Tha Block Presents – JB (Canada Stand Up)


Posted on May 9, 2007
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JB is set to take over the airwaves with his forthcoming solo album, but while the buzz is bigger than ever before, make no mistake: JB is no stranger to the hip-hop scene.

He’s been rhyming on the national and international scene for years, but after taking some needed time away from the game, he’s back, focused and ready to rep the streets.

Raised in Flemington Park, one of the city’s toughest hoods, he was entranced early on by the world he saw around him.

“I was like 9 or 10 and people would come through the area and local men would go on tour and perform with these big names like Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One. One day I was walking outside in the park and I saw my boy KB from Beats Control and he was on the corner freestyling and after seeing that, there was nothing I wanted to do other than rap.”

He forged a close friendship with the Canadian rap pioneer and began forming different crews with other rappers from around his way. At the age of 13, he made his first public appearances as part of “Two Young To Handle.” Through a number of televised performances, JB was recruited to record tracks for several radio commercials.

But while he was just beginning to succeed in his dream to be a rapper, he realized fame and money would be easier had hustling on the turf. By age 14, the police had become a regular presence at the family home, and both he and his mother decided it would be best for him to leave.

JB continued to rap and make appearances, including a performance at one of the first “Live at the BBQ” events hosted by Canadian hip hop pioneer DJ X. He also continued his grind on the street, joining local turf gang G.C.P (Guilty Crime Posse).

That gang connection would prove to be useful to JB’s musical career, when the crew decided to turn part of their efforts, and profits, into production and rap.

As part of G.C.P, he performed at venues throughout the city, developing his signature style as a ghetto storyteller. His tracks told of life on the turf, giving intimate and graphic details of the world he was living in. Local djs embraced his underground track “Ghetto Flows” and played it on radio straight from a cassette tape. Finally, he released his first single “Serious” at 19.

The first G.C.P album “The Turf’s Hot” followed with JB and his best friend and recording partner Toba Chung as the main features. He also executive produced the album, funding all of the recording and pressing and securing a PMD deal through Nuff Entertainment. The album was sold nationwide at major retailers.

The deal resulted in appearances and performances on MuchMusic, and the release of their first video for the single “Crime Hits.” Shortly after, everything was shelved when a number of the main members of G.C.P went to prison. During this time, JB. released a number of solo tracks. Television and film producers also came knocking and several of his recordings were featured in Canadian and US productions. At the same time, 3 G.C.P singles featuring JB were remixed with a drum and bass beat and released internationally through the world-renowned Knowledge and Wisdom Records in the U.K.

As members of the group returned from prison, JB concentrated on putting together a second album. He began managing the ever-growing collective and worked on securing distribution in the U.S. They made several appearances at radio shows in the U.S. and performed at various car shows. Their single “Friction” also became a regular staple on Miami radio.

Through different friends, JB was also able to meet players in the U.S recording industry including Melky Sedeck from the Refugee Camp. Their collaboration resulted in the track “Ain’t No Shame” which was featured on the second GCP album, released in 2003.

The double-cd release, entitled “Crime Connects” quickly became a street favourite, and was distributed nationwide through Indie-Pool. Toba Chung and JB began doing more performances, opening for dancehall greats Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.

When Toba Chung became caught up in the court system, JB continued to push ahead and the two made efforts to return to the studio whenever they could. They were in studio last spring when the final hurdle stopped G.C.P in its tracks.

Toba was killed in a shoot-out. The death devastated the rest of the group, but noone felt it more than his best friend JB. He left his music completely and returned full-force to the streets.

It would be almost a year later before his soul-searching would force him admit to that he was born to perform. “I shared this ambition with Toba. We had dreams of being successful in music, and thinking about him makes me want it more. I want to have something to contribute to both our children. I know how he lived and I would never want his kids to go through what he went through. We’re together in this.”

Now solo, JB’s back in the studio. When the word hit the streets, the phones began ringing. His reputation has not been forgotten and top producers are lining up to work with the Flemo Park rapper.

At the age of 26, JB has grown and matured. After raising children and losing too many friends to the streets, he has turned his focus on giving back. He has recently been performing at school seminars and is often found organizing community events in his area.

With the release of his latest single featuring international recording artist The Game, JB returns as a respected player in the game. “Fire In Ya Eyes,” like all his tracks, is the standard for real, grimy hip hop. Long before 50 Cent rapped about wankstas, JB lived the hustle and when he rapped, he made no qualms about it. He’s lived on the streets; survived on the streets even when those around him couldn’t and continues to tell his story. With his return, the legacy of the turf returns to Canadian hip hop.


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