J. NOLAN

 ATLANTA, GEORGIA   HIP-HOP ARTIST

ATLANTA, GEORGIA   HIP-HOP ARTIST

VALIDATED: WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR RAP NAME?  

J. NOLAN: I WAS BORN IN NEW HAVEN, CT AND RAISED PRIMARILY IN ATLANTA (GEORGIA). MY STAGE NAME IS ACTUALLY DERIVED FROM MY REAL NAME AND IT WAS HONESTLY JUST A LITTLE NICKNAME MY MOTHER CALLED ME AROUND THE HOUSE. MY ORIGINAL STAGE NAME WAS KNOWLEDGE, BUT I REALLY OUTGREW THAT PRETTY FAST.

 

VALIDATED: GROWING UP, WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WAS PLAYED IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?  

J. NOLAN: A LOT OF DIFFERENT MUSIC WAS IN MY HOUSEHOLD, BUT HIP-HOP WAS DEFINITELY THE KEY ELEMENT. MY PARENTS WERE DEEPLY ROOTED INTO THE LATE ‘80S AND EARLY ‘90S CULTURE SO I VIVIDLY REMEMBER THE MC HAMMER, MC LYTE, WRECKX-N-EFFECT... THE WHOLE YO! MTV RAPS MOVEMENT WAS BIG IN MY HOUSEHOLD.

 

VALIDATED: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD GROWING UP AND HOW IT INFLUENCE YOU?  

J. NOLAN: I’M FROM THE SOUTHSIDE OF ATLANTA, SO I LIVED THROUGHOUT RIVERDALE, COLLEGE PARK, AND SPENT TIME IN EAST POINT AS WELL. THESE ARE AREAS THAT RAPPERS LIKE LUDACRIS AND OUTKAST WERE TALKING ABOUT IN THEIR SONGS AT THAT TIME. I MOVED FROM OLD NATIONAL TO RIVERDALE (APPROXIMATELY A 5 MINUTE DRIVE AROUND THE CORNER) WHICH WAS MORESO LIKE A SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD WHEN I FIRST GOT THERE AROUND AGE 10. BY AGE 13, THE GANG SITUATION STARTED COMING INTO EFFECT, WHITE FLIGHT WAS ON THE RISE, AND REAL PROBLEMS IN THE COMMUNITY STARTED HITTING HOME A LITTLE BIT. I WAS STILL JUST A QUIET KID, BUT I STARTED WRITING A LOT OF THESE THINGS DOWN ON PAPER IN RHYME FORMAT.

 

VALIDATED: NAME THE HIP-HOP ARTISTS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR FLOW? (DELIVERY, PUNCHLINES, STORYTELLING, SUBSTANCE)  

J. NOLAN: A LOT OF MY EARLY INFLUENCES WERE NAS, LUPE FIASCO, JUELZ SANTANA, JAY Z, PAPOOSE, AND EMINEM. THOSE WERE THE GUYS THAT I SAW REALLY PUSHING LYRICISM AND THEY SET A BENCHMARK FOR ME EARLY IN THE GAME. AS TIME PROGRESSED, I STARTED GETTING INTO THE TALIB KWELI, OUTKAST, COMMON, MORE DELIBERATELY CONSCIOUS ARTISTS I GUESS YOU COULD SAY. BUT TO BE TOTALLY HONEST, JUST ABOUT EVERY EMCEE THAT WAS OF THE LATE ‘90S GOING INTO 2000 ERA INFLUENCED MY STYLE IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. I’M 100% A STUDENT OF THE GAME AND GRAVITATED TO ANYTHING THAT DEALT WITH HIP-HOP.

 

VALIDATED: WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM YOUR UPCOMING PROJECT, “RISE OF ATLANTIS?”  

J. NOLAN: EVERYTHING IN THIS INTERVIEW IS PRETTY MUCH ADDRESSED ON “RISE OF ATLANTIS.” IT’S NOT COMPLETELY A CONCEPT ALBUM, BUT THE OVERARCHING THEME IS TO SHOWCASE A LOT OF THE DIFFERENT SCENARIOS THAT MOLDED ME SINCE I CAME TO ATLANTA AND HOW I’M HERE TO RESTORE THE BALANCE IN MY CITY. I’M FIGHTING FOR MY RESPECT AT THIS POINT. AND IT’S A VERY SOULFUL EXPERIENCE - THE BEST COMPARISON I COULD GIVE IS KANYE’S “COLLEGE DROPOUT” MEETS T.I.’S “TRAP MUZIK.”

 

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP, THE CULTURE?  

J. NOLAN: I’D DEFINITELY SAY THE KRIS KROSS MOMENT WAS MY EARLIEST HIGHLIGHT. THEY WERE KIDS AND I WAS LITERALLY JUST A TODDLER AT THAT TIME, BUT I SAW MYSELF IN THOSE TWO DUDES WHEN I SAW THEM HAVING SO MUCH FUN ON TV. FROM THE CLOTHES TO THEIR ATTITUDE. PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO PUT THEM IN THAT CONVERSATION, BUT THAT’S WHAT DID IT FOR ME. THEY PREDATED KIDS BOP AND A LOT OF THE CORNIER INTERPRETATIONS OF KIDS.

 

VALIDATED: NAME YOUR TOP 3 MOST SLEPT ON INDIE RAPPERS IN YOUR CITY. 

J. NOLAN: THERE’S A TON OF TALENT COMING UP OUT HERE, SO 3 IS HARD. OFF TOP, I’M GIVING THE FIRST SLOT TO KE TURNER. SHE’S THE STANDARD FOR WOMEN IN HIP-HOP AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED AND I’M WILLING TO CONTEST ANYONE THAT DOESN’T BELIEVE ME. NUMBER 2 IS MY GUY RIZZ CAPOLATTI. HE’S TAKEN THE MAJORITY OF HIS MUSIC OFFLINE, BUT HE’S ABOUT TO HIT THE CITY HARD WITH HIS NEW CAMPAIGN ON THE WAY. FINAL PICK GOES TO JUSTHOUGHTZ. ALL 3 OF THESE ARTISTS I’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH AT SOME POINT AND THEY’RE THE PEOPLE THAT CAN ACTUALLY MAKE ME QUESTION IF I’M COMING HARD ENOUGH ON A TRACK WITH THEM.

 

 VALIDATED: IS THERE ANY ONE PERSON THAT OVER LOOKED YOU THAT YOU WANT TO PROVE WRONG? AND WHY?  

J. NOLAN: I DON’T HAVE ANY SPECIFIC GRUDGES OR ANYONE TO PROVE WRONG AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE. ANY SITUATION THAT DIDN’T TAKE OFF OR MANIFEST ITSELF WAS PROBABLY NOT MEANT TO HAPPEN AND IT’S ALLOWED ME TO ENJOY MY INDEPENDENCE AS AN ARTIST AND GROW WITHIN MY OWN CREATIVITY. EVERYONE THAT KNOWS ME, I JUST WANT THEM TO STAY TUNED AND WATCH HOW HARD I TURN UP ‘CAUSE A LOT OF FOLKS DON’T REALLY BELIEVE IN MY GREATNESS AND IT’S MY JOB TO VALIDATE MYSELF FIRST. THAT’S ABOUT IT.

VALIDATED: What sacrifices have you made or things that you had to go without because you've invested in your artistry? 

 

J. NOLAN: I’VE MADE A LOT OF SACRIFICES, THINGS THAT PEOPLE WOULDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT. EARLY ON, I PURSUED MUSIC FULL TIME AND WENT COMPLETELY WITHOUT MONEY OUTSIDE OF MY ROYALTIES AND COMMISSIONS FROM FEATURES. IT WAS NOT GLAMOROUS BY ANY STRETCH, BUT I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT THE BUSINESS IN DOING SO. I’VE GONE WITHOUT A CAR FOREVER JUST TO REDUCE RECURRING FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS LIKE INSURANCE AND MAINTENANCE SO I CAN KEEP MY MONEY GOING INTO MY ART; I’VE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE $15 FEED ME FOR HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES UNTIL MY NEXT CHECK. JUST SO MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS THAT MOST PEOPLE NEVER KNEW I WENT THROUGH IN ORDER TO KEEP GROWING AND PROGRESSING. 

 

VALIDATED: CAN YOU RECALL THE MOMENT YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH HIP-HOP AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE IT PROFESSIONALLY?  

J. NOLAN: I CAN’T SAY I HAD ONE FALL IN LOVE MOMENT BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I WAS BORN INTO HIP-HOP WITH MY EXPERIENCE. I MENTIONED HIM EARLIER, BUT LUPE FIASCO MADE ME PURSUE THIS PROFESSIONALLY. CREATIVELY, LYRICALLY, HAVING THE COURAGE TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL AND PUSH BOUNDARIES ON UNPOPULAR SUBJECT MATTER WHILE HAVING CHARISMA AND PERSONALITY AT THE SAME TIME - FOOD & LIQUOR TOOK MY ASPIRATIONS TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL AND I STARTED CHASING THAT SAME THRILL WITHIN MYSELF.

 

VALIDATED: HOW DIFFICULT IS IT CREATING YOUR OWN LANE WHILE TRYING TO STAY TRUE TO YOU AND YOUR BRAND OF HIP-HIP? 

J. NOLAN: IT’S REALLY NOT. I KNOW THAT I HAVE THE ABILITY TO WALK ANY LANE AND CAN CREATE ANY STYLE OF MUSIC I SET MY MIND TO. WITHIN THAT, I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT MY OWN DESIRES ARE MOST IMPORTANT. TECH 9INE WAS KNOWN AS THE ULTIMATE WEIRDO WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, HIS ADVERTISEMENTS IN XXL MADE ME THINK HE WAS A SATANIST OR SOMETHING CRAZY (LAUGHS), BUT HE WAS REALLY JUST CARVING OUT HIS NICHE’ AND IT’S MADE HIM ARGUABLY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INDEPENDENT HIP-HOP ARTIST WE’VE SEEN. SAME FOR INSANE CLOWN POSSE. THERE’S AN AUDIENCE FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, THE HARD PART IS SERVING THOSE PEOPLE AND HAVING THE HEART TO CONTINUE BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY SHOW UP.

 

VALIDATED: TELL US ABOUT OTHER VENTURES YOU'RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON.  

J. NOLAN: THE MAIN VENTURE I’M WORKING ON IS FRESH & LOCAL. IT’S A PLATFORM THAT WAS ORIGINALLY MADE TO SERVE AS A CREATIVE COMMUNITY FOR ME AND MY FRIENDS TO START A MOVEMENT. IN THE PAST 2 YEARS, WE’VE EVOLVED INTO MORE OF AN A&R SYSTEM FOR THE STREETS - DOING OUR PART TO BUILD UP THE FUTURE OF THIS CULTURE. WE’RE WRITING ABOUT ARTISTS AND BUSINESSES, INTERVIEWING THEM, PUTTING ARTISTS ON STAGE, AND IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING OUR OWN NETWORK TO SERVE AS THE INCUBATOR FOR OUR OWN EXCLUSIVE CONTENT. A LOT OF PEOPLE CAME INTO THIS GAME TO BE SELF-SERVING. MY INTENT IS TO USE WHATEVER PLATFORMS, RESOURCES, OR INFORMATION THAT I COME ACROSS IN ORDER TO HELP OTHERS BYPASS SOME OF THE HARDSHIPS I’VE HAD TO FACE ALONG THE WAY.

 

VALIDATED: WHERE CAN THE FANS SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA?  

J. NOLAN: THE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT MY MUSIC IS TO LOOK UP J.NOLAN ON ITUNES, SPOTIFY, ETC AND BUY WHATEVER CATCHES YOUR EAR. VISIT HTTP://FRESHANDLOCALATL.COM TO BUY FRESH & LOCAL MERCH (T-SHIRTS, HATS, TANK TOPS, CROP TOPS, PILLOWS), THAT SUPPORT DEFINITELY GOES A LONG WAY SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE OTHER ARTISTS WE’RE INVESTING TIME INTO. ON INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER MY NAME IS @REALJNOLAN AND PEOPLE CAN FEEL FREE TO HIT ME UP AT THEREALJNOLAN ON FACEBOOK.

Troy Hendrickson