I don't know what it is about the Scribbling Idiots crew. I just seem to end up interviewing one of these guys every couple of months. JustMe has been at his Hip Hop craft for awhile now and recently released, what I found to be, one of his best solo efforts to date. I hit him up for the interview and, after taking FOREVER to write it out and quickly (sorry Just) illustrate a pic, here he is, in his own words, giving you the skinny on "Tragedy and Dope..."
Conduct: Lets start out with the fun question of who JustMe is, where you're
from and how many albums you have dropped UPTO this new release?
JustMe: Well, for those who don't know, I'm originally from Southern Cali,
but I've been living in KY for almost 9 years now. I've been rhyming
seriously for about 15 years now. First with a group called SolSeekers
and then as a solo artist and member of Scribbling Idiots. (Laughing)I
have no idea how many records I've done! This is my third official solo
Conduct: When you've done as many projects as you have, people look at
that a truly realize your hard work and dedication...but it can't be that easy
to keep it going. What inspires you in your writing?
JustMe: To be honest, I was ready to hang it up about a year ago, and then
Deacon called me up and said that he wanted to produce my next record.
That pretty much changed everything. When he started sending me beats, I
was very inspired, not only by the music but by the struggles and
suffering that is taking place worldwide right now.
Conduct: "Prodigal" was the single to drop.It's really caught some good buzz for the project. How did you peg down that one to be leaked to an audience already intrigued by the record and the idea of you and Deacon the Villain working together?
JustMe: Everyone loves a good story! And this song is my testimony. What
better way to reintroduce myself?
Conduct: "Tragedy and Dope" sounds very much like an old school album
title. Where did you come up with that title?
JustMe: The title was inspired by Carroll Quigley's book "Tragedy and Hope:
A History of The World in Our Time." The book is the confession of an NWO
insider. It basically talks about how the super-elite rule the world.
The album isn't really about that, although it does touch on it a little.
The album is more about free will and finding God's love through it.
Conduct: The last album you dropped was "Before the Twilight" which was produced by Commissioner Gordon. Do you find there's a huge benefit in doing an album with a single producer, as opposed to several?
JustMe: I like single producer records. I think it helps with continuity.
Conduct: I found that this album, even more so than any other project I've personally heard you on, has a real honest and, in some places, very hard look at yourself and the track topics. What was it about this project that brought all that to the fore?
JustMe: Over the years I've come to the realization that I have a
responsibility to speak with a prophetic tone in my music. When I say
prophetic, I'm not talking about predicting the future. I mean I have a
responsibility to use my voice to speak for the voiceless, and stand
"against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this
dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly
Conduct: Okay, back to the focus, you've had a really nice last couple releases from the various EP's that come outta the Scribbling Idiots camp, to your last album...How are
you feeling about where your music is, at the moment?
JustMe: I think I'm making the best music I've ever made, and a lot of
people seem to agree. That's great because you always want your most
recent project to be your best.
Conduct: "Prodigal" was your testimony and deals with lust and sex but I
found that I really wanted to know where the idea for the story track
JustMe: LOL! Well, I don't know if the song just deals with lust, I
think its a lot deeper than that. It deals with communication between a
husband and wife. I think that it's something that a lot of couples deal
with. Naturally, it reflects only my point of view, but its a snapshot of
how I felt about a situation at the time. Of course my wife hates that
song, but I've had a lot of men tell me that they like it, and they
Conduct: Deacon the Villain has a nice following from his group work in
Cunninlynguists so, doing a project with him gets a new set of people to
listen to your stuff. How much of a plus is having people's love of a
producer, bring them into giving your lyrics a chance?
JustMe: It's a total plus! I don't think that there's anything negative
about it. When we were working on the album, I was very conscious of the
fact that I would be introduced to a new audience, and I hope I made a
good first impression.
Conduct: Besides you and Deacon (who's really impressed me with his
singing on this album) are there any other features of any sort on the project to
look out for?
JustMe: There's only one guest on the record. My good friend Sheisty did
his thing on "Out of Context". I felt like I really needed to prove that
I could carry a record lyrically, and that's why I don't have any of the
other Idiots on the record.
Conduct: On the subject of the record's vibe, do you find yourself getting
questions from people about how you've said things on this record?
JustMe: There's been some interesting theological questions asked, which
is exactly what I'm aiming for.Every time I write a song, I hope that it
will spark conversation.
To be specific, some people have disagreed with me saying that "God
created good and evil." Of course this comes directly from The Bible:
Deuteronomy 30:15, Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38, Amos 3:6, etc. People
interpret it different ways, and that's why its good to talk about it.
Conduct: I've found that the ten song structure works for a lot of what
are considered hip hop classics. The concise statements that many people feel
a record of that length make and, often or not, make or break an emcee in
people's eyes. Were you feeling that kind of way as you put this together
JustMe: I think 10 song records are great! I think that it gives you
enough room to make a statement, but also cuts down on filler songs.
Initially Deacon wanted to do 7 or 8 songs, but I pushed him to do 10.
Conduct: What does this record mean to you and what it is that you want
the listeners to take from it?
JustMe: This is the best music I've had the pleasure to be a part of so
far. I hope that people are inspired and encouraged by the music.
Mostly, I just hope people enjoy listening to it.
Conduct: What's something about you that you doubt many people are very
JustMe: I don't know. I'm pretty transparent in my music. If someone is
a fan of my music then they know that I'm a family man. I love Kentucky
sports. I'm a hip-hop nerd. Oh! I've been studying Martial Arts in
recent months. It's something I've always wanted to do, and now it's
something that my son and I are able to do together.
Conduct: If you could pick out of the events from 2010, what would be the
most disappointing news you heard? What would be the best news?
JustMe: Man, that's a tough one. Pass.
Conduct: Time for you to play interviewer. Ask me a a question and I'll
tell you the truth. Go ahead.
JustMe: Which of the arts do you enjoy most and why?
Conduct: Its gotta be illustration and, I'll explain why real quick: Basically everything I
do creatively is, in my mind, an illustration. To get a really quality image though, I need
to be able to put in the time at my drawing table and, well, life doesn't always afford
that luxury. So I've adjusted to that by doing other arts when an image comes to mind.
I think my love of it comes from the fact that its used for a lot of things people really
enjoy. Clothing, film, animation, books, most of those are approached visually and often
developed via illustration.
Conduct: This is the free space. Say whatever you feel needs to be said
JustMe: First off...Thanks for doing this interview. To everyone reading