Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Jaecyn Bayne

I am talking today with local rap artist Jaecyn Bayne. Jaecyn has been playing his way through an extremely competitive rap industry here in the city of Indianapolis but continues to perform as often as he can and continues to write lyrics nearly every day. Having a great personality and a drive to succeed is what makes Jaecyn a true musician. He has been playing music for quite some time and I felt that based on what I have heard of him musically and from what his fans say, he is not going anywhere for a while. Sit back as Jaecyn and I talk about his career and his music.

How long have you been rapping?

I have been rapping since 2004. I always kind of played around with words and I was really heavy into poetry before I got into hip hop. Then in June of 2004 it was like I went from Jean Grae to the Phoenix in lyric form.

When did you know that you wanted to make music a career choice?

Well I actually started rapping jokingly. A few friends of mine were into it already and I was with them one day and they told me to try it. I did, and oddly enough, came up with a verse that was way more dope than theirs (they’ll never admit that though). (Laughs) I actually started to take it serious after hearing people outside of my circle of friends say the liked it. It gave me motivation to keep giving them more of my minds thought processes in music form.

You have played quite a few shows that are collaborations. Is it hard getting solo shows for rappers?

No, I wouldn’t really say it’s hard. You’ve just gotta make your mark. I came in to performing with other people, then branched off as a solo artist with our label, Concrete Beats, and through that, I started doing more collaboration performances. As of late, myself and another solo artist on the label, Freeze, have been working on a joint project, so we’ve been doing shows together to promote the project.

Do you have another job or is music it?

Yeah, I’ve got a job. I wouldn’t consider it another job though. The job pays the bills. Music is my passion, so even if or when I do make it to on a larger scale, I’ll never consider that a job. It’ll just be me doing what I love to do and, ironically, getting paid ridiculous amounts for it. (Laughs)

What salad dressing do you use?

I’m actually not a salad kinda guy. Never have been. Meat and potatoes is the way to go for me. I need something to stick to the bones. I’m a little guy, so I need all the heavy foods I can get! (Laughs)

What are you drinking on stage?

Water. I try to save my “drinking” for after the performance. Otherwise, I’d be the guy up on stage telling the DJ to start the song over cause I forgot the lyrics to my own song. Intoxication is a muthafucka! (Laughs)

What is the largest crowd you have played for?

Actually, I’d have to say it was this past Saturday night, January 10th. I opened up for Too Short and Webbie at Club Industry here in Indy and it was pretty dope. Easily 350-400 people there. Wouldn’t sound like a lot to some people, but after all, it’s Indianapolis, so you can only expect so much! (Laughs)

The smallest?

The smallest (thinks) there’s been a few shows that only a handful of people have shown up. Most of them were due to bad weather or just were poorly promoted. Ended up being mostly just the performers that came out. So realistically, I wouldn’t even consider that a show. It’d be more like a sound check with everybody actually there doing their full set. (Laughs)

Who is your biggest influence?

Musically, I can’t say there’s just one. I’ve been influenced by a lot of people. Jay-Z, Rakim, Big L, Little Brother, Joe Budden; the list is almost endless. A few of them are mainstream. Anybody that is lyrically sound and changed the game with their wordplay has been an influence to me because that’s my focus. I listen to music to hear what people have to say because ultimately, that’s what its about. Its about the artist putting out something they feel in a way that the masses can relate to, so anybody that does that and I can relate to them, they’ve been an influence to me.

If you were not rapping what would you be doing?

According to my mom, I’d probably be doing something I know I have no right doing. (Laughs) No, I’ve always been into computers. Web design, graphic design, stuff like that. Went to Purdue for it for a little while, but never got as deep into it as I really wanted to. Everything I do know about it is all self-taught. I know you do web and graphic design too, so we’ll have to talk. (Laughs)

What do you think of today’s pop rap music like 50 Cent and Lil’ Wanye?

I can’t knock them for doing what they do. Just like I said, music is about expressing yourself in a way that others can relate to. On some level, there’s someone out there that can relate to them, so that’s why they are where they are and move the units that they do. Personally, I don’t think they’re really saying anything with significant substance. They have certain songs or bars in songs that might stand out and catch my attention, but over all, I’d pick somebody that’s less mainstream with more of a message. It’d hit home for me more.

Have you written lyrics for anyone else?

Inadvertently, I have. (Laughs). The same guys I started rapping with when I first got going, we all did a song together. Well after a while, we kind of lost touch and went our separate ways. Couple years later, I found them on MySpace (of all places) and the song we did had my lyrics on it, but not my voice. Haha. I found it to be kinda flattering though. Just showed me that I was on top of my game even when I was a rookie. I’ve stepped its up a few notches though, so they can have that verse.

If you could tour with anyone in the industry right now who would it be?

Probably sounds cliché, but Jay-Z, but not for obvious reasons. In the past 12-13 years, he excelled, not only as an artist, but as a business man, and as a man in general and you could tell in his music. I’d go on tour with him just to pick his brain and get insight and knowledge. Hell, just watching “Fade to Black” every now and then does that, so I’m sure being on tour with him would take it to a completely different level.

If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?

Wow. Deep question. (Thinks) I’d have to say 2Pac just so he could tell me who shot him. (Laughs). No, seriously, I’d have to say Paul Laurence Dunbar. Famous African-American poet and author from the late 1800’s that bridged the racial gap at the time. He wrote in standard English dialect and “African-American” dialect, but was widely accepted for both. I’d want to meet him just to open my mind to understanding how he related to people on both sides, so to speak, especially during a time when segregation was so prominent and blacks were, in so
me eyes, inferior to whites. It’d be interesting to see things from his perspective.

You real name is not Jaecyn Bayne is it?

No, just my stage name. And it has absolutely no correlation to my government either. (Laughs). For a while though, I was heavy into watching freestyle battles. At the time, one of the top guys was Jae Millz. Well I liked how he spelled “Jae” and I was sitting one day wondering if anybody ever stretched it out. I played with the spelling and came up with “Jaecyn.” Bayne just sounded good on the end. (Laughs)

If you were told right now you were being given a $500,000 record deal but you had to sing someone else’s lyrics and it was a country album what would you say?

I wouldn’t do it. It’d defeat the purpose of music. I’d feel so Milli Vanili. (Laughs). But no, I just wouldn’t be true to me if I did. If I’m going to do music, I want to express my thoughts to people that can relate to me. I can listen to some country music, but for the most part, its not who I am or a part of how I became who I am, so no, I don’t think I could do that. Now if they threw Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill in the deal too, then I’d have some serious thinking to do! (Laughs).

Let’s play word association. Say the first thing that comes to your mind when you read these three words. Go.

Tiger Woods: Black athlete. His Asian side is what got him to Stanford. (Laughs). Just a little humor folks, don’t take offense.

Wal-Mart: The devil. The only place you can go for one thing and come out with a receipt saying you spent $75.03.

Peanut Butter: Reece cups. I swear, those things are the best thing since the last episode of “Friends.”

If you could live anywhere but here where would you go?

(Laughs) I’d have to say either Amsterdam or Italy. We won’t mention the reasons for Amsterdam, but I’d say Italy because just from how its portrayed on television and movies, I think it’d fit my personality to live there.

How did you celebrate your New Year’s Eve this year?

Well naturally, I spent it heavily intoxicated. That’s a given. (Laughs). But the Oxygen Lounge in Castleton had their grand opening that night and I performed there with Nate Davis from the Franchize and Lynda Sayyah. It was a pretty dope show too. Well, from the little that I remember and the stories I was told! (Laughs).

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

French fries. I could eat French fries on a full stomach on any given day. Been like that since I was little too. I’m the guy that will go to Denny’s, order a Grand Slam breakfast meal with a side of French fries.

PC or Mac?

I haven’t had a lot of experience with Macs, so I’d have to say PC. Macs are turning into the Bentleys of computers and I can’t afford a Bentley, so naturally I wouldn’t have a Mac either. (Laughs)

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

First off, I’d just like to thank you, Ricky, for the opportunity. It is much appreciated. Everybody that’s supported me and the many more to come, I won’t let you down. I’m going to keep doing what I do and give the people me in music form that they like and want to hear. Check out the MySpace at Concrete Beats; I love all you all. No broke back! The Concrete Beats compilation album, “The Infrastructure” is coming soon. My mix tape, “Rhyme Hunger: The Appetizer” is coming soon as wekk. And look out for the Freeze and Jaecyn Bayne collaborative mix tape! Much love to all you all.