones. Finally Check out All Elements TV and Jon John TV youtube.com/allelementstvonlineyoutube.com/jonjohntv
Royalty Magazine: Much Love & Respect. Thank you for your time!
DJ J-Ronin: Thank you again for giving me a platform. Peace!