Most producers stick to one lane. There are those who dedicate themselves solely to producing tracks for Hip Hop artists and those who invest their creativity in instrumental music. Jansport J is one of the few artists who manages to walk both paths simultaneously: amassing an impressive discography of instrumental beat tapes, as well as placing beats with the likes of Nas, Benny The Butcher, Snoop Dogg, The Game and Stalley to name a few.
We caught up with Jansport to discuss his creative approach, his proudest achievements, and what makes him tick as an artist.
You’re one of the few producers who effortlessly traverses mainstream credits with the likes of Nas, and underground collaborations with the likes of Budamunk. Is it an intentional choice to do both?
It’s just me doing me honestly. Being around as long as I have, I’ve been fortunate to form a lot of relationships with people who operate on various levels of the music industry. The relationships that led to the Nas & Benny The Butcher credits are just as authentic as the ones that led to records with Budamunk. The most important thing is to make sure whatever level I’m operating on that I can fully be myself as a creative and contribute.
There seems to be a divide nowadays between producers chasing Spotify playlists and those more focused on building connections with their fans. What’s your approach?
I’ve never been one to chase the playlists. There’s a lot of politics involved and I really don’t have the temperament for it. Bodies of work are what’s important to me. With all due respect to Rap Caviar, I don’t feel like a fan in the future will say the December 2022 Rap Caviar Playlist changed my life. There’s a better chance of that with albums, and that’s what I’m after.
Is there a particular career highlight so far that stands out to you?
Being able to be around the entirety of the Nas King’s Disease series is what jumps out to me. It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime. We’re not emailing beats to the greatest. We’re in the studio having real connections, conversations, and building from scratch. To be able to hear 4 Nas albums with the man himself before the world does is an achievement that I don’t think too many people on this planet have experienced. I’m grateful to contribute and proud to be apart of the process.jects produced by Jansport J. God willing.
You’re an artist who has moved through the late 00’s right up to the present, navigating shifting sands of platforms, algorithms and what not. What do you feel has been the key to your success?
Just being authentic honestly. In that blog era you had to go outside and connect. The internet was a tool for sure, but you still had to pull up to The Spliff, to Bananas, The Common Ground, all of these independent showcases and really earn some stripes. That foundation is what built alot of my peers and it’s pretty tough to tear anything down that has a strong foundation. We’ve been able to adapt consistently to make sure our art continues to sit in front of the masses.
How do you think your sound have evolved since the early days? And how do you make sure it all still sounds and feels like you?
The biggest evolution has been learning how to shape my sound within the co-production space. I’m a solitary dude, I like relying on myself and getting things done. Sometimes for the art to reach the highest level, collaboration is needed. I’ve been able to remain patient and connect with fellow producers where the sound still feels organic and complimentary to what I do. Working with guys like Hit-Boy, Mike Wuff, BudaMunk etc has allowed me to do that.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
The concept of creative real estate. Don’t be so precious with the art. Put it out there. Leave a world of music out there to where your fans have the opportunity to become die hards. A catalog of great music is more important to me than chasing the next Illmatic. Also understanding that the creativity/inspiration will consistently be with you if you remain authentic…so just drop the shit and move on to the next great idea.
Your mantra is “All Attraction, No Chasin’”….can you tell me a little about that as a personal approach?
It’s my mission statement in life and bleeds over into my career as well. It’s about manifesting and remaining patient for the right opportunities and work to present themselves. Not waiting, but being patient. Big difference. In between those opportunities, it’s on you to create the momentum. Drop beat tapes. Produce albums for artists. Go take a chance and tour in a foreign city. When the industry knocks with opportunity, be selective. Make sure it’s for you and not strictly for a check. But also, be about your paper. That’s what it means to me.
What artists and producers are you really into right now?
Producers: Hollywood Cole, K, Le Maestro, Conductor Williams, Tae Beast
Artists: AJ Snow
Is there a tool (DAW, plugin, hardware) that you couldn’t live without?
I’m a Maschine guy. Heavy on there, and chopping with Serato Sample.
If you could give advice to producers just starting out what would it be?
Own your career and momentum. Drop tapes. Remixes. Whatever. Don’t wait on artists. Put that music out that will attract the energy of the right artists. Build your name up. The industry is tough on Producers business wise, it’s vital to create your own revenue streams.
What’s up next for you? Any plans or new releases you can talk about?
The new album with AJ Snow is on the way, as well as BUDASPORT II. Don’t want to speak too much on anything else, but if the biz works out like it should I think you’ll get 5+ projects produced by Jansport J. God willing.