JP Lime Strives To Fill Hip-Hop Gap
In a strange kind of fate driven way, JP Lime Productions was destined to be long before it was formed. Theirs is a small world kind of story. All three went to the same high school, but it wasn’t until college that their mutual passion brought them together. The three founding members – Scholar, Professa and Spaceman — have known each other as far back as grade school. Scholar and Spaceman met during summers spent in the Steppingstone Scholars Program in the early 90s. Through Steppingstone, both went on to Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, MA. That’s where Spaceman met Professa. Scholar was a couple of years ahead and didn’t meet Professa until college.
“We all went to high school together, but four or five years later when we were in college we were into something,” said Professa. “It wasn’t necessarily a production company, but it was our crew who we identified with.”
After that meeting of the minds, it was all an uphill climb from there. Along with a close circle of friends that includes Professa’s brother Cowboy, they began recording. Between 2005 and 2006 they recorded dozens of tracks, several at the legendary Boston Butta Beats Studio in Everett, MA. The studio was the birthplace of records from such local artists as Akrobatik, Virtuoso and Souls of Mischief.
“We hooked up with Buttascotch, an engineer there, and we ultimately ended up finishing the project at Indecent Music over in Medford when Butta Beats closed, said Scholar. “We didn’t really know what we were doing as far as building a project at first. We were just accumulating songs.”
They found the connection, however, with their 2010 release Lime on the Rocks.
“It was very experimental, very promotional for us,” continued Scholar. “We wanted our name out there and we wanted to build a fan base.”
For these three JP Lime is more than just a music production group. They want music to have life because it is so present in so many lives. Professa described JP Lime as a person the trio takes on when the hot the stage, but it’s even more than that JP Lime is also an acronym – Just Put Life In My Eyes or Just Produce/Play Like It Means Everything. They want to this voltron they’ve created to fill the gaps left in the rap game. Their songs are more than just music. It’s how they brand themselves and how they want to be perceived.
They have the group dynamic of Slaughter House, the force and energy of Run DMC, but they want to be the Beatles of rap. A lofty goal to be sure, but every goal can be reached with a little hard work. Achieving goals is all about the process. In a group like this one, it’s also about respecting the process. Each man brings something different to the table. Scholar is the business mind, Professa is everything creative and Spaceman is the self-designated face.
“We really do want to become the Beatles of rap: the group interaction, all the individual personas and just becoming bigger than the music,” said Scholar. “We want to run alternative hip-hop.”
Blowing up on that scale creates egos, but the trio seems to have that in check because of the mutual respect they have for each other.
“We learned to compromise and work the three of us,” said Professa. “That’s one of the things we’ve learned how to do well, saying ‘You got a good idea, let’s go with that.’ Sometimes there is a little burn for the idea you lost, but that’s rare. It comes a lot from trusting each other’s ear and respecting each other as artists.”
Two weeks ago, the trio released their second album Blue Star Boulevard. This one, they think will be the one to give them the recognition in the Boston hip-hop community. They put everything on the table with this one.
“Blue Star Boulevard took on a different life. This project wasn’t a compilation of music. We were building it from the ground up,” said Scholar.
“For me, I was going through a lot when we recorded,” said Spaceman. “My dad got sick, I broke up with my girlfriend. There is a lot of raw emotion in it for me and there was immense doubt. I never want to end up back at square one.”
There has yet to be a truly successful hip-hop artist to come from Boston – with the exception of Guru, but his Boston roots weren’t known until he passed in 2010. Will JP Lime be the ones to finally break through? Maybe. Some of the most successful people are the hardest working. As long as their drive keeps up with their passion, then they will fill the void in the genre.
“I don’t think hip-hop died, I think it just got shallow and even when it was shallow it was still super popular and super successful even when it didn’t say anything,” said Professa. “The void that I feel in hip-hop is just waiting to be filled. We want to bring the third wave of hip-hop. I want to make that and build around it as a business.”
Check out JP LIme productions at their website, www.jplimeproductions.com.
Watch the video of their interview @ WRBB radio last Sunday and hear the first single from Blue Star Boulevard, Limin’ On.