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[rock the dub Interview]: Joulz Il

This is one interview that has been months in the making. It's here now, and you guys should definitely get familiar with Dallas, Texas' own Joulz Il (formerly known as Joulz Il Duce). Back when I was writing for The Flow, I did an interview an outfit by the name of 5 Starr Entertainment. They rep Texas hard, but are hitting the game on all angles: production, R&B, Hip-Hop, and their crew is talented. At the time of this interview, Entity and Charles hit me with info on their new affiliate, Joulz Il Duce. He has a big personality: a man who is both jovial and dead ass serious at the same time. You can hear his talent in his voice, and feel what he is saying in his rhymes. He spits from the heart, but uses his head. And he is coming for that Number One Spot. He is currently working with 5 Starr to get signed by SOMEONE, so consider this a warning/greeting/promise: either sign Joulz Il or live to regret it.

khal: When I first heard of 5 Starr Entertainment afew years back, you were JOULZ IL DUCE, their latest signing, just starting to get your shine on. Now, I believe the situation has flipped a lil’ bit –from 5 Starr being the label to them sort of managing you it seems? Can you explain your status currently?

Joulz Il: The situation has flipped slightly, but not that much. After a lot of deep rooted re-vamping, the best situation was deemed that instead of going at the game from a label standpoint, it would be better to go at it from the standpoint of each individual entity going about getting the attention of the public. Five Starr is STILL the faculty and that will always be, but right now, the focus is getting out there. Everyone wants to be the next great "indie" breakout, but to do that, takes serious bread and what better way to get that bread than to get yourself linked up with a major and then make major moves. I'm still the same dude, just dropped the "DUCE" off of the name. It was kindo f hard for people to say and its kind of an evolution of sorts. From the last time that we talked until now, A LOT of drama has happened and it signifies a growth. I've been Joulz Il Duce since maybe, 15, so it was time for a renewal. Besides, with a name like Joulz Il (Jewel's ill=Jewel is ill.), you've got to be pretty sick with the flow. LOL!

khal: Seeing as though you are trying to get signed, what would be your ideal label situation and why? Do you think you could function to your fullest capacity on a label like Def Jam?

Joulz Il: The ideal label situation probably DOESN'T exist, IRONICALLY. I would love to maintain the better portion of my creative control, but still be under the advisory of a seasoned veteran as far as new artists are concerned. The main reason is you can never stop learning and even though I've been doing music for a while, there is an edge that someone who has already established themselves in the music business HAS over me and I would like to be in their tutelage. Of course, a good sized signing bonus up front wouldn't hurt the kid, at all. LOL! Honestly, I feel that as an artist, Is hould get something more out of the deal also. Financial stability up front is a major issue. It just seems like some labels have gotten away from really doing that. Def Jam? Honestly, if they could PAY ATTENTION to my project and put the proper push behind it to garner the right attention, then yes, I do feel like they would be adequate. Would I like to go to Def Jam? Well, yes, I'd become a part of a company that is iconic in Hip-Hop if I aligned myself with them and you can't be mad at that. However, this is business. I have to go to what's beneficial for ME and those affected by me.

khal: Speaking of Def Jam, your mixtape, Sign Joulz Il Vol. 1, jacks a few of his cuts (“Song Cry”,“Lost One”). What are your thoughts on him and MCs of his ilk: the guys who see themselves as more of an entity” or a “business” than a straight up spitter?

Joulz Il: As far as my thoughts on that whole ilk of emcees: good for them. It has become commonplace now for everyone to have a clothing line, to have a beverage, to have a particular thing outside of being an emcee and that's great. Marketability is what it is. I honestly hope that my marketability gets to that point one day, but only time will tell. Right now, I'm just focusing on establishing myself as an artist that needs to be paid attention to and put as a brand name in that circle of emcees. As far as the songs from the mixtape, I just did what sounded good. Songs were presented to me and the ones that made the mixtape were the ones that were honestly a good mesh. It just so happened that "Song Cry" and "Lost Ones" made it. However, "Show Me What You Got" did NOT. LOL!

khal: I saw a clip of you busting a three minute freestyle– a true freestyle, by the way, straight off the doink. You made some comments about cats more concerned about making up dances than trying to really say something on their tracks. If you could change, say, 5 things about the current state of Hip-Hop, what would you change and why?

Joulz Il: Five things that I would change: One.The lack of diversity in commercial radio.*Is it just me or does EVERY SONG on the radio prettymuch sound the same now? Two. The lack of creativity.*We all go to the club, but I'm sure thats not the only thing that happens in life and I'd like to hear more about what someone goes through. Three. The stagnation of the scene.*It almost feels like 2001 hit and we just stopped growing. There are a slew of great artists who never see the light of day because they refuse to conform to the formula. I'd like to see more of those artists. Four. LET TUPAC DIE!!!!!!!!!! *I don't want to hear ONE MORE TUPAC album. How in the world can someone who died just about 10 good years ago STILL be putting out records? Let him rest in peace or cremation or in Cuba or wherever he is. STOP! Five. I would let the trappers trap and the rappers rap.*Kind of self explanatory, but why not? Much like your review of the Young Jeezy album, I feel the same way. How many dope dealers are going to try to wash the drug money with a rap career? The Feds are catching on now, maybe it's time to open up a laundromat or a McDonald's or something, but please stop RHYMING!!!! If I see one more "Young Soso and Lil ThisandThat" who swears to The Almighty that he is the greatest rapper of all time and then opens his mouth and sounds like a bad version of a "grammatically challenged" 4 year old, I am going to start personally "murking" all of them. And with that said, moving on the next question.

khal: Most people might want to know what inspires you to write, but I think you’re way past that: what is it that keeps your HUNGER so strong?

Joulz Il: My HUNGER remains strong due to the fact that I LOVE MUSIC! I love new material! I love to record! I love to rhyme! I love to write! I'm a writer by trade and I've always been into literature of all kinds. Being someone who naturally grew up loving attention, Hip-Hop was just another way of expression. I like to challenge myself to see what I can come up with. Sometimes, it's the subtle shock value of things and other times, it's just to try to approach things in a manner that may not have been done already. That HUNGER remains, period. I could do this and never be famous and honestly, I don't think I would care because I would still do it for the LOVE. I can say that because I haven't made it and I still do it NOW! LOL!

khal: To back track a bit, what was your evolution: how long have you been writing, and how did that transition into you grabbing the mic? Have you ever dabbled in any other facets of music making (production, singing, etc.)?

Joulz Il: I have been writing since the age of 8. I know that seems surprising, but my mother always placed in me a need to study and learn new things. Writing was always an expression of my innermost thoughts. At first, it was simply short stories and poetry, but as I began to share my poetry with others, they started noticing the cadence of my delivery. One of these people was my older brother, Chris, who finally coaxed me into doing a rap with him and my cousin and it stuck. I fell in love right then with Hip-Hop and I never broke up with it. I've always dabbled in just about any other facet of music that I could get my hands on. I'm a producer, a songwriter, and I'll sing, but mainly on hooks or to show an artist how to approach the song that I've written for them. I sound funny, as I dont have the stereotypical R&B voice, however, I'm seriously thinking about doing Rock and Roll every now and then, but that's another interview. LOL!

khal: You’re in an awkward spot, you realize this right? I mean, you are reppin’ Texas, but aside from a few Texas MCs like Bun B, Trae and a few others, the majority of the state is not seen to be really lyrical with their darts, but you flip that script and wear your lyricism on your sleeve. Have you ever felt like you need to either dumb down your rhymes or switch things up just to get more shine?

Joulz Il: Lyrical? Me? You know I've been hearing that from quite a few people who have downloaded the mixtape and honestly, I still don't see it. I've always had a vast vocabulary. My mother is a devout Christian and at that point was an English fanatic, so no slang or curse words were allowed in her household. I learned pretty quickly to express myself in a very dynamic way at an early age, so if it's on my sleeve, it's only because it's really WHO I AM. At times, I have honestly felt like I was distancing myself from the core audience of commercial listeners in music because of my choice of words or my style of expression, but with artists like Nas, Andre 3000, Eminem, Busta Rhymes (not Big Bang, but old school L.O.N.S./Flip Mode Squad/"Dungeon Dragon!" BUSTA Rhymes), LL Cool J, KRS-One, Rakim, Scarface, Pun, Biggie, you get the idea....I've learned that it really doesn't matter. You NEED lyrical content. It's what seperates NOISE from REAL MUSIC. I don't think I'm in an awkward spot at all, if anything, I'm in the perfect spot. If people catch wind of said lyricism, then that should at least put me on the list with the people who you named from Texas and hopefully one day, equate me with them.

khal: In listening to your first Sign Joulz mixtape, I notice you rock over a few beats, ranging from Busta to Justin Timberlake’s “My Love”. If you could only choose one acclaimed producer to lace you with a heat rock for your album, who would it be?

Joulz Il: TIMBALAND!!!! NEXT QUESTION!!!! LOL!!! I'm a beatminer! I absolutely love great music! I love quirky drum patterns, orchaestral instrumentation, weird samples of everyday noise, crickets, babies, alligators snarling, motorcycles revving, little kids singing in the background....and pretty much anything that can be added to a beat. Honestly, Tim's got it. I have always had a fixation with Tim's beats since One In A Million/The Bachelor and he has gotten sufficiently more and more out of hand since then. Seriously, this is a biased question: What about DJ Premier, Jermaine Dupri, Alchemist, Dr. Dre, 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, Kanye West (every once in a while), ?uestlove? This is crap, you can't tell me to pick just one. There's so many, Play-N-Skillz, Cool & Dre, Chad & Pharrell......man, I can't call it. I know if Ihad the budget, I would probably lose my mind.

khal: Speaking of your album, I know you have to be in the lab working on some hot hot heat right now. Can you leak any finalized details on a solo album from yourself? Anything we should be looking out for interms of concepts, guests, etc.?

Joulz Il: NO LEAKS!!! LOL! What I can tell you is that there is another volume of the Sign Joulz Il series on its way for the second quarter. I'm definitely trying to drop a mixtape every quarter, so pay attention to that. Nothing has really been finalized as far as the"Joulz Il" solo joint. Honestly, I'm playing it by ear, when the time comes for it to happen, it will definitely happen. Right now, Im focusing on getting The Alliance album underway. Doing some of the production, making sure that we get the right singles and just focusing completely on making that a success. Conceptually, the next "Joulz Il" solo album is going to be a well-rounded representation of where I am musically and hopefully, it will be on a major.

khal: What’s the story behind Love, Sensitivity, Anger,Arrogance & Everything In Between? What do you consider that – a debut album, a collection oftracks, a mixtape or what? Why should people go check that CD out?

Joulz Il: You know honestly, I WOULD call it a DEBUT ALBUM. The funny thing is we all just kind of set to record it to see if it could be done and it got done and there you have it. The name itself is something that I came up with right after I finished recording my REAL first album A Boy Named Julian: The Works of Joulz Il Duce Volume 1 (more info on Joulz' SoundClick page). I wanted to take myself in a completely different direction and I had been listening to an extreme amount of Songs About Jane by Maroon 5 and decided I wanted to do something like that. The "Love" album was that foray into an area that a lot of rappers don't explore for a complete CD. It's something that is definitely different in terms of raw human emotion and if nothing else, it's something people should at least listen to 10 times with an open mind. It'll catch you by that 2nd time and then you'll be hooked.

khal: Now I know you are knocking out solo material hard, but you also are in a crew with DENT and Big John called “The Alliance”. What are you guys about? Is there a certain concept behind that group or are you just having fun and vibing with them? What’s the future hold for The Alliance?

Joulz Il: The Alliance is pretty much the 2007 Geto Boys. LOL! Just kidding. We've always done songs together and there has ALWAYS been a push for us to actually be a group. The new year rolled around and we all finally made a definitive stance to be a group and shut up about it. What are we about? Hard to define it. Honestly, anything that's moving forward, anything that is great for the music that we are doing and above all and anything else......SOUTH DALLAS!!!! I normally don't keep a local mentality about things, but the area where we all hail from is an area that could really use some national attention. It's where we all grew up and it holds a special place with each of us for different reasons. This is the part of the city that made us, these are the streets that raised us, and these are the blocks that produced the need for The Alliance. There hasn't been a lyrical effort from a lot of the emcees from Dallas, period. This group is a totally different spectrum. I'm so excited to be in a group with people who take a sincere effort at crafting REAL songs and not just a "we're a group and none of us mesh, but we're still a group mentality". Each person in The Alliance brings something completely different to the table. The future doesn't look bleak, I can tell you that. We are working right now to get The Alliance album out by April. However, right now, there isn't a name that I can't give you. We're still fielding different ideas, but I guarantee you, rock the dub will be the first to know.

khal: OK so we’ve gotten to know you, we know about your old album and the latest mixtape. What does the rest of 2007 hold for Joulz Il? When can we expect a new mixtape, new tracks, album, and tour?

Joulz Il: 2007 for me is pretty much an upgraded version ofeverything thats already been going on. Sign Joulz Il: Volume 2 should be available by the end of March/beginning of April. Totally free and downloadable at: www.myspace.com/signjoulzil. New tracks are being recorded as we speak and there will definitely be more INTERNET EXCLUSIVE music like "The Urge" and "Attention" available at my MySpace page and 5 Starr Entertainment's Music section. The album itself is still a toss up, when the demand for it presents itself, you WILL see it. As far as touring, there are shows that are going on right now locally, but if there is a promoter NATIONALLY thats reading this, get at me: joulzil@yahoo.com. For all show dates, you can check out the 5 Starr Entertainment website for more info. I'm trying to garner as much attention as possible in 2007. I refuse to play a background position when music is one of the EASIEST things for me to do. I'm just looking for more press, more shows, more fans, honestly, MORE, period.

khal: When all of this is over, what would you wish to have accomplished with your gifts?

Joulz Il: I want to be able to look back on my career and say that I helped someone. I look at being an emcee as a catapult to other endeavors. I want to be able to putthe microphone down and help out my neighborhood andother impoverished neighborhoods. Forget building a new recreation center, South Dallas needs a hospital, needs new housing, needs more economy. I want to be able to be a part of the economic resurgence of the place where I'm from as well as be beneficial on a national front. I know it sounds weird for someone who wears baggy jeans and Timbs to care about the economy of an area, but I want to give back. I want to be able to say that I am financially stable and that I made my living off of my orating skills. I want to tell my children that I made my living off of expressing what was on my mind to large amounts of people. I'd like to go visit schools and be a positive influence on a lot of young black brothers who honestly don't believe that there is anything else for them except for RAP, DRUGS, or SPORTS. I'd like to deter them from that thought. I'm a rapper because I CHOSE to be one, not because I lacked the intelligence to do something else and a lot of young brothers need to hear that now. I want to KNOW that I made a difference when it's all said and done, the DJ stops spinning, the crowd stops screaming, the lights go off and the microphones are packed away.

khal: Do you have any shout outs or last words that you’d like to hit the people with?

Joulz Il: I never know what to say when people ask me that question. You can never remember everybody's name that you need to and you end up forgetting people and then they call you and curse you out and say that you're unappreciative. So, no, I dont have any individual shout outs. To all the people who have ever listened to ANY of my music, THANK YOU. To anyone who has ever come to ANY of my shows, THANK YOU. To anyone that I have ever worked with up until this point, THANK YOU. To all the press who ever took the time to even remotely pay attention to me, THANK YOU. It's always cool to be interviewed and be able to speak your mind, so khal, shout out to you for even giving me the chance to grace rock the dub. Good looking out. I look forward to doing more in the coming years.

rock the dub would like to thank Joulz Il, Entity and the entire 5 Starr family for keeping it right in the scene. On Saturday (Feb. 10th,2 007), Joulz Il will be performing LIVE at the Jinx Bar & Grill in Dallas, TX, at their "Second Saturdays" night. DFWhiphop.com members get in free as long as they've been members since Jan 17th of 2007. Check out this flier for more info. If you are in the area, go support Joulz & 5 Starr!

related links:
Joulz Il Duce MySpace Page
'Sign Joulz Il' MySpace Page
'When I Get On...' (Joulz' blog)
Jan. 2007 Interview with Joulz Il at Pegasus News
5 Starr Entertainment website
5 Starr Entertainment on MySpace
Joulz Il on SoundClick
Joulz Il on CDBaby

Finally, here is the video I spoke about earlier, with Joulz freestylin' in the closet @ J. Rhodes. FIRE!:



Anonymous said...

Joulz IL? SICK! I look forward to seein this cat

Anonymous said...

What do you think of these poems?

khal said...

what do I think of those poems? I think you could find a better way to advertise them...