EXCLUSIVE: JD Era Talks New Mixtape ‘No Handouts’, Ice H2O Signing, Raekwon & More
Woodlawn Post’s Adrian Mitchell got the opportunity to interview Toronto artist JD Era, protegé of Wu-Tang Clan legend Raekwon(of Raekwon’s Ice H2O label). He discusses his latest mix-tape ”No Handouts” that feature’s appearances and production from Raekwon, Mac Miller, Rich Kidd, 9th Wonder, Ayah and more.
JD Era on signing with Raekwon’s Ice H2O label: I grew up listening to Wu-tang, so to be signed by him has been a crazy experience…
He talks about writing music, Drake opening doors for artist from Toronto, his Chemistry with Raekwon & much more!
WP: For those Hip Hop fans outside of Canada are not familiar with JD Era. Can you discuss you affiliation with Ice H20, Raekwon, Wu-Tang Clan and how it started?
JD Era: I’m Raekwon’s young gun! We met about a year ago, when I heard he was looking to sign an artist to his Ice H20 imprint and we just had a great chemistry. I grew up listening to Wu-tang, so to be signed by him has been a crazy experience.
WP: As a canadian artist, how has the national Music Video station’s like MuchMusic supported your career? Toronto DJ’s? Clubs?
JD Era: Their support has been key to me building up my career nationally. There isn’t many outlets in Canada for urban music so it’s been important.
WP: You dropped your Ice H20 debut mix-tape “No Handouts” with 13-Tracks on April 16th 2012 with features from Raekwon, Mac Miller, Rich Kidd, 9th Wonder, Ayah and more. How has the project been received by your fans and industry piers?
JD Era: The response for No Handouts has been crazy! Especially at home in Toronto. It’s been really organic in how it’s spreading online and in the streets. I think it’s showing my fans and people in the industry a different side of me and my growth from my battle days and past mixtapes.
WP: Writing is different for each artist, how do approach writing a ‘hit’ song?
JD Era: I write most of my songs feeding off of the beat. The production usually dictates what I’m gonna write about. I write songs for myself not so much to have a hit.
WP: How is it working with and for Raekwon? Does having Raekwon as a Boss/mentor add pressure for your mix-tape’s and future LP/album success?
JD Era: Working with Raekwon has been a learning experience. He’s been in the game for 20 years so his ear for music is on point. Having him as a boss definitely adds pressure to all my projects. But, this is what I’ve worked so hard for, so I’m excited. I just want to create my own classic.
WP: Does the success of Drake make it easier for Canadian artist too have their music heard by industry executives and expand your fans base in the US?
JD Era: I think his success opened a lot of people’s eyes but at the end of the day talent is always going to stand out regardless of where the person is from.
WP: Back in 201o on your Th1rt3en (Mixtape), you had features from Freddie Gibbs, Drake, Saukrates and more. In terms of growth as an artist, how is “No Handouts” different from that project that featured several talented Toronto artist?
JD Era: Th1rt3en for me was more about the bars and just showing people that I was a lyricist. No Handouts is more about the music and showing my fans that I could make great songs for them to ride to. I really wanted to take it up a level not just as a rapper but as an artist.
WP: You have collaborated with several top Toronto MC’s and several U.S mainstream artist’s. How do you to remain true to your Canadian fans, while growing you fan base?
JD Era: I really just focus on making the best quality music. My fans have been loyal to me because of my consistency so regardless of where they are from I just have to stay true to that.
WP: Who are you collaborating with on your future LP/album? Producer’s? artist?
JD Era: I’m looking forward to getting into the studio with a lot of up and coming rappers. I think Action Bronson is dope. Freddie Gibbs and Reek Da Villain. I’m just ready to go bar for bar with a couple heavyweights and make the most of this opportunity.
WP: How can artist contact you and find your work?
Mike “Major” Malabre
Download: “No Handouts” Mixtape
Twitter: @jdera @majorbiggz @teamjdera
(Written & Edited by Adrian Mitchell for Woodlawn Post)
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