Rap music can either be really hard or hardly real. Mr. J. Medeiros is living a life drenched in reality and writing lyrics that reflect it. With East-coast b-boy roots since the age of 7, it was unlikely that J found his calling in the fledgling hip-hop scene of Colorado Springs. Making the most of the college radio station, winning local MC battles, building his breaking crew, DJing events and writing graffiti in the Rocky Mountain town eventually sent J on his career path. He jump-started a record label with friends, and moved to Los Angeles, with his group, The Procussions.
Mr. J has always had a passion to help people, and has devoted years of his life serving in AmeriCorps (the Presidentially honored service organization), volunteering for Habitat For Humanity, and caring for people with mental disabilities. "In working with people with developmental disabilities, I really started to understand the shallow ways that we as society communicate and interact," begins the MC, "So many people live their lives in corners because they either cant or won't subscribe to the ideals of materialism and superficial beauty, and it truly hurts." These experiences helped Medeiros find his calling to share this reality to others.
Medeiros has made himself an ally to many causes through his music. He reveals his passion for women's issues, with songs like "Constance", which tells the story of a girl trapped in the taboo world of child pornography and human trafficking. The song's lyrics are aggressive and bold, "It's not illegal to use raping as a cash crop / As long as it says she's 18 on your laptop." Medeiros knows he's going against the grain. "A large part of hip-hop's identity has been formed through a consistent disregard to a women's civil rights." declares J.
This altruistic attitude in Medeiros' music touches on many other concerns from alcoholism to autism to self-esteem issues. "There aren't a lot of traditional themes that I talk about. I try to make music in a form to where people can take it as their own, instead of just talking about my experiences," says the thoughtful artist. "As soon as it leaves my mouth, it's no longer my music."
Medeiros has been making music for other people for over nine years with the LA based trio, The Procussions. They earned their stripes by playing to over 150 crowds per year with a critically acclaimed live show. Performances paved the way for the success of 2003's independent, As Iron Sharpens Iron, and attracted legendary independent hip-hop imprint Rawkus Records to sign the group and release 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents in 2006. This gave Medeiros a chance to develop his artistry while sharing the stage with hip hop greats such as The Roots, Big Daddy Kane, Talib Kweli, and A Tribe Called Quest.
These experiences helped Medeiros to unveil the album he had been writing and producing since 2004, Of gods and girls. "It's pretty personal," says J, "Most of the album is about what we (I) make gods out of, the idea's men have about women and how those two interact in both a dangerous and beautiful way...there is a focus on women in this album with a hope that in man's recognition of woman as an equal we will be creating safer environments for women in what, for the most part, has been a "mans" world...hiphop." Although introspective, the inspiring time was not a pleasurable one for the MC. J wrote Of Gods and Girls while sleeping on friends couches between tours, without health insurance or a consistent income. "It was a sense of loneliness, it was a sense of being broke," admits J. "In retrospect, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have a car, but I did have a roof over my head, and I had food."
Putting things in perspective, Medeiros, from a better place today, can appreciate the art born out of the struggle. His undying commitment to his goals found him the opportunity to create HyDef Laboratories, his own record label, and partner with Rawkus to release Of Gods and Girls in July 2007. Rawkus co-founder Brian Brater speaks passionately about J, "Sometimes I look at what Mr. J. is accomplishing and I think this guy will be Rawkus' biggest star EVER. His point of view, and his message on Of Gods and Girls is as relevant and as timely as Mos Def and Kweli's Blackstar vision in 1998." If his talents have been used as a gift to others, this would be J's biggest reward. Humbled yet determined, Mr. J. Medeiros sums up his goal, "I want my music to speak with dignity and inspire social change." - Written by Paine