J.Period Talk's Best Of Mixtape Origins, Working With Q-Tip, Possibly Busta Rhymes

J.Period is always thinking two steps ahead; always thinking about the “next evolution.” It’s partly why his Best Of...series has completely remixed the impact of the mixtape. Each release is much more than just a collection of dope songs. They’re more like sonic time capsules, blending awesome music with exclusive interviews adding unprecedented depth into the artist behind the mic. They’re entertaining and edutaining all at once. What started with his 2004, Best Of Nas mixtape has evolved into last month’s impeccable Q-Tip feature, The [Abstract] Best, J.Period’s Live Mixtape with Black Thought and, as he states in this interview, possibly film.

BrooklynBodega.com caught up J.Period following the 7th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival and discussed the origins of his unique mixtape series, his experience working with Q-Tip and the “next evolution” as he sees it.

Brooklyn Bodega: I think the work that you’ve done has redefined the mixtape. Your mixtapes are a lot more than just a dope collection of songs. They’re a dope collection of songs with all the right elements to make them edutaining at the same time. The Michael Jackson mixtape really gave insight into his creative process. This Q-Tip tape, The [Abstract] Best, showed all types of new perspectives.

J.Period: Honestly, the mixtapes themselves are as much educational for me as they are for the listener because I’m always learning while I’m doing them. I do so much research into these people’s lives and their influences and inspirations that I learn a tremendous amount about them that I didn’t know as well. So, that’s the dope part for me as the creator of them.

Brooklyn Bodega: Take us through the process. How does this actually work? Are you spending lots of time interviewing people? Are you spending hours looking online?

J.Period: With someone like Michael Jackson, I’m finding things. In the early days when I did the Nas mixtape which was the first one, that came out of me being at a listening session. That was literally the one that sparked the whole idea. I was sitting there and all these college radio DJs were interviewing him and I was thinking how ill it would be to tell his story through his own words and his music. That Best of Nas mixtape became the blueprint to what I’ve now sort of expanded on and kind of twisted and turned and done more with to the point where now I actually get to sit down with the artists. They’ve already heard what I do so they already know. That’s given me unprecedented access to a lot of these people. When I did the Lauryn Hill mixtape, only a small portion of that was actually me getting her to actually sit down and co-sign it and the rest was me digging things up. I’m at the point now where I did the John Legend and The Roots mixtape, and not only did I interview John and members of The Roots, but they actually gave me the session files from the album. That’s actually a tremendous honor, to actually to be able to create on the level that they’re creating on with the elements that they’re using.

Honestly, the whole idea is to pay homage to the people that inspire me and going deeper than your average mixtape. For most people, a mixtape is just a bunch of songs put together. For me, it was always something that allowed me to take bits and pieces from everywhere. Sampling issues don’t allow you to do that on records. But a mixtape is open season. You can do whatever. Really, I do it all from a fans perspective because I’m a fan of Hip-Hop first.

Brooklyn Bodega: They really run like documentaries. Have you thought about visualizing these?

J.Period: Yeah, you know, I’ve talked to a number of people. Garth Trinidad, who is a radio DJ out in [Los Angeles], and I have been talking about bringing it to the stage. He calls them audio documentaries. That’s his thing. I’ve even spoke to Michael Rappaport when he was working on the [A Tribe Called Quest] documentary about bringing some of the elements from the Q-Tip mixtape to the screen. That didn’t happen for clearance reasons, but I think that’s the next evolution. Really for me, it’s that and then it’s tackling the legal hurdles of convincing a company that what I do with their catalog has an audience. That’s hard because they see 500 thousand downloads and think people take it because it’s free but they’re not going to pay for it. I really believe that this sort of level of music and the kind of people that want it are real fans. I think those real fans will pay money for it.

Brooklyn Bodega: Fans still pay money for concert tickets and T-shirts.

J.Period: I also think they like something that they can hold, like this The [Abstract] Best flash drive. It’s a flash drive, which is something digital, but it’s also tangible. I still think that, like all the collectors items I have from when I was a kid and still have all over my studio as inspiration, like physical CDs, people still like that.

Brooklyn Bodega: How was it working with Tip on The [Abstract] Best?


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