Nu Jerzey Devil Interview
|Artist:||Nu Jerzey Devil|
|Label:||Black Wall Street|
|Next Project:||Nu Jerzey Devil Presents $tacks: From the Block to the Yacht|
|Website:||Nu Jerzey Devil's Website|
As record labels attempt to decipher the convoluted problem that is, “How can we still make massive amounts of money despite the decline in album sales,” many artists, producers and DJs are simply adding new notches to their multi-tasking belts.
Prime example: Black Wall Street’s Nu Jerzey Devil. A mixtape DJ and producer by trait, NJG has recently added rapper and clothing designer to his growing list of professional talents. Originally slated to help promote his company’s website, Jerzey’s “Heaven or Hell” line of clothing has become an upswing name in urban fashion. (In addition to BWS’s The Game, high profile names such as Gloria Velez, Lil’ Wayne and Rick Ross have all agreed to endorse the product.)
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Nu Jerzey Devil steps inside the booth to discuss the overwhelming nature of multi-tasking across industries, what West Coast artists need to do in order to see national success, and what he’d do with his time if hip-hop was forced to take a one-year sabbatical.
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Nu Jerzey Devil Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy, ‘Z’, doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a DJ, producer, and a fashion aficionado, all rolled up into one man. Gearing up for the release of a Black Wall Street compilation album, as well as his work on The Game’s third album and the debut of rapper, Juice, please welcome Nu Jerzey Devil – how you doin’?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Man, I’m good; I’m real good. I’m out here in Miami, enjoyin’ the weather. I know you’re all cold out there, but the Devil gotta stay hot, man, so I had to come to Miami.
DJ Booth: I understand. It’s freezing in Chicago, so come nowhere near here.
Nu Jerzey Devil: Ah, man, I don’t go no plans, not until some tours pop off. I’m good, I’m stayin’ in Miami till the sun come up out there.
DJ Booth: Definitely. New Year’s came and went – what are your resolutions for 2008?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Do it real big in ‘08. I got a lot of things I’m doin’, so everything I’m doin’ I’m tryin’ to do it to the best of my ability. My main New Year’s resolution is definitely to do this Black Wall Street takeover, and make sure we on everything movin’, our name stays in the headlines.
DJ Booth: Was there anything in 2007 that you wanted to accomplish, but you were unable to?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Not really, but I think I could’ve done a lot of stuff on a bigger level, but I was just too content with myself. ‘08 is gonna be totally different, man – I’m way more driven, I got a lot more stuff goin’ on.
DJ Booth: Any personal goals? Tryin’ to maybe get into the gym more, stop eating a certain food, quit smoking or drinking?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Since I became a rapper, man – you even mentioned it in the beginning: I’m a rapper, too, now. Everybody be aware I’m spittin’. I got an album comin’ out. So, one of my goals is to be in the gym and get sexy for the ladies, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: [laughter] Okay.
Nu Jerzey Devil: But yeah, that’s definitely one of the goals; you hit that on the nose, man.
DJ Booth: You grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, obviously, and you work with arguably the biggest rapper currently reppin’ the West Coast. Dive into your friendship and working relationship with The Game, and how your East Coast knowledge and mentality and his West Coast swagger work so well?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Well, if you’re into Game, he sounds like he’s from the East Coast. When I met him, at the end of the whole East Coast West Coast beef – I took to him real fast. We pretty much clicked on a street level before the music thing. I was going to Compton on a day-to-day basis, and I’d hang out with everybody out there. I was actually livin’ in Beverly Hills with Rodney Jerkins. I’m a street dude, so I felt more comfortable over there, we was out there hangin’ out, and we just started doin’ music.
DJ Booth: Most DJs don’t produce records. Likewise, most producers have no clue how to spin wax or mix. You do both, and you rap. Do you feel that your triple threat capability helps you benefit in a way that most of your competition could never even dream of?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Definitely, man, ‘cause if you can’t bring more than one talent to the table, you’re pretty much just limiting yourself. I’m tryin’ to be involved in everything and anything. If I can’t get it done on the production side, or if I can’t get it done on the DJ side, I’m gonna be rapping. If I can’t get it done rapping, I’m gonna produce, or I’m gonna DJ. I’m gonna get it done some way, somehow – I’m definitely gonna be involved. My hands [are] in the cookie jar at all times. I try to learn every trade in the music game. I can hardly sing, but I’d be singing, too. God didn’t give me that talent, man; he gave me the gifts to rap and DJ and produce, so I’m runnin’ with those.
DJ Booth: Is it too late to sign up for singing lessons?
Nu Jerzey Devil: [laughter] I think it is. I think I’ll just hire somebody, and I’ll feature on there.
DJ Booth: Well, you said your hands were in just about every cookie jar. One of those cookie jars is fashion. You have a clothing line, Heaven or Hell. When all is said and done, where does the Nu Jerzey Devil end up – heaven or hell?
Nu Jerzey Devil: I think my name speaks for itself, man. [laughter] It depends on what time of the day you catch me. In nighttime I might be in hell; in the daytime, I got a daughter, so you might catch me in heaven. But I’m still a child of God, so definitely God willing I will be in heaven.
DJ Booth: Starting up a clothing line is a gigantic undertaking. Did you know what you were getting yourself into before you launched?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Definitely not, man. I was actually just makin’ up some T-shirts for the the MySpace page and it just got so big – I was kinda forced into having to come up with more designs, and as I did, it just kept growin’ and growin’. I was like, “I don’t even have a name for this stuff; I’m just makin’ it!” I actually have “Heaven and Hell” tattooed on my chest, and my name being Nu Jerzey Devil, I felt like “Heaven or Hell” was just a perfect way to represent me and everything I’m doin’. It just took off; it’s only been three months old and already we got Lil Wayne as one of our models, and Rick Ross. We had the lovely Gloria Velez as a model for the female line, and of course we got The Game. We definitely got a lot of support from the heavy-hitters in the game. Everything should be movin’ forward. It just blew up out of my hands, and I already hired some people, and now everything is just goin’ full-fledged in one motion, and that’s forward.
DJ Booth: Definitely. You mentioned a bunch of A-list backers behind your line. When approaching an artist to endorse your product, what’s your sales pitch?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Me bein’ me, it’s kinda cheating. Lil Wayne’s a close friend. I had the shirt on, he sees it and he’s like, “Yo, what’s up with that shirt? I can’t get none?” I’m like, “Of course!” So I sent him a package, and he wears this stuff on a daily basis. We just take pictures, and the same way with Rick Ross, and of course my comrade, Game, is gonna support anything I do. I needed a female for the female line, and Gloria Velez is obviously a drop-dead gorgeous woman, and I think she represents me very well.
DJ Booth: She was a great choice! I would personally volunteer to model your clothing, except the problem here in Chicago is that you have to put a coat on over it. So unless you make coats also, I think I might have a problem doin’ that.
Nu Jerzey Devil: We gonna get the coats poppin’. Right now we’re startin’ off with all the T-shirts, the button-ups, the jeans, we got the sneakers. Me bein’ in Miami, I’m not ready for a jacket yet, so that’s why we didn’t get to the coats yet. But we definitely get to the coats, man. We got you all covered; don’t worry about that. I’m from Jersey, man; I know all about the snow too. It’s not all palm trees down there either, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Definitely. I know Michael Jordan makes a pretty penny by endorsing Hanes underwear; do you pay any of the artists who back your clothing, or do they settle for friendship and placement on your mix tapes?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Everything right now is based off of friendship. It’s a beautiful thing. Everybody helps me out but nobody charges me. It’s pretty much up to them. They pretty much came at me like, “Let me get some – I’ll rock it.” I also got Busta Rhymes, he’s gonna be the next one added on the list. He came at me and was like, “Man, whatever, I’ll go 106 and Park. Whatever I’ll do, just send me your stuff and I’m gonna blast it everywhere.”
DJ Booth: Definitely. What do you think you do better: create records, or design clothing?
Nu Jerzey Devil: [laughter] Whatever I do, I’m gonna do it to the tenth degree, man.
DJ Booth: You gotta pick one.
Nu Jerzey Devil: I’m gonna say producing. I produce beats, I produce clothing, I produce everything – I’m a producer all the way around. However you’re gonna put it, I’m a top producer.
DJ Booth: Okay, that’s fair. West Coast rap has a lot of talented artists, and I know you’ve worked with a lot of them. The problem is that they’re all under radar. Last year I spoke with Clyde Carson, Jay Rock , Roccett, and of course Juice, and they all said the same thing: “People just don’t know about us yet.” How can these artists establish themselves the way that popular Down South artists have over the past few years?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Well, I think the problem with the West Coast is there’s nobody but Game and Snoop who’s on the radar, nobody wants to help anybody out, nobody wants to team up. There’s not a lot of unity out there, and that’s because no one gets the proper shine. The little light they do get, they’re gonna keep it to themselves. If they just come together, and start doin’ tracks together, it’ll be a lot more prosperous. ‘Cause otherwise, man, right now it’s like crabs in a bucket; everybody’s tryin’ to pull everybody down. There’s no excuse for your music not to get heard. You just gotta be a man and get on your feet and do your footwork.
DJ Booth: Exactly – isn’t that the truth. Obviously a way that has been around for a while to establish artists who are on the come-up is mix tapes. You have a new one that’s out right now, “From the Block to the Yacht.” Let’s talk about that – name a few standout tracks.
Nu Jerzey Devil: I wouldn’t even call it a mix tape. Everything I do from now on is definitely album material, and I say that because there’s a lot of mix tapes out there that really are just trash. Nobody takes the time and effort to really put the music together correctly. Back in the day a cassette was ten dollars. You can get a CD for five dollars. I say that to show that the value’s not there no more. So it’s definitely album material. What we got now, “From the Block to the Yacht,” with me and my homeboy Stacks from Miami, Sobe Entertainment. We got this title track, man; it’s called“From the Block to the Yacht.” That joint is just crazy, man, and it’s gonna be the single off the mix tape. It’s crazy. I don’t know if you’ve heard it yet, but we’ll play it after the interview. Hopefully we can get it on the website. But the world definitely needs to hear this, man. It’s just a crazy, crazy, crazy track.
DJ Booth: Definitely. Well, I don’t think anybody expects anything less than crazy from someone named Nu Jerzey Devil.
Nu Jerzey Devil: [laughter] Definitely – you can’t, man. Like I said, everything I do is definitely full-fledged, and to the tenth power. The mix tape scene is crazy, man, and it’s definitely an outlet for everybody. If you’re a singer, rapper, whatever – if you’re in music you gotta do a mix tape.
DJ Booth: Definitely. Hypothetically, if hip hop was forced to take a one-year sabbatical, in an effort to restructure how this industry is run, how would you bide your time?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Man… I think I would go back and reinvent my whole style and my identity. I would go back to bein’ a student, man. I would go back to doin’ my homework, I would go listen to all the top producers in the last five years. I would study all the top artists. Anything I would touch, or anything I would be involved in would definitely be top-notch quality. That’s one thing people don’t understand. Every artist wants to be number one, but you can’t be number one if you don’t know where you’re going.
DJ Booth: Exactly. As the expression goes, “You need to crawl before you walk,” and too many people want to make that big jump. Give everybody a website or a Myspace page so they can find out more about yourself, your new mix tape, your upcoming compilation album, and, of course, your hot clothing line, Heaven or Hell.
Nu Jerzey Devil: Definitely. You can check the clothing line out at heavenorhellclothing.com, or myspace.com/nujerzeydevil. Also, Black Wall Street has an official website launching soon, which is therealbws.com. Support Black Wall Street, support Nu Jerzey Devil, support Heaven or Hell Clothing, and definitely support DJBooth.net.
DJ Booth: I appreciate that. You know, last time I talked to Stacks, he promised me mojitos on the beach and a ride in his yacht. Are you gonna double that, or what are you gonna offer if I come down to Miami?
Nu Jerzey Devil: Man, if you come to Miami we’re gonna take you to the hell side of Miami! I’m gonna let Stacks take you to the little heaven side; I’m gonna take you to the hell side. I’ll let you pick what you wanna do next time you come back after that. [laughter]
DJ Booth: [laughter] Well, I might need to save up, in case we get arrested and I need to bail myself out. So give me a little bit of time and I’ll be down there.
Nu Jerzey Devil: Don’t worry about it, man. We ballin’ over here; we got the cops on payroll! [laughter]
DJ Booth: I appreciate your time, I appreciate you joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, and I legitimately wish you nothing but the best of luck inn ‘08.
Nu Jerzey Devil: All right DJ Z, be safe out there.