June Summers Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
Earlier this month, we jumped In the Mix with Wordsmith, a Boston emcee who recently teamed up with hip-hop vet Chubb Rock to drop a collaborative LP entitled The Bridge. For the 16th entry in our Booth-exclusive interview series, we're taking readers up-close and personal with June Summers, the rising R&B star who lent his hook vocals to numerous tracks by Nipsey Hussle and, most recently, brought us the world premiere of album leak "I'm Gone."
Born and raised in the 19th ward of Rochester, New York, June Summers was heavily influenced by the inner-city life, and was inspired by legends like Biggie, 2Pac, Nas and Jay-Z to pursue a career as an emcee. Though Summers ultimately chose to shift his focus to singing, his 'street' background – and the influence of the aforementioned artists – remains a major presence in his work. Having dropped several successful mixtapes, collaborated with numerous artists on the hip-hop side of the aisle and even shared the stage with Game, Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock on this year's L.A.X. Tour, the Lost Boro, Ent. signee is now preparing for the mid-December release of his new Hookman for Hire mixtape, as well as the June 2010 arrival of his aptly-named studio debut, The First Day of Summer.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, June Summers steps into the Booth to discuss the effects of THC on his creative process, the diverse array of styles and sounds he plans to bring to his debut album, and what role mixtapes are destined to play in the R&B game.
As evidenced by your DJBooth history, you've frequently collaborated with such marijuana aficionados as Smoke DZA and Devin the Dude. Does marijuana help, harm or have no effect on the music making process?
June Summers: Honestly, I'm just as creative sober as I am high. I think its a mind thing with most artists. They feel like they have to smoke to be innovative, which is definitely not the case. But the weed be letting me know.........evil lurks! (Shout out to all my smokers!)
You reside in New York City, but you've also shown strong ties to the West Coast scene. Which region do you feel like you owe more of your sound and style to?
June Summers: Both coasts played a big role in crooning my sound and style to what it is today. I'm from Rochester, NY, so NY hip-hop was all I knew growing up. Besides artists like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Death Row, we really weren't exposed to "west coast" music. Linking with west coast artist such as Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock (to name a few) brought a different aspect to my music.
You built some of your early buzz with the help of mixtapes, which are generally known as a promotional tool of hip-hop artists. Do you think they will become an equally significant force in the R&B game as time goes on?
June Summers: Mixtapes were originally made for and by the streets. So for a mixtape to survive, the streets have to be able to relate to it. A singer has to have enough swagger and versatility to compete on a mixtape level. So it all depends on the artist.
Will The First Day of Summer be focused primarily on uptempo, danceable tracks like your Booth-premiered track I'm Gone, or will it also showcase the street-oriented side we've glimpsed on previous features?
June Summers: The First Day of Summer is gonna be refreshing! I'm gonna give you something to dance to, something to cry to, something to make babies to AND something you can ride to wit the homies! I don't wanna be confined to any particular style of music
June Summers: I'm dropping the Hookman For Hire mixtape mid-December featuring all ya favorite artists from Beanie Sigel to Nas, Nipsey Hussle to Devin and Drake! Make sure you go get that! I'm dropping records all month so stay tuned! Shout out to DJBooth for the love and support, and to all my fans for giving me the inspiration to do what I do! All $ in No $ Out, Cinematic Music Group and LostBoro Ent....... ALL DAY! EZ.