Monday, February 18, 2008

New but old NY Artist-Juganot

ast year rapper Juganot made an impression as sizable as his gerth with "En Why Cee." A numbing, Frequency produced (with additional production from Scram Jones) groove, guest verses from Joell Ortiz and Uncle Murda equaled a heater of a record chock full of NYC pride. After years of dues paid Juganot plans on maintaining his momentum, recently dropping a high caliber remix ["En Why Ceequal"], songwriting and seeking distribution his Strictly Live Music imprint. Down with DJ collective The Heavy Hitters since ‘99 and currently making moves with DJ Camilo, Juganot explains who he is and where he plans on going; in only five points.

On who the hell he is…
Juganot, Strictly Live Music Incorporated, Heavy Hitters. Been doing it since I was in fifth grade. Working just trying to pop off. The music industry is kind of f**ked up right now, but I'm just going to keep pushing because I've been pushing this long. Juganot is not a quitter. I'm from the Bronx, born and raised. I live in Queens now. I've been living here for the past 10 or 12 years.

I was rhyming since I was a kid, you know beat boxing and rapping, but as I got older I got into the DJ thing. I ran into this dude that was real nice with his, his name was Severe. He inspired me, he made me wanna cut so I got a pair of turntables and started learning . I got pretty good with it and ended up DJ’ing for these kids that were rapping and they made me take its serious. They made me want to rap again. I just stayed home one day and made a rhyme. I was like I'm going to compete with these guys and loved it ever since. I just liked the attention. I would jump in a cypher and they'd be like who's this big fat white n***a? I'm not white, I'm Puerto Rican. But in those days, you know, I looked Italian [laughs].

I started on the mixtape circuit. And then the radio thing happened around the year 2000. That was the first time I ever got shine on the radio. I was doing the mixtape circuit since like '93, '94. I was on DJ Yooter and Diz One mixtapes, most of them. A couple of DJ Furious's mixtapes, DJ Camilo...

On some close calls that didn’t pan out...
I was supposed to have something with Universal. We had a couple of meetings. Actually, I was selling beats at one point and I was getting heavy into production. But it never really popped off. This MC thing popped off more than this production thing. I just figured let me put my focus into this MC thing and here I am.

On the creation and success of "En Why Cee”…
I was f**king with this guy named Vic Medina back and forth—he has a song with Young Buck now, he did the hook—and he's Roc-a-Fella. He was always sending me beats from himself and other people. He was placing beats and was emailing me beats back and forth. I was doing hooks on tracks, I was working with Aztek—he was working with Roc La Familia—doing hooks for them. They had sent me that beat, I kinda slept on it, but there was something interesting to it, so I wrote to it and I thought, “Wow, you know who would sound dope on this, Joell Ortiz.” I knew Joell Ortiz. We were talking about doing a track for such a long time. When I ran into that beat I just felt him on it, so I hit him up, gave him the track and he spit a 16 on it and then I took the 16 and I broke it up and I spit in between every four bars so it sounded like we were going back and forth. I gave it to him he approved it, he was like "Yo, it sounds dope, let's go.” Then I put Uncle Murda on it because he was poppin' at the time, he had that “Bullet Bullet” joint.

I gave it to DJ Camilo and he rocked it and as soon as he rocked it Funkmaster Flex called Camilo and was like, "Yo, I need that record." So Camilo was already at the radio station and put the CD in Flex's mailbox. The next day I saw Flex at a party, I gave him a CD he told me he was feeling the joint. I thought he was being political, but the next day I heard him throwin' a thousand bombs on it and I was like, “Oh sh**t!” That's how that popped off and you know how it is with the DJs man, you get one main DJ to rock with it crazy and believe in that record and the other DJs; it's not hard for them to believe in it either.

[En Why Cee Video]

O how he got Fat Joe, Swizz Beatz and Busta Rhymes on its remix…
Well the first one got rotation on HOT 97 and it got rotation on SIRIUS satellite. With the success of that record, I had asked about Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, and Swizz Beatz and all that. They agreed to get on the record because I guess the success of the first one and Camilo; they love Camilo so all he had to do was ask and they were on board with it.

Me and [Camilo] have a LLC, Strictly Live Incorporated. If something comes along our way that's better we'll take it, but as for right now that's what we're dealing with. We own it and we're trying to get distribution for it. And if we do, I'm gonna drop my album and he's gonna drop his album. It's going to be a compilation and I'm going to executive produce it. We're going to try and do the digital thing too because you know what it is.

[Juganot f/ Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe & Reek Da Villain "En Why Ceequal"]

On record labels seeing what's up…
Universal, Shady Aftermath, ummm...Asylum, and that's it for right now. We had a couple of meetings with them. If we took it this far we can take this further independently because right now it's not a good time for the industry. I mean, s**t is f**ked up. Do I really want to get caught up in that grinder at this moment in time? I don't know, I want to hold on a little bit until I obligate myself to something, you know?

The [record industry] needs to move into the future and take off with the digital s**t because digital is the way to go. I mean music will never die, man. Just the industry has to catch up with the digital market.

Hip-Hop in general, needs originality. Everybody's doing the same s**t man. They need more people. More Kanye's, more Mos Def's, more Talib's, more Joell Ortiz's, more Juganots.

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