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- Posted on Mar 13th 2010 4:13PM by Melissa Harrison
Texas-bred J Kapone has given his fair share of SXSW performances before, but it hasn't been until this year that he's taken the stage with such a varied lineup of Lone Star state rappers. And the timing couldn't be better, with Kapone racking up recent collaboration credits with Ray J, Bun B and Slim Thug. His next mission? To prove that Austin's music scene isn't all about indie darlings and garage rock. As J Kapone tells Spinner, the Dirty South can rap, too.
Describe your sound.
I'm all about supporting my people on the streets, so my music is for them. But I love all my ladies out there, too. That's why I do tracks like 'Do You Wanna Ride' and 'Krazy.' I like to do something for everyone.
How and when did you first get into music and performing? How did coming from a musical family shape that decision?
I've been around music my whole life, since my my dad was a local DJ when I was growing up. But it probably wasn't until 1997 that I started getting into the rap scene.
Biggest musical influences?
As far as rap: UGK, DJ Screw, 2Pac and Scarface.
Tell me about your debut album, 'Hustle Hard.'
It's a beast! I started putting it together little over a year ago. Created the concept, found the beats, recorded the tracks. Then we rounded up producers from all over, including Justice League. We also have Ray J, Bun B, Slim Thug, TQ, 2 Pistols and my Texas boys Big Tuck and Lil' O.
You recently collaborated with Ray J and Bun B for 'Do You Wanna Ride.' What was it like working with those two?
It was an honor. First, Bun B is one of the people I look up to, so I had to get him on the biggest song. Ray J was a bonus that my people helped me out with getting. It's a really nice record. Ladies love it.
Is this your first time playing SXSW?
No, I've been attending and performing at SXSW for years. But I will say this is the best showcase I've been a part of. I think it's about time I get to share the stage with some of the best artists in Texas rap.
What other performers are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
Cypress Hill. And a lot of the other West Coast artists coming down this year. That's the best thing about SXSW -- people can come see Austin-based artists like myself, plus West Coasters, East Coasters and everything in between. The diversity at a festival like this is crazy.
What's in your SXSW survival kit?
Comfortable shoes! But really, my team and my fans are my survival kit. Without the hard work and support of those around me, it wouldn't be possible or even worth it being out there.
Having Texas roots, is playing SXSW sort of the ultimate homecoming?
Absolutely. Rap in Austin isn't like it is in other cities. It's hard to get venues here to support you and your events. We don't have a radio station that supports local artists, and the retail stores don't really show much love either. But festivals like SXSW bring in people from all over the world to come and enjoy your music, and that's a blessing. I love to perform, whether it's for five people or 5,000, so being able to perform in your hometown at an event like SXSW is definitely a great thing.
After the festival, what's next for you in 2010?
I'll be continuing to promote my debut album, 'Hustle Hard.' I've also got new singles -- one with Slim Thug and one with 2 Pistols -- that I'll drop when the weather gets better. I put everything into this album, and I want people to get a chance to hear it.
What are two albums that you'll absolutely never get tired of listening to?
Slim Thug's 'Boss of All Bosses' and T.I.'s 'Paper Trail.'
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
Latin hip hop.
When it comes to hip hop and rap these days, who's at the top of their game?
Yo Gotti, Drake and Gucci Mane.
Melissa Harrison is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.