JAPAN

BRONX, NEW YORK | JAPAN

BRONX, NEW YORK | JAPAN

INTERVIEW: TERRELL “REALIFE” BLACK [@REALIFEVMG]

VALIDATED: YOU'RE FROM THE SOUTH BRONX, EAST 180TH STREET TO BE EXACT, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP, THE CULTURE?

JAPAN: WELL I FIRST FELL IN LOVE WITH HIP HOP BECAUSE OF MY BROTHER. MY MOMS TRIED TO KEEP ME AWAY FROM HARDCORE HIP HOP TILL I DISCOVERED 50 CENT'S "GET RICH OR DIE TRYING".

VALIDATED: WHAT INFLUENCE HAS THE BRONX BOROUGH HAD ON YOU PERSONALLY AND HOW HAS THAT INFLUENCE CARRIED OVER INTO YOUR MUSIC?

JAPAN: THE BRONX HAS A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON MY MUSIC. I’M FROM THE STREETS SO THAT'S WHAT REALLY DRIVES MY MUSIC.  


VALIDATED: YOUR OLDER BROTHER TRAY PRIZZY IS A WELL KNOWN VETERAN OF THE UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP SCENE. WHAT INFLUENCE HAS HE HAD ON YOU AS AN ARTIST?

JAPAN: MY BROTHER IS THE REASON I STARTED RAPPING, I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE LIKE HIM. WHEN I FIRST STARTED HE NEVER WANTED TO DO MUSIC WITH ME. I UNDERSTAND NOW BUT BACK THEN I FELT SOME TYPE OF WAY 'CAUSE I KNEW I HAD IT.


VALIDATED: ASIDE FROM BEING HIS HYPE MAN AT TIMES, YOU'RE ALSO FEATURED ON RECORDS LIKE "LAST TIME I CHECKED" AND "POPS". WAS WORKING WITH TRAY PRIZZY YOUR INTRODUCTION AS AN ARTIST?

JAPAN: YES AND NO, WHEN HE LEFT TO GO TO THE ARMY ME AND MY LUCKY LEFT YF WAS STILL RAPPING. WE WAS GETTING SEEN, OUR FIRST VIDEO HIT WORLDSTAR BUT WE WAS REALLY ON GANG TIME. WHEN MY BROTHER CAME BACK HE CLEANED US UP SO NOT JUST GANGSTA’S WOULD FEEL US BUT WE ALWAYS HAD CONTENT. WE WAS JUST RAPPING WHAT WE WAS LIVING.

VALIDATED: LAST YEAR YOU DROPPED A SINGLE CALLED "80 SIDE", WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THE RECORD?

JAPAN: MY MOTIVATION BEHIND "80 SIDE" WAS JUST THAT, 180 BORN AND RAISED. I SEEN SO MUCH GOIN' ON IN MY HOOD, LOST A LOT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO DA STREETS AND I WANNA TELL MY STORY. I FEEL I DID THAT WITH THAT SONG.


VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THE RESPONSE TO THE RECORD?

JAPAN: PEOPLE LOVED IT AND MY BROTHER ALSO LOVED IT SO HE BECAME APART OF IT. I WROTE THAT SONG SO FAST 'CAUSE I FELT IT. I KNEW WHERE I WANTED TO GO WITH IT AND THE PEOPLE FELT IT AS WELL.


VALIDATED: YOU RECENTLY TOOK ON A NEW MANAGERIAL REPRESENTATION TEAM WITH LORD SLAYA AT THE HEAD FROM TAYLOR & CO LIFESTYLE. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE COLLABORATION?

JAPAN: I MET LORDESS & SLAYA THROUGH MY BROTHER A FEW YEARS BACK. THEY KNEW ME BEFORE I KNEW THEM AND WE CLICKED IMMEDIATELY. THEY BELIEVE IN ME AND WANT NOTHING BUT THE BEST FOR ME. THEY SEEN SOMETHING IN ME THAT I LOST FOR AWHILE AND THAT WAS MY MOTIVATION. I’M EXCITED TO START THIS NEW JOURNEY WITH THEM.


VALIDATED: IS THERE MORE MUSIC ON THE WAY? IF SO, WHEN CAN WE EXPECT IT AND WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

JAPAN: MORE MUSIC IS DEFINITELY ON THE WAY, BEEN WRITING AND IN THE STUDIO. I’M NOT RUSHING THIS PROJECT, THAT’S WHY I PUT OUT FREESTYLES TO KEEP MY NAME OUT THERE BUT MY TAPE “SIDEWAYS” IS COMING. I’M TAKING A TRIP TO AFRICA FOR A MONTH TO CLEAR MY MIND THEN IT’S BACK TO WORK.


VALIDATED: HIP-HOP CULTURE, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

JAPAN: HIP HOP CULTURE IS EVERYTHING TO ME. WE SET THE TONE IN SO MANY WAYS, EVERY CULTURE WANTS TO BE APART OF IT. IT GIVES YOU A CHANCE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF AND NOT GIVE A F*** ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

VALIDATED: NAME THE HIP-HOP ARTISTS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR FLOW AND WHAT, IF ANYTHING DID YOU BORROW FROM THEM?

JAPAN: MY BROTHER IS MY BIGGEST HIP HOP INFLUENCE. A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THEY CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE ALSO SAY I’M A LIL MORE AGGRESSIVE. ANOTHER INFLUENCE I HAVE IS NIPSEY HUSSLE, HIS MUSIC IS GREAT BUT I LOVE WHAT HE DOIN'. HE REALLY BUYING BACK HIS BLOCK, SOMETHING I’M GONNA DO WHEN I GET A CHANCE. HE SHOWING US ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. WE ALL LOVE OUR HOOD BUT WHAT ARE WE DOIN' FOR IT?


VALIDATED: THE FIRST HIP-HOP ALBUM YOU BOUGHT, WHAT WAS IT?

JAPAN: THE FIRST HIP HOP ALBUM I HAD WAS "GET RICH OR DIE TRYING", CLASSIC!


VALIDATED: AS AN EMCEE, WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HIP-HOP CULTURE IS?

JAPAN: HIP HOP HAS CHANGED SO MUCH, I JUST WANNA BRING BARS BACK. YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING THESE DAYS. I STILL WRITE WITH PEN AND PAPER, ONLY TIME I WRITE IN MY PHONE IS WHEN I’M ON THE GO.


VALIDATED: WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

JAPAN: YOU CAN FIND ME AT "JAPAN180" ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.