Last week, artist Jalissa “JuJu” Coppage and her newborn son went viral with her “Quiet Storm” freestyle hitting over 1.3 Million views in just 48 hours. This week, JuJu talks to Rap Status about how she got started, industry comparisons, who she’d like to work with, and her son being her motivation.
Rap Status: You come off pretty advanced as a lyricist. How long have you been rhyming? Is there anyone you studied growing up?
JuJu: Thank you. I’ve been writing since the age 10 or 11. I wouldn’t quite say I studied anyone; however I grew up listening to Jay-z. My family are big Jay-z fans, I always had a good ear for word play and enjoyed how he put words together.
Rap Status: I notice how seamlessly you transition from topics that were personal, to socially conscious, then political. How would you classify yourself in terms of style?
JuJu: Honestly I don’t really like to classify my style of rap. I write how I feel in the moment, depending on my emotions determines the outcome. That’s the beauty side of the art because I never know how the words are going to form together. It always fall into place like a puzzle. How I emphasize the words gives the listeners the feeling of my emotions and how passionate I am towards the message I’m delivering.
Rap Status: Being a female emcee from Brooklyn and rapping over the “Quiet Storm” instrumental, how often are compared to your female Hip Hop predecessors like Lil Kim?
JuJu: I get compared to Kim and Foxy very often. I take it as a great compliment! It makes me feel good to know I’m compared to legends in the game. We all come from Brooklyn and had/have a story to tell that’s relatable in some sought of way that get the people attention. It’s a very aggressive style and it plays a major role in the environment we grew up in. Coming from the same borough; but different parts. My experience comes from growing up in Brownsville, theirs come from Bedstuy.
Rap Status: Has your flow and delivery ever placed you in comparison to any other male or female artists?
JuJu: Yes. Quite a few times I’ve heard I sound like a female version of Jay-Z at times as well as Foxy Brown.
Rap Status: Being that you’re from New York, you understand how it is Hip Hop’s birthplace of freestyles, cyphers, and battle rap; however the art of skilled wordplay is slowly diminishing. What are your thoughts about the direction the culture is going?
JuJu: That’s a great question. I understand very well where hip hop originated from and I truly believe the direction it has been heading in hasn’t been quite healthy at all. However, nothing stay the same forever. We have a new generation on the rise with no positive role models and they are looking for direction and guidance. That’s why I feel I went viral overnight. I brought back a sound that the world been missing for quite some time. They miss the feel of hip hop and that’s what I brought back, the delivery was strong and the message was clear. It had a purpose, and that’s what hip hop is missing. The message, the moral, the story behind it.
Rap Status: Is commercial radio play more important than reaching fans on an underground level or both?
JuJu: I think it works both ways it goes hand and hand with each other. Commercial play just reaches the mass at a larger scale quicker than underground level.
Rap Status: Do you feel pressured, or even obligated to make it now that social media has caught wind of your skills?
JuJu: Well it’s funny because On January 11, 2011 I was discovered by WSHH as “Female Talent of the Week” hitting over 100k views so this isn’t my first time going viral. I never really took rapping serious. It was something many people always said I was good at, so this time I went viral on a larger scale not intentionally. I hit a million views in less than 48 hours. Sometimes the Universe will keep throwing you the same lesson over and over until you finally “Get it” so to answer your question I believe this is God way of saying “This is what I’m suppose to be doing, music”. Not many people go viral twice and this time I impacted people from ALL over the world!! It still feel like a dream I have yet to awake from.
Rap Status: I’m a believer in the law of attraction and with the positive feedback that you’ve been receiving across the internet, your freestyle has the potential to reach big name producers and artists. Who in particular (producers, artists, or both) would you like to work with in the studio?
JuJu: Yea the law of attraction lol (The Secret), but there are quite a few I would like to work with such as Jay-z, Timberland, Lupe Fiasco, Missy Elliot, Eminem, Nicki Minaj and definitely J.cole. We [J. Cole] both represent North Carolina that’s my 2nd home and he is a great story teller. There are others I would like to work with but those are the top artist and producers that came to mind.
Rap Status: At the end of the freestyle you said “yeah, I’m a mother that raps”. I love how you emphasize being a mother first, and an artist second. How much of an influence does your son have in the subject matter of your rhymes and how you view what’s going on in the world?
JuJu: My son?! Isaiah, yea that’s my little man (smiling) He was born a few weeks ago, my first child. He came right on time. He’s exactly what I needed and I didn’t even know. He changed my life!! He plays a major role because I can’t give up now, I have someone that’s watching me. Yes! I am a mother first! Things been quite crazy for me lately between phone calls, emails, writing, interviews, and taking care of my son. But when it comes to him needing my attention I stop everything! Balancing it all out is a challenge because I barely sleep but for him it’s all worth it! He gives me motivation. (I have something I wrote for my son explaining my views on the world, it will be heard one day) it’s called “Letter to Isaiah”.
Rap Status: : So now for the final million dollar Hip Hop question, excluding Biggie, Tupac, Jay Z, and Nas, who would you place in your top 5?
JuJu: Eminem, Drake, J.Cole, Lupe Fiasco, Nicki Minaj
In case you missed it, JuJu’s “Quiet Storm” freestyle can be viewed here:
Photo Credit: Facebook