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"Added Up Interview"

Foundation Magazine Blog
Check out JFK and 215th

Excerpts from an interview I conducted with JFK. Check out his music here.

R: How did you get into music? What was your introduction to rapping?

JFK: My brother and his friends were rapping, they were free styling, and they were like: Why don't you come free, why don't you say something? I'm like, well, that's not my twist, man, I don't rap,? so I didn't wanna open my mouth, I was nervous of course. So then I open my mouth and just jumped on the song. We were actually rappin' over other people's songs, this wasn't even instrumentals. It was the Cash Money, it was on the Biggie Born Again album, it was the Cash Money track that he had, I think it was like track three or something. I'm not sure what number it was, but it was overtop of that. I was sayin somethin about spinnin like a tire, and somethin crazy, but as I opened my mouth, I couldn't stop. I couldn't close it even if I wanted to. It was like a crazy feeling that came overtop of me. I seen letters and all this type of stuff, I didn't know if it was the weed or it was the fact that it was just something different that happened. Sooner or later I realized that it wasn't the weed because that stuff happened to me all the time.

R: Where you from?

JFK: I'm from all over Philly. We're originally from 17th and Ingersoll as far as North Philly. I moved to Germantown and I stayed in Brickyard most of the time. Out West Philly, I lived out there. I lived out there, everywhere except South Philly. It was always a rule, if you lived in North Philly...

R:...you didn't go to South Philly.

JFK: That was just the rules. A lot of people breaking that rule now, but I lost a cousin down there. You just don't do it, thats what my father always told me.

R: Who influenced you? Who did you listen to?

JFK: My biggest influence in rap? I would say Jay-Z. That's my biggest influence in rap. Then I would go with Big, and Pac...any great MC. I would go with God, because that's the only way I'm able to do this. I gotta know that for a fact. Its a God-given gift. I'm a construction worker, I work, I do other things besides rap. I never wanted to be a rapper, but now it's kind of forcing my hand.

R: What is that like, to know that you can do something, and that you need to do it?

JFK: I don't know. Its kind of scary. I don't know if I would say I had a glimpse at my purpose, but just to have something like that set in front of you. To have that big stage set in front of you, like this is my job. Kind of like, how do you deal with the pressure of knowing that you're going to the cross? How do you deal with that? You really can't deal with that. Its scary, its exciting...its like a whole bunch of emotions in one.

R: You have a buzz out here in Philly?

JFK: I don't have any buzz. I did my first show last Tuesday. I was doing an interview for Comcast In Demand. It was at this club at 4th and South (Fluid)...I was at Club Fluid and I did an acapella.

R: So now you're serious, you're doing music, you're in the studio...whats in the future for you? How do you wanna move with what you're doing?

JFK: I wanna take over the world.

R: Whats the first step?

JFK: The world. <laughs>

R: I feel you.

JFK: I'm serious. The first step, if I could make that big of a step, I would. But I guess the first step would be Philadelphia. I need to establish my name where I was born. I wanna put the city on my back and make a name. If New York can have it and Hollywood can have it, then Philadelphia can have it as well.

R: No doubt. Are you feeling anyone else out of Philly?

JFK: I don't even want to answer, but I'm going to anyway. Out of Philly, I don't feel nobody man. I'm not a hater, I give everyone their props and respect. I like hearing rappers, I like hearing when they rap, but as far as would I buy their album?

R: Yeah...

JFK: I don't like Philadelphia's rap style. I think that the music is too violent...not that there is anything wrong with violence, but they got it misconstrued as far as what a thug is and what a gangsta is. Its two totally different things. A thug is an ignorant, obnoxious person. A gangsta goes to work every day but sells his coke at three o'clock in the morning when nobody's around. There's a big difference. A lot of these younger guys, they get into the rap game, not even the street game and they think they can talk about the cars, the jewels, the things they never did. They've never been there because they didn't live. In order to talk about it, in order to have any type of story, people don't respect a bunch of garbage. Everybody wants to hear about how you made it, where you come from, why you rhyme the way you do, and if you can express that in your music, you can do something. But you can only do that by living. But these guys that haven't really lived, they don't have a story to tell.

- Foundation Magazine


The Rebirth- 2007



With a style that springs from a deep well of lyrics, JFK is a fresh voice for Philadelphia rap. He's got a knack for bringing concepts into the booth that pull the listener in and keeps them interested.
Getting his start in street ciphers of North Philadelphia and a now a member of the 2.1.fifth team, he uses his music as a way to express his emotions and thoughts in a style that has been influenced by the greatest MC's. He learned his skills by honing his freestyle abilities; most hip-hop fans will agree that a true MC is one who can go off the top of the head, and JFK carries this ability for spontaneous expression into his studio work.

Having never written a lyric down, he crafts songs in a unique manner, adding and subtracting bits and pieces until the end product emerges fully formed. The goal is to paint a mental picture, to take the listener on a journey and JFK's preferred method of travel just so happens to be lyrical. From the beginning, he has had the ability to visualize the words as they travel through the space around him: "I can see the Words, and then I just know how to grab them and put them out there." He's currently in the studio working on an album, and being involved in this process has already produced impressive results. This is a voice the world needs to hear.