When you think of elite emcees in the Kansas City hip hop scene, two acts come to mind: CES Cru and JL of BHood.
Featured on CES Cru’s Constant Energy Struggles on the hype-track “Get That”, JL is someone that has garnered the attention of everyone from the underground up to the top of the totem pole, earning extreme admiration from Tech N9ne himself. The Strange Music general even went so far as to say “I don’t want to fucking sign nobody else for real, nowhere else if it ain’t JL first.”
We talked to JL to get his insight on “Get That” and see what else is in store for the man who coined the phrase “Do It Big, Keep It Strange (DIBKIS).”
What’s your relationship been like with CES Cru?
Well you know, CES Cru, UBI and Godi, them are the homies. We go back pretty long ways. We did shows together back in the day in Kansas City. Seven plus years probably ago, we performed on the same stage. Over the past couple of years we’ve built a closer relationship. Those are the homies, you know. I don’t know how else to say it. Them my dudes.
When did you guys first meet and how did that happen?
Well we met back in the day doing the shows, just being on the Kansas City rap scene, those guys been running the scene in Kansas City for a long time, back when I first started and coming up doing shows and what not. I met them back then but we’ve linked up again a couple years back when I was doing my Just Landed mixtape, we linked up and did a track and then we started hanging out a little more after that.
For you their reputation probably preceded them before you first heard their music, when you first saw them perform what was your impression?
Right from the jump it was just an automatic “These dudes are incredibly sick.” Incredibly talented. When I saw them live for the first time, it just blew my mind because of how crispy they were on stage. It was like sitting there listening to the CD. Dudes were just getting it.
What’s your favorite thing about them as emcees?
Well together, their chemistry. I’ve never met two cats that shared the stage together that had that kind of chemistry. That definitely is one of the things that stands out and just the pure originality about them. They are, themselves Godi and Ubi are like night and day different but they mesh so well and complement each other.
You guys have done numerous tracks together lately, why do you think you guys are so tight?
I don’t know. We just work well together. I don’t know man, we just click like that when we do music. I know we have the same passion for the art form of hip hop and we take our craft serious. We’re from the same neck of the woods, so, I don’t know, when we come together it just works.
Tell me about the song “Get That” that you’re featured on from Constant Energy Struggles. What’s that song about to you?
To me it’s like, we’re coming to get what we want in life, you know? Like what we want out of this game. We haven’t done this for nothing, you know what I mean? We’re coming to get what’s owed to people who stay dedicated and continuously put in that work. That’s basically what it is but it’s also just a display of skills. It’s a fun track. Seven killed the beat. There’s a lot of energy in the track. Definitely a good one.
Now you say in this song “Whatever they negatively towards me is what they’ll be eating at the awards ceremony” and you also refer to the fact that people are calling you “next.” Where do you see yourself in the future with this rap game? Are you trying to be known as one of the best to put it down on a national scale?
I definitely want to be known as one of the best to do it. I know I’ve got a long way to go. I’m putting in my work now. I’m laying down my foundations. I’ve got years and years upon years of music still to come. But yeah, a lot of people have down-talked and said “Hey, you know, you better create a gimmick or you better switch up how you’re doing this, don’t nobody give a crap about people that just rap good and just make good songs like that.” So for me it was like, “Whatever.” I don’t give a crap. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to do the shit that I want to do, like I always have done, and the negative words that anybody has ever sent to me will be in their fucking bowl while they’re watching me on that award ceremony.
All the emcees are going “brrrat” in this track. Is that something that you all just kind of caught on to and adopted in your verses?
Yeah it was just one of those things. Everybody did it (laugh). I don’t know how to explain it. It was just like “yeah, everybody going to go brrrrat”.
Now that you’ve listened to the album, what do you think about it?
I love it man. It’s definitely CES Cru. You’re getting CES Cru. It’s a massive album. Of course one of my favorite works from them. It’s just high-quality music dog. It’s got great concepts on there, great flows and the whole CD just goes together well too man.
What do you think it could do for CES Cru and Kansas City hip hop as well?
Well you know CES Cru is getting more and more recognition as the days and the weeks go on you know what I mean? After this project drops I know that it’s going to blow the roof off of it for them. People are going to see that these guys aren’t a fucking joke. This is how Kansas City do it. They represent Kansas City very well. I wouldn’t rather have anybody else out there in the forefront representing us like that. I also think it’s going to be great for Strange Music in general. It’s just something fresh and new for them, and these guys are so good that I think once all the fans get to hear this project they’re going to fall in love with CES Cru, if they’re not already.
Moving on to yourself, what have you been up to lately?
I’ve been working on Brain Scatter 2. I’m working on getting that wrapped up. I’ve been doing a lot of writing. Got a lot of recording coming up. Also doing a lot of features of stuff. Should be featured on a couple more Strange projects coming up. I’m so excited about that. I’ve just been working man.
Have your appearances on Tech N9ne’s projects gotten you a lot of attention and requests for features?
Oh yeah definitely. I owe a lot to Tech with regarding a light that’s been shined on me. A lot of my fans are through Strange Music, I don’t ne’er deny that, but I’ve definitely shown and proved and kept those fans’ ears obviously so I’m very thankful for that. A lot of my fans came from the stuff I’ve done with Tech because that definitely is the biggest stuff that I’ve done, of course the “Worldwide Choppers” and most recently “A Real 1” which is a lot of people’s favorite song on E.B.A.H.. So definitely very grateful for the relationship I’ve got with Tech.
You’re in Vegas right now correct?
Yeah yeah, relocated here for awhile.
At least until the end of the year now! I don’t know what the future holds after this but hey, this is where I’m at for right now. I’ll be back and forth to Kansas City all year long so it ain’t no thing. I just got back not too long ago.
How you digging it out there?
I love it man! The scenery is dope as fuck. There’s always something to do. We just moved not too far from the strip now. I can see it from my backyard basically. It’s dope. Real close to california. Beautiful scenery out here man.
To wrap this up, is there anything you want to say to your fans before we peace out?
Well let’s see…definitely want to tell y’all to stay tuned. Got that new good music coming real soon. Definitely going to be hitting y’all with a lot of heatery you know. Just keep listening and keep supporting. I got y’all. I ain’t going to let you down. B Hood.
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