My Interview With Scribbling Idiots JustMe
So I got a chance to interview the founder of The Scribbling Idiots JustMe and here it is!
BigSto: Ok JustMe, even though you’re the third Scribbling Idiot to come through here (Cas Metah & Wonder Brown being the others) it’s a great honor to be interviewing you and congrats on the albums you’ve released the and the success you’ve garnered over the years.
You’ve been part of many classic duos. You’ve been in duos with Sintax, Cas Metah and Capture (if there’s more let me know). What was it like working with these guys?
JustMe: A pain in the butt! LOL! Nah, it has been an honor to work with each one of these guys. Capture and I met in high school, so we knew each other for awhile before we started working together. It was a very good situation because we were both part of a very close-knit crew. We were young, and the guys in Future Shock were like mentors to us. Redbonz (now Ahred) was a spiritual mentor, and we learned a lot about the creative process from Ajax and Sojourn. So we really grew up in “the game” together.
Cas isn’t a lot younger than me, but he was a lot younger in Christ, and a lot less experienced in hip-hop when we hooked up. Cas is a work horse though! He’s a studio rat, for sure. He has a very good work ethic. It’s funny, we really click creatively, but we have knocked heads many times over the past 6 years. He’s like my little brother.
Sintax is the homie! He’s a very good guy, and I really appreciate his friendship. We did the Merciless EP in like two weeks! No lie! From conception to handing it in to be mixed. It was really thrown together, but we were happy with the outcome. I called him with the idea. He was like “if we’re going to do this we gotta do it quick.” I sent him the beats. We brainstormed on the concepts. He recorded his parts and sent them to me, and I finished it off.
BigSto: You’ve been a Tunnel Rat and now a Scribbling Idiot how did you get through all that without exploding?
JustMe: Well, SI wouldn’t be SI if it weren’t for my experience in TunnelRats. I was the baby when I was in TRz, so I got a lot of correction. I learned how to handle myself in the studio and on stage. I learned how to put songs together. I learned from my mistakes, and I think I learned from the mistakes of my elders too. It ain’t easy though. It’s a great responsibility to represent the kingdom of God in hip-hop. I could always tell you that the priorities were Christ, family, THEN hip-hop, but I didn’t always live that way. In fact, I would say that I’ve only truly owned that mantra for the last couple of years.
When you’re in a crew, everyone’s in different places as far as their walk with God. I’m reminded just how important the accountability is within the crew dynamic. It’s important to always keep the main thing (Christ), the main thing.
BigSto: One Man’s Trash was the first Christian Hip Hop album I bought after my cousin introduced me to it about three years ago, tell me what that process was like and what message you were trying to convey with your first LP?
JustMe: Props to your cousin! I started working on One Man’s Trash before Scribbling Idiots even existed. When I met Cas, and we started working on our first record, I made that the priority. After we put out Scribbling Idiots Presents JustMe & Cas Metah, we immediately started working on Idiomatic Volume 1. Once the mixtape dropped, I finished One Man’s Trash.
If you listen close, you can notice that the album is like a reality show. It’s like Ed TV. OMT is two days in the life of Justin Long. In other words, it’s just real life situations: day dreaming, a bad day at work, being a father and a husband, and seeing God working it all together for my good.
BigSto: I think JustMe and Cas Metah Are Unemployed is the epitome of a duo doing an album front to back. Everything was in that album, battle raps, serious raps, guests and most importantly the chemistry between the two of you shined in that album. How’d you guys do it?
JustMe: My family had just moved into a new house, and Cas was living with us. I lost my job, so I had a couple weeks off. We did the album during those two weeks. There is a lot of emotion on that record. We were both going through some junk, and God was breaking us. Recording the album was a great outlet.
BigSto: When the listener puts down a JustMe project what do you want the listener to feel or think when they’re done?
Um, I want people to feel inspired after listening to my music. I want people to think about their purpose and what they’re doing to fulfill that purpose. BUT…sometimes I just want the listener to think I’m dope. LOL!
BigSto: You just released Before The Twilight which was entirely produced by Commissioner Gordon, how did you and Comgo come to make this project and why did you choose him to produce your album?
JustMe: We met ComGo on myspace when we were making Unemployed. He had two of the best beats on the record.
I knew that I wanted my next album to be one producer and one emcee. Initially I was going to do everything by myself, but it would have been too much for me, so I went to a dope producer that was fairly unknown. I think that way it is mutually beneficial. I got to make songs with dope beats, and he got his name out there some more.
BigSto: Before The Twilight is your best work so far in my opinion what message were trying to send with this album?
JustMe: There are two times, that I recall, during my rap career, when I have written something without fully comprehending what I have written. That was the case when I named my new album Before The Twilight. I had my reasons:
“Before the twilight is when the sun shines bright
and before your twilight is your prime”
– JustMe from “Twilight”
Recently though, as I studied the parallels between the Jewish Feasts and Jesus, God revealed to me a much greater meaning to this title. In chapter 23 of The Book of Leviticus, YHWH instructs Moses on how the Israelites are to observe The Feasts of the LORD. These feasts are of great prophetic significance!
‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.
Passover is a feast commemorating Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. A lamb is sacrificed for each family to symbolize how the blood of the lamb saved them from God’s wrath.
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7
Jesus, The Lamb of God laid down His life to save us from God’s judgment on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight! The suffering of Christ between The Last Supper and His death is commonly known as His passion, so His passion took place before the twilight! Okay, maybe it’s a stretch, but Before The Twilight is my passion! The album is an expression of my passion in the relationships that define my life: my relationship with Christ, my relationships with my wife and son, and my relationships with my friends.
BigSto: With this release behind you what’s next for you and the SI crew?
JustMe: We just dropped Idiomatic 2, which is like a hood album, part mixtape, part album, all grimey hip-hop.
We have some big plans for the immediate future. We’re going to be offering a subscription service that fits in great with today’s technology advances. Be on the lookout for that.
Personally, I think that you may see me moving into more of a teaching role. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do many of the things I dreamed of as a young hip-hop head. It’s time for me to help the next generation understand what it’s really all about.
BigSto: Speaking of SI you guys just added MuzeOne to the crew, how exactly did that go down and why did you guys recruit him to be on the team?
JustMe: Wonder Brown has been friends with muzeOne for a minute. He had mentioned him a couple times to me. We weren’t looking to recruit new members, we just thought if someone comes along that just belongs in the crew, we gotta let it happen. Then muze signed with Illect, then we got to spend some time with him during GMA week in Nashville. It was a no-brainer. He’s a dope emcee, a pretty good producer, and does his thing on web design stuff too. Most importantly, his heart is in the right place. He was already a Scribbling Idiot before we asked him. We just made it official.
BigSto: So when you’re not killing tracks what else does JustMe do in his downtime?
JustMe: What’s downtime?
I spend time with my family. I study and read a lot. I serve at my church. Stuff like that.
BigSto: One thing I’ve always wanted to ask a Christian Rapper is what is your true opinion of the mainstream hip hop business?
JustMe: I don’t differentiate between the “christian market” and the “secular market”. The business works the same way on both sides. I would say if you’re not good enough to rap in the local scene, then don’t rap anywhere. I know there’s a lot of cats out there that feel just fine rapping at there church for youth group kids, knowing darn well they wouldn’t take that weak stuff to an open mic. That’s unacceptable. I do the same songs at my church that I do at the bar the night before. The message is the same: love God and love your neighbor.
BigSto: Now the world isn’t in the best place right now, do you believe the world can get out of it even though the majority of the world aren’t exactly followers of Christ?
JustMe: No. The world is in a constant state of entropy. That means stuff is breaking down, falling apart, dying, etc. The only way to stop death is to start living. You start living by being born again. Jesus said that He is not of this world, and likewise His disciples are not of this world. This world will pass away.
BigSto: You obviously have the talent to make it in the mainstream have you ever considered it?
JustMe: I don’t think you choose whether to stay underground or not, it chooses you. I won’t compromise, I know that.
BigSto: We’re trying to do right in a world surrounded by wrong doing, what can we do to not only focus on doing right, but making sure that we share the gospel with as many people as possible?
JustMe: If you live your life to honor God, those opportunities will come. If you do not “do unto others”, then what you say to others is useless.
BigSto: This is more of question for my own benefit, but I think one of the hardest transitions in life is leaving home and still being able to stay focused on Christ when you don’t have parents on your back the whole time. How did you do it and what advice can you give to other teens about how to make that transition?
JustMe: I decided that I was going to serve Christ when I was about eighteen, so I’m glad you asked this. I was blessed to be part of a crew that kept me accountable. I think the best thing that a young adult Christian can do is surround themselves with like-minded followers, and wise counsellors.
BigSto: I think one problem that is thrown on the back burner is our problem with Confidence more specifically our lack of it. Why do you think a lot of us have a problem with Confidence and how do we solve it?
JustMe: I’m probably not the best person to ask about this. I’ve never really lacked in confidence. In fact, I had to be broken of my confidence in myself in order to put my confidence in The Holy Spirit. I do think that those who are in a position to lead need to put others in a position to succeed.
I promise you this: if you ask God to use you, He will.
BigSto: Abortion…a subject that causes controversy on all sides, some say it’s ok because the baby isn’t technically alive yet, others say it’s alive in the womb thus making it wrong, where do you stand? Why?
JustMe: I have a son. I was there for the first sonogram at ten weeks. My son had a heartbeat. He was alive. A new study was performed recently that showed that a baby, seven weeks in the womb, reacts to changes in the rhythm of a drum. That means they’re not only alive, but cognitive. I think abortion is murder. I think that when a young lady, or any lady for that matter, makes the decision to have an abortion, they’re usually trying to reverse the effects of a poor decision by making another poor decision. It doesn’t make sense. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
BigSto: OK JustMe thanks for stopping by, anything else you want your fans to know?
JustMe: Thank you, it was fun. I appreciate all your support. Peace and God bless.
~ by Michael Stover on August 17, 2009.