Monday, July 5, 2010

Interview with Rapper J.Aire

Keith Nelson, Jr. also known as Justin Aire, ‘J.Aire’ for short has caught my ear.  This artist began with a mic and a mouth full of poetry flowing through it - this is where Keith got his stage name. In 2001, he was dealt the card of hip-hop and ran with it.  After listening to his mixtape and interviewing him there is no doubt that J.Aire reminds me of a black Eminem with a Lupe sound.  After releasing his first mixtape, “PenMe”, on National Smoke Day, 4/20 of this year I was able to catch up with J. Aire who is now working on his second album “Aire is Everywhere.” As an artist to watch he markets himself with “Aire is everywhere. I want to be everywhere…like Aire.”

So Keith tell me, why did you stay with the poet name J. Aire and where did it come from?
The name came from me trying to think of a poet name for myself and it was just a nice play on words.  I stayed with my poet name J. Aire because I began to realize that my old rap name, Karnage, no longer reflected the type of music I was making. J. Aire sounds more light, intellectual.  The name is also more marketable and doesn’t leave bad connotations from it.
What made you go towards the musical route?
Honestly, my friend Craze is the initial reason I began to pursue music because he and I have a great vision for what we wanted to do in the game. As time grew on I realized that I'm really good. Like REALLY REALLY good and that’s not on some cocky shit. It's simply that these rhymes just kept coming to me but then it stopped just being rhymes and evolved into whole songs…then that turned into album concepts…then turned into marketing schemes and before I knew it, I was starting PenMe and performing.

Tell me about your latest and first mixtape, PenMe.  It was dope; favorite song off the album was “And So The Green Light Fades”.
Well the mixtape has three meanings.  It’s a combination of the personal introduction of who I am, the influence other artists had on me, and then there’s ‘him’ J. Aire himself. The ‘P’ and the ‘M’ are both capitalized for a reason.  ‘Pen’ is the lyrical aspect and ‘Me’ is the personal…and as a complete song, “Plainly Me” has to be my favourite.
What’s the mixtape going to be called? Where do you want to go with it?
The next mixtape is going to be called “Aire is Everywhere” I want to be able to cover the whole world and write about everything people can relate to.
So having just graduated, you’re a SyracuseUniversity Alum now,  what does this mean for your music?
It honestly just took a weight off my shoulders; I wrote half of what I think will be the best verse ever.
So who’s your biggest supporter through all of this?
I would have to say my ex girlfriend, Tiffany…she’s been there through it all.
What has been your biggest challenge as a rapper?
My biggest challenge would have to be getting music out there to the people the right way because now you have blogs, internet and the radio…you’ve got to be on it.
What advice would you give for any upcoming artist right now?
There's so much advice but the main one is find your own identity. Rapping over an entire mixtape of other people's beats will not help you establish your own identity. Find out what you're rapping for and try to be original at it. If you want to be a gangster rapper and that is actually your life then go ahead but just know that you can’t fake the truth.
You can find J. Aire and download his music at
Always Yours,
Butta Love