It was @BCakaTheMan that introduced me to this artist. And I am glad he did. This guy has some serious talent and is starting to make waves for a big 2012. He lives in the Windy City… let’s hope he is a Cubs fan. @BCakaTheMan is the host of The Air Attack, and one day we were chatting on Twitter about his show… and that is when the name Beadz Jones came up. He has worked with him in the past, and thought he would make for a good interview. Well… he was right. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the hardest working rap artist in the Midwest.
So we met on Facebook… I actually wasn’t familiar with your work until then. Now I am seeing you all over the place. Let’s start with your name. Is your real name Beadz Jones? And why a “Z” and not an “S”?
Beadz Jones isn’t my birth name, it’s actually Derrick Jones. The name Beadz came to be from me having braids with beads on them. I wore braids and beads for over eight years and whenever I rapped or performed I performed with a lot of energy and all people would see was my braids and beads going everywhere. So in high school some of the girls thought it was cute and would come up to me in the hallway and asked me to shake my beads… the name stuck from there. I use the “Z” instead of the “S” because it looks cooler to me. (Laughs.)
What’s it like working for Manatee Records?
It’s great being a part of Manatee Records. I’m the lead artists on the label and I also have an executive position with them. I play a major role on helping make decisions in what direction the label takes. Some of the artists on the label deal with marketing and promotions.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Chicago. I was born on the south side of Chicago, and I spent my peak years in Harvey/Riverdale, Illinois which is like ten minutes from the city of Chicago.
I see you are a Sox fan. Why not the Cubs?
I started off a Cubs fan when I was young, but when I got to the age to really understand I was from the south side I became a Sox fan because they’re on the south side. I’m a fan of all Chicago teams though.
You have produced a ton of work. How is a mix tape different than an EP or a full-length album?
Well the main difference between a mix tape and an actual album is the fact that on a mix tape there are no rules. What I mean by that is on a mix tape you can take/use other artists beats and samples without permission… basically because mix tapes are mainly for promotional use only. On most mix tapes, artists get DJs to mix and blend records together. In most cases there is no particular structure. When an artist works on an album, they trying to find your lead records that will catch the consumer or your fan base; they’ll look forward to your project. Also on an album an artist will work with producer and different artists to build the body of work which means there more business involved in legal ramifications.
You say you are “one of the realist in it”… but what is “it”?
When I say I’m “one of the realist in it”, I’m saying I’m one of the realist in this industry. The things I rap about are things I have personally experienced or have seen those close by me experienced. I don’t go far out of things that I don’t know. If I’m not sure about something, I don’t rap about it. I do over exaggerate, or talk about things that’s out of my tax bracket. I don’t rap about Maybachs cause I never been in one… I don’t rap about the stars, the moon or the galaxies because I’ve never been. I feel I have been successful to this point because I kept it real thus far.
Do you write all of your own lyrics?
Yes, I write all my own lyrics. I write everything and do most of the singing as well.
They dubbed you the “Face of Chicago”. You were featured in an issue of Hip Hop Weekly. What sort of exposure does something like that get you?
It’s been a blessing to appear in Hip Hop Weekly Magazine and the other magazines I’ve been featured in. A magazine as big as HHW puts you in the presence of the top hip hop artists in the music industry. It helps build the awareness for independent artists such as myself.
Do you play a lot of live shows up there in the Windy City?
Yes, I have performed in majority of all the top hip hop venues in Chicago. I also travel a lot and perform in different states as well.
What are you listening to these days… what’s on your iPod?
I predominately listen to hip hop & R&B,. As far as mainstream artist go, I still listen to older music like Jay Z, Tupac, DMX & Biggie. I do listen to artists like Lil Wayne and Drake and any other artist who’s successful… because I have to take in consideration what they are doing to be in the position they’re in. I also listen to a lot of underground Chicago music.
How did you get connected with Raw Product Music?
Raw Product Music was a group that I started when I was younger. Now we go by Dowg Mobb Ent or Team DME.
Do you have a job outside of music?
No, I don’t have a job outside of music. I’ve been fortunate enough to maintain off of music, paid shows and features.
Wait a second… and you were featured in an issue of The Source. Lil Wayne was on the cover of that one. Man, you are killing it up there.
Yeah, I was featured in The Source, Hip Hop Weekly Magazine, Ozone Magazine, Hood Mag, SIR Mag, Ford Mag and a few more. It’s like a snowball effect once the people pick up on you and you stay consistent… one thing leads to another.
Is the scene you are in competitive, or do you guys share ideas and shows?
It’s both; it’s very competitive on the Chicago music scene at the same time it’s certain artists share ideas, plans and strategy.
Tell me a little bit more about “A.W.N”.
“A.W.N” is the name of one of my CDs. It stands for “America’s Worse Nightmare”, meaning “I’m a Nightmare to America” in various way. I’m a nightmare with my music and intelligence. I’m not the average rap artist. I feel I’m in the process to make an impact in the music industry how a Jay Z or a 50 Cent did. They both were successful making music and business moves.
I see you are also a Bulls fan. As a matter of fact, you wrote the official Derrick Rose theme song. How does an opportunity like that even present itself?
Some opportunities you have to create and that’s exactly what I did with the D Rose them song. I made the song because I felt he deserved a song. I did the song out of RESPECT for what he recreated for Chicago basketball and the song just took off and the people made it successful and created the awareness of the song.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
My mom and my son are my biggest inspirations. Life itself inspires me to make the music I make though.
You are all over Twitter. In your opinion, how has the internet and social media changed the way people absorb music?
The Internet and social sites make it easier for an artist to reach more people without spending a lot of money. I can be in NY and still handle business in MN with the web and social media. I’m able to keep my fans in tune with me easier by a click of a button.
You’re over 21… what’s your favorite drink of choice?
Awww man… I’m Remy VSOP is my #1 choice. I also like Hennesy, Grey Goose and Rose. Those my favorites.
What would you be doing if you were not recording?
If I wasn’t a recording artist I would’ve perused the career to be an on air radio personality on an urban station.
Some people call it rap… others hip-hop. What do you call it? Is there a difference between the two?
Some artists are rappers and some are hip hop artists. Hip hop to me is the culture and rap is just part of the culture. Hip hop has substance; it’s just not words over a beat. A good hip hop artists you’ll feel like you know them and the music is everlasting. Rappers are trendy and are only here for the moment.
What’s a typical Friday night look like for you?
It really depends but Fridays are busy… sometimes I’m traveling performing or making appearance in a club.
I remember listening to rap a lot growing up. I always liked the poetic side of the lyrics. But the whole “east coast / west coast” thing got in the way. Why can’t everyone just be friends? You are stuck in the middle here living in the Midwest.
I think it just depend on the type of people and the type of egos they have what causes rap “beef”. Egos tend to run high in the rap world and rap is oriented from the streets so the combination can potentially cause problems. Some rap “beef” is fun and entertaining because battling is part of the culture. The problem comes when people take it too far.
When you sit down to write a new track, what is that process like?
When I make a song the process is like talking to a woman I would like to hook up with… some are easier than others. (Laughs.) I ride with the beat and listen to it and I talked back to it. If me and that beat is meant to be, a good song come out.
Tell me about your relationship with Emily Grimes.
Emily is a photographer out Chicago. She made her name by doing a lot of photos at the underground hip hop spots. I took a liking to her work and I hired her to do photo shoots for me and the artists involved with my company. I recently had her take photos of the behind the scenes of my video Everything Cold featuring my artist D Greazy.
How was your Christmas? Get everything on your wish list?
I just wished for a strong end to 2011. I got two videos in the editing process and I’m shot another video for another one of my songs on December 27. I just want to end 2011 strong, and get a good jump on the new year.
From what I can tell, you had a pretty good 2011. What’s next for you… what do you have in store for 2012?
In the first quarter of 2012 music fans should see me appear in at least three more major magazines. I start my promo tour top of the year as well. Also there will be more videos to come and another CD.
In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
I would like to thank you for taking time to interview me! I would like to thank BC the Man for linking us up. Also would like the readers to follow me on Twitter. Mad love to everybody who supports independent artists no matter what genre. Be on the look out for Manatee Records / Dowg Mobb Ent and Breezy Diamond Dolls!