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"Jace is hot... straight up. I'd put him up there with Kanye West, except... Jace writes his own music & has a prettier face!" - (Fingerprint Records)

"Rock The Dub (Interview)"

If you don't keep your ear to the ground, you're going to end up missing something. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Jacewon through a mutual homey (whattup SBK). I first heard a plethora of older, "mixtape"-esque cuts of his, which he seemed to love but wasn't as jazzed about as his new opus and debut album, Evolution. He's not just an emcee: his roots are drenched in Classic Rock, Blues and other genres that help create someone who is more of a songwriter than a regular rapper. With stories for days, and a passion for keeping it true to self, Jacewon is an artist that you should be sure to look out for. I got to sit down with him and build, getting his thoughts and feeling on Hip-Hop old and new, and more importantly, about where he fits into this scene...

khal: What’s going on, Jacewon? You’ve just recently released your debut solo CD, Evolution. How does it feel to finally have this project out there?

Jacewon: Feels great, man. A long time coming!

khal: How long had you been working on this album?

Jacewon: A while, lol… late 2005.

khal: Is there an underlying theme to this CD? Were you going into the booth with a goal, in terms of lyrics and sounds, and if so, can you break it down for the people?

Jacewon: At first there was no theme. I was looking to build a simple EP. You know, get my feet wet. It just turned out that the producer & I clicked, and it turned into a full length. A theme started to develop after the 5th track was written; I was going through some rough times throughout the start of the album, and even more so towards the end of it. My girlfriend/best friend of sometime was diagnosed with cancer, and it hit me hard. We were literally a month away from finishing the album when she passed away, and I made the decision to walk away from the project. It was a tough decision, but I was so cloudy mentally, there was no way I could push forth with the stress of a record release & all that comes with it. About 3 months later, I sat down with the label & talked about the situation, and soon after built up the focus to continue where we left off. The album's name, Evolution, was taken from the growth I experienced through the albums development. I was a total different person from who I was at the start. Ironically enough, the sound within the album has evolved… both lyrically & musically. I mean, you put it up against any album out right now, and it’s hard to categorize it.

khal: Backing it up a bit, you’re reppin’ Southern California. How long have you been in that area, and do you think that area specifically brings a different vibe to your music? Basically, would Jacewon be Jacewon if he was living in Montana or Serbia?

Jacewon: Yeah, O.C. California hahaha. It’s funny how a TV show branded the initials. You should see the looks I get when people find out an emcee resides in South “O.C.”, it’s hilarious. I’m originally from Harvey, Illinois, and moved to Orange County back in the late 80’s. That’s a good question. You’re always critiqued and judged by your sound within Hip-Hop music, and then quickly categorized. Considering most of my musical influences came from Classic Rock & Roll, Folk & early 90’s Hip-Hop, I’d like to think I would sound the same no matter where I reside. I’ve never been one to jump the bandwagon, or follow trends… and I believe that’s starting to affect music nowadays; too many bands/artists sounding like the next one. Remember the terms “Fresh”, and “Biter”? I think we need to resurface ’em… what do you think?

khal: I concur; how long has it been since you wrote your first rhyme? How often do you write rhymes now? Do you play any instruments?

Jacewon: I wrote my first “real” rhyme back in 1990, to EPMD’s Strictly Business. I think I still have it in a box somewhere, haha. When I get down & write a song, it’s a serious process. I’ve never been a fan of brag-rap, and I’ve never been one to just rattle off “a quick 16” for the sake of building a song. I know I’m considered a rapper/emcee, but I’d like to be respected as a songwriter, ultimately. You gotta remember, I was raised by a folk musician, and I was constantly around music the likes of Bob Dylan, Donovan, The Rolling Stones & so on. If I ever just wrote a rhyme for the sake of writing a rhyme, I’d be playin’ myself… ya’know? I’ve dabbled with the guitar & drums, and I’ve even done my share of “beats” in the past. But every minute I spend playing an instrument, or choppin’ a sample, I could be getting better at writing. Feel me?

khal: You’ve said in the past that you aren’t just writing raps or trying to impress people with your flows, but are really about crafting great songs and being a musician. Can you explain this further, and do you feel this CD has shown that side of Jacewon?

Jacewon: You’re right. I honestly feel that my style & routine is a dying breed. Technology has allowed ANYBODY to become a musician, producer & so on. Growin’ up, we had this term “Paying Dues”… and not many are doing that anymore. Even the so called Vets in the music industry are gettin’ MAD lazy. Yes, I honestly feel that Evolution shows that side of me. I tried my best to show what true influence can do when applied right. There are hints of Classic Rock & Jazz arrangements within the production, as well as Blues, Folk & Hip-Hop songwriting throughout the entire record. The record truly stands alone.

khal: Building on that last question, it seems like what you’re doing is the antithesis of what’s going on in the mainstream Hip-Hop scene – most cats are driven to make money, to the point where its more style over substance. Do you think there’s a place for a guy like you in today’s mainstream scene, and if not, could there ever be?

Jacewon: I asked myself this question at the start of the project and the truth is, I’m not worried. I know my music isn’t appealing to the mainstream crowd, and in all honesty, I don’t want those listeners. If I had a choice, I’d surround myself with people that feel the same as I do. Am I worried about not making ends meet, doing what I love to do? Of course not… anything can be marketed & become profitable if executed correctly.

khal: The underground Hip-Hop scene of 2007 is no where near as raw as it was a decade ago: in 1997, it seemed like everyone was either signed to Rawkus or had some heat on the come up. Now, Def Jux is like a king on the mountain, and aside from Stones Throw, not too many indie Hip-Hop labels get a lot of play. Where do you see independent Hip-Hop going in the next 10 years?

Jacewon: Shoot, man... Hip-Hop was underground the entire early 90’s, hahah. The corps came along, found out they could make a killing off of it, and raped it. But yeah, I agree. And the “underground” itself has become an abused term. I’m a fan of Rhyme Sayers Entertainment myself, but you’re right… not many of the indie acts get play. Money is the key, and most of us indie heads try and spend the money wisely. In order to get play, you gotta compete with the majors, and that we both know is impossible. I see the indie Hip-Hop scene doing what it’s been doing for the past 20 years… grindin’ it out, making ends meet & doing what they love to do without having to sell their souls.

khal: You’ve listed a range of artists who have influenced you, including Nas, Bob Dylan, Pharoahe Monch and Donovan (among others). If you could perform in a supergroup with any 4 artists, living or dead, who would you choose… and why?

Jacewon: Haha, ah man... I’d say my father, Led Zep as the band, Donovan & Pharoahe rockin’ the mic with me. Why? Led Zep was the greatest band to ever rock a stage, in my opinion. Donovan is one of the greatest songwriters to bless the page, and Pharoahe’s flow is about as sick as it gets. My pops would kill me if I had Donovan live, and he wasn’t a part of it, haha.

khal: MTV had its own list of who they consider to be the top 10 hot MCs out right now; I was wondering: who do YOU consider to be the 10 hottest MCs right now?

Jacewon: Shoot, I couldn’t name 10 hot ones right now, haha. If I had to name a few, it’d have to be Blu, Brother Ali, Dezmatic… and I dig Giant Panda.

khal: Now that the LP is out, what’s next on your plate: are you going on tour, do you have any other projects you are working on, going insane?

Jacewon: Going insane, for sure. Haha, nah man… I’m lovin’ life right now. I have a wonderful woman in my life, my family’s well, and I’m looking forward to working with new faces; Cats like Choice37, Freddie Joachim & The Rhythm Natives to name a few. The label is working on a college tour, sometime after school starts. All the updates & info can be found at RethinkYourMusic.com.

khal: Do you have any final thoughts/shout outs/etc. for the people?

Jacewon: Rethink your music. You deserve better than that. Thanks again, khal… ROCK THE DUB!!!! - Khal / Dub Radio, PA

"Freddie Joachim"

"The kid's nice! Far from your average rapper/mc - He brings the lyrics to the forefront." - (Organology)

"Inka One"

"Poignant lyrics + silky smooth delivery + keen ear for beats + unmistakable presence = JACEWON... definitely one to check for in 2009!" - (The Procussions/Soul.Scienz)


Evolution (Otherbeats Records 2007)
The Loose-Leaf EP (Satsuma Records 2008)
The Confessions of a Sensitive Pimp (Satsuma Records 2009)



A proud Chicagoan raised in Orange County, CA, Jace has built a strong following with his progressive style of Hip-Hop music, which is often compared to the likes of fellow Hip-Hop artists Common and Slug. Writing and performing Hip-Hop music since the mid 90's, Jace has had the opportunity to work and perform along side of artists such as Mos Def, Method Man, De La Soul, KRS-One, The Game, Surreal and many others. His most current release is a Mixtape/Street Tape entitled “The Confessions of a Sensitive Pimp”, which consists of popular Hip-Hop instrumentals that he “flips” with original content inspired by the dating scene in Orange & Los Angeles counties. Jace is currently working on a full length album with Los Angeles based music producer Dert, which is planned to drop late 2009.