Rakim had the juice, and enough to go around. And around the time The R's seminar with Aftermath Records ended, Dr. Dre proved to be in the lab with a cocky Compton kid named The Game. The rest is history. Caught in a great lineage of Hip Hop, The Game has signed on a bundle of artists to his Black Wall Street imprint, and save for a few half-baked singles, no one has shown any indication of an actual album.
That all changed with the entrance of Juice. The rapper who speaks with a cadence not unlike his employer, hails from Phoenix, Arizona and fancies himself 100% west coast. Just as The Game waited his turn with Dre, proving his worth with selflessness, Juice is doing so with The Game. The most talked about BWS artist partook in the insomniac sessions of the would-be Doctor's Advocate, yet received no spot on the album. Rest assured though, that when the raw talent emerges, people will listen. The rapper spoke to HipHopDX about his next mixtape, Ice Cube's influence and how Snoop Dogg isn't the only black rapper from the west pushing the line for Latino love.
Hailing From: Phoenix, Arizona
Current Works: Death Certificate Mixtape on November 28.
Connects: The Game, Black Wall Street, Ice Cube, Pitbull, DJ Skee.
On his untapped region: "Realistically speaking, Arizona was never really aligned to the west coast until I stepped up to the plate and claimed it for what it is. You look at New York, Miami or Atlanta, their existence never really mattered till that one person had enough nut and enough knowledge to step up to the plate and put them in the limelight. That’s the same situation pertaining to Phoenix. The city really put their trust in me, and we’re starting to get our proper due and respect."
On his Latino audience: "Sixty to 75% of Arizona does have a Latino market. The good thing about it is I’m not culturally biased whenever it comes to music. Right now I’m working with Pitbull, who has a real big following out here. Shout out to one of the OGs, Kid Frost, he’s spent a lot of time out here. The alliance between what I’m doing and the Latin Community is like neck and neck. We’re really building everything up."
On remixing hit records with his verses: "The reason I do remixes is because I believe there’s artists and there’s legends. Everyone knows that right now the music industry is really finicky as far as record sales are going. I think that a person such as myself, a new artist who is branded but not really, has to really excel and step outside the box and show people that I’m not just a new artist; I can rock with the legends. Long story short, whether it’s Scarface, Ice Cube, The Game, a person like myself is like... Game is my boss. He’s my mentor, my big brother, and he’s gonna go down as a west coast legend. But I don’t want to be put on as, ‘That’s just Game’s artist.’ A lot of artists get that stamp of approval. The reason for me rocking on these remixes is because I want people to say, ‘I heard Juice on a record with Scarface, and dude can bring it!’ At the end of the night, I want people to hear my music and hear me alongside legends, bringing it just as much as they are or better."
His role within the label: "Before I signed with Black Wall Street, there were a couple of artists on the roster. There was [Glasses Malone], there was Charli Baltimore, DJ Skee, Nu-Jerzey Devil, Clyde Carson and Ya Boy. I can’t speak for nobody else, as far as the situations of albums go. But as far as myself, some people got it. Some people want limelight. Some people want pressure. I think The Game saw that in me, working late on The Doctor’s Advocate with him, staying in the studio till all hours of the night. Every record that he was throwing out, I really wanted to hop on. He saw that eagerness, and saw me try to perfect my craft. That really put me to the forefront. That’s not saying anything about my label-mates either. Some people just got that Kobe Bryant syndrome in them."
When his album will arrive: "The Game is in a lot of negotiations as far as getting our distribution locked up. Geffen just came to the table. Warner Brothers has came to the table. Right now it’s just working out the numbers."
His proudest verse: "I got a record on the mixtape – an original, called “The Anticipated.” I feel at this point in my career, coming from the west coast, I’m the most anticipated west coast artist since The Game. I believe that my album will be the most anticipated album in the west coast since The Documentary. I have a bar on there where I say, “I’m the most anticipated, I’m what the block feels / My name is in front of Big and ‘Pac’s will.” A lot of people heard that bar and looked at me like, ‘Yo, this kid don’t even got an album out and he’s already aligning himself with Big and ‘Pac.’ It’s not for the aspect of trying to align myself with them, it’s just at the end of the night, some people have that certain flow. I think when people hear that record “The Anticipated,” those words that I’m saying will give them a sigh of relief because they’re gonna hear the realness in the music I’m bringing."
On his greatest influence, Ice Cube: "I’m not a star-struck person. But [while The Game was working with WC on “West Coast Voodoo”], Ice Cube came into the studio. We cut into him a little bit, because I wanted to remake “Today Was A Good Day” and have him direct the video to it. Cube is a genius – a classy guy. We’re still trying to work that out."
For more info on Juice visit www.myspace.com/juice and therealblackwallstreet.com.