Jae Millz to release Back To Tha Future
Jae Millz is that rare artist that stands out above the rest. Repping Harlem, New York in the vein of artists before him that include Doug E. Fresh, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Cam’ron, Mase and the legendary late Big L, Jae Millz is destined to be the next great lyricist for the new generation of fans. His new single, “Streetz Melting”, features Swizz Beatz on the hook and the production, and it is making noise with deejays across the country.
Artist: Jae Millz
Title: Back To Tha Future
Release date: 09/27/05
Buy at: Amazon
With his status as an underground legend secure, Jae Millz is set to make his major label debut with the heavily anticipated Universal Records release Back To Tha Future. The album’s grandiose title signifies not only a powerful voice emerging within the Hip Hop landscape, but a one-man movement that underlines Jae Millz’ no-nonsense approach to writing. “I named it Back To Tha Future because I felt Hip Hop was missing Hip Hop,” Jae says. “I’m going to take it back when the game was about Hip Hop…when it was about lyrics.”
Born in New York’s Washington Heights, Jae recalls his earliest memories of music through his family’s diverse record collection that included musical giants Barry White, Al Green and Prince. By the time he moved to Harlem at the age of 10, Hip Hop had already become an addiction for Jae. Soon inspiration turned into writing rhymes. It was in 1997 while attending New York’s High School of Art and Design that Jae Millz honed his lyrical chops in the lunchroom, battling all comers.
After taking his verbal ferocity out on the streets of Harlem, the 15-year-old emcee was noticed by Tupac Shakur’s wife at the time, Keisha Morris, who introduced him to the well-connected forces behind Wanna Blow Entertainment. “Jae was battling at one of his brother’s basketball games, and Keisha overheard him,” recalls Nige, co-CEO of Wanna Blow. “She knew we were doing our thing and she knew Jae was hot so she connected us, and we’ve been together ever since.” Soon after that pivoting moment, Jae was soaking up game from some of rap’s biggest talents including P. Diddy, Lil Kim, Mysonne, and Mase, who he credits with making an indelible impression on him.
“I’m going to the studio with Mase,” Jae recalls. “I’m driving around with Mase…and for a kid that age, that’s insane. That motivated me to do it. Of course you see the drug dealers getting wild money while you sit on fire escape. Two days later, you see them get arrested. Three days later you see them back out. You keep seeing it, but you just got to make your own judgment on if that’s what you want to do in life.”
After dropping exclusive freestyles and songs for New York mixtape moguls DJ Kay Slay and DJ Enuff, Jae Millz became an icon in the streets, and the industry buzz grew rapidly. P. Diddy enlisted Jae to appear on 2003’s popular MTV reality series Making The Band for a freestyle battle with E. Ness, and Puffy declared to the world: “Jae Millz is the hottest ni**a, right now! He’s the champion, right now!” Jae was dominating the mixtape and underground battle rhyme scene, and by late-2003 Jae Millz’ and Wanna Blow landed a deal with Warner Bros. Records.
Jae’s introduction to the world on Warner Bros. Records early in 2004 was the thumping single “Rude Boy Get Up, (No, No, No),” a clever play on the Dawn Penn reggae classic “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)”. Following the release of the single, fans waited anxiously for the album to drop, but it never happened. Jae explains that marketing his record was an issue, and communication was not in sync. “There wasn’t really a problem with the music,” he says. “Everything was cool at first, but after the ‘No No No’ single and video came out, and we were going for ads and the business aspect came in, they started fumbling. They didn’t really know what to do. The music is useless if you can’t get it to the world. When I first got signed to Warner Brothers, ‘No No No’ was hot, and the album was done. After that I was just sitting, so I recorded another album. Since then I recorded another album.”
Within two weeks of leaving Warner Bros., Wanna Blow had two deals on the table for Jae. The team decided to go with Universal Records, and things have been moving toward the 2005 release of the album. Jae finds a symbolic connection in the new match up. “My style is the same as the label I’m on – universal. I could rap anywhere,” he explains. “I have down South music, music for the ladies, music for people struggling, music for true Hip Hop lovers. In all honesty, I’m a rapper’s rapper, and I make music for everybody, because at the end of the day I’m human. I go through the same things that everybody else goes through.”
Although things are falling into the right places, the journey to release the Universal debut has not been without its pitfalls. Jae feels as though setbacks have been challenging, and are all a part of the learning process in his career. “I don’t like losing – I don’t think anybody does. It’s like, you’re doing all this music and then it doesn’t get out there – you feel like you lost at the end of the year when you know you did all these freestyles, battles, guest appearances, radio, and promo, and you still feel like you didn’t get anywhere. In these last couple of years, we’re prospering, but when are we going to win? A check here and there and some jewelry and the fame – that’s not winning to me.”
Jae finds continual motivation and inspiration for songwriting through Hip Hop culture. “When I listen to Old School At Noon with Mr. Cee, or watch Rap City and Video Music Box to watch the old videos – Fat Joe, EPMD, Lil Kim, Mobb Deep, NWA, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, DMX, Ruff Ryders, Roc-A-Fella artists, Bad Boy artists – I’m from that. I saw those labels go from nothing to something, all these crews, and I do the same thing they do. Of course it’s a dream to try and get there, but I’m learning the working aspect. That’s my inspiration to keep going. Nothing is coming easy.”
Back To Tha Future boasts guest appearances from TI, Slim Thug, Swizz Beatz and more in the works. Masterful production from prolific street-anthem creators includes Swizz Beatz, Scram Jones, Omen, Heatmakerz, Ron Browns, and Emile. Between his Wanna Blow family and the strong team of music makers around him, Jae finds that his creative expression grows with each new studio session. “Making an album is comfortable – it’s like your diary. You don’t even have to talk some bullshit, you can talk what you go through. As much as people want to hear you talk some funny shit and floss and front, they want to know what you go through and know that you’re human. They want to feel like you’re on the same level as them. I try to put a lot of reality into my songs, and with this album I want people to understand that I can spit and I do the battles and freestyle and have fun, but I take my music very seriously.”
Jae Millz knows that his musical vision will continue to grow, and his business mind will benefit from his experiences. In the long run, he would like to see his label prosper and bring in new talent. “I want Wanna Blow to evolve into a really musical label,” he explains. “Whatever it is, I just want to give people chances, because labels aren’t giving people chances these days - you need a cosigner. We don’t need that now - we didn’t have that and we’re still doing what we do.”
"Back To Tha Future" by Jae Millz - release date: 09/27/05..