I’m chilling. I’m good.
You’ve been making a lot of noise since leaving D-Block. First things first, why did you leave D-Block?
I just didn’t see myself progressing as an artist over there. Instead I saw myself regressing and sitting in the same spot and being stagnant. I couldn’t grow over there.
You’ve been waiting for six years to come out on D-Block. What made you want to leave now?
It’s actually something that I was thinking about for a little second, but I never acted on it. I was just thinking, ‘I’m not getting no younger. I’ve been here for six years.’ I looked up to dudes. That was my whole reason for not leaving before. I just enjoyed making music with the guys, so I never wanted to leave. And then on top of that, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because I could have sworn that they were going to do the right things with the project due to the fact that I was not only their artist but I was their little man and little homie and shit. So I thought they were going to do the right thing, but year after year went by and I saw they weren’t trying to do the right thing. They had no intentions of putting me out and they had no intentions of putting me on the big records that they had. I just didn’t see myself growing as an artist over there. If I’m going to fail, I would feel much more comfortable failing off of decisions I made and not the next man.
Why weren’t you getting the proper attention and shine at D-Block?
You know what it is? I can’t even say it’s when you sign to other artists because other artists have done that and they can be successful. But they focused on their own careers and they probably don’t feel that they’re where they deserve to be at in the game, so they pretty much focused on themselves and they got wrapped up in that. And on top of that, the guy Sheek, after he dropped his first album, I was supposed to be next in line. If you actually look in the Sheek Louch album cover (Walk Witt Me), there’s a picture of me in there and it says, “J-Hood coming in 2004.”
When we left the Universal situation and went to Koch, my album was supposed to come out. But after a couple of months going by of us being signed, I was hearing them about how they were dropping all of their albums and I was like, ‘I thought I was supposed to be dropping.’ And then ext thing you know he’s dropping After Taxes and I sat back once again, just because I was young and I was giving the dudes the benefit of the doubt.
I was happy to be in the camp of the so-called “nicest lyricists in the game.” I just sat back and didn’t step up as a man. I definitely spoke on the situation numerous times. I didn’t feel that that was fair. That wasn’t even the right business move to make. When you have a company, you’re supposed to produce records on the regular, on a regular basis. You have 12 months in the year and in a 12 month time-span, you’re supposed to put out two projects, at least one every six months. They got too caught up with putting out a project every year and a half or two years and they weren’t trying to put me out and I realized that. I was like, ‘This isn’t the place for me.’ They’re not featuring me on remixes that they’re getting when they’re called in for remixes. Other artists build up their other artists. That’s what any other company does when they’re trying to build up an artist and sell him to the people. I just felt like enough is enough and that I could do better by myself. That’s just basically what it was. It’s a lot of different stuff on top of that too, but for the most part, that’s what it is.
How much of you leaving D-Block came down to money?
It’s not that I didn’t feel I was getting what I deserved, I wasn’t getting what I deserved! I know you heard all of those mixtapes that I was on. The competition is out there and I’m a real aggressive rapper. I pop a lot of shit. I’m out there popping a lot of shit to my competition and these are guys that had a chance because they could be financially stable. Niggas know I can’t be financially stable unless I’m doing something else. It’s not from selling records because I don’t have an album out and I don’t have a single out. I’m out there in the fire, in the mix of everything, battling lions and going at anybody that’s supposed to be competition and I’m still not getting what I deserve. I put a lot at risk.
Looking at it from the perspective of the other members of D-Block, did you have the right music to release when you were on the team?
That’s another misconception. I hear that all the time. People say I’ve been there for six years and never put an album out. I’m glad y’all think it’s that easy to just put an album out. If it was in my power, I would have had four records out already. I had numerous records and numerous potential singles. I had records that could have blew and it just wasn’t pushed right because they wasn’t trying to push it. The music was there. The music wasn’t an issue. I was always ready and I always had the music. It wasn’t me. It was the people that were in charge of the company. They weren’t trying to do that. The only thing they were trying to do was put out the same repetitive project over and over again and get the same results.
Did you ever feel that the music you were recording with D-Block got stale?
There were a lot of times when I expressed being different and I wanted to do different things and they shut me down and told me I shouldn’t do it like that I wanted to be different because you can’t be the same as the people that brought you into the game. You can’t be the same. So I would say, “Yo, I want to try this” and they would tell me, “No, the people aren’t going to like it if you do it like that. Da da da da da.” So there were definitely different times where I thought that.
And plus I’m out here. I’m younger and I’m out in the streets everywhere and I’m running around. I’m still with the youth. I’m 23. I’m still in the clubs heavy and I’m in the ‘hood, so I know what’s out there, what the people are saying and what the people like. I’m well-grounded and I keep my ear to the street so I know what they’re saying, what formulas we should have been following and what moves we were making that we wasn’t.
From looking at the video of you dragging your D-Block chain, it looks like you didn’t leave D-Block on good terms. Why is that?
It’s nto that I didn’t leave D-Blcok on good terms. I got love for Styles and ‘Kiss is cool. I didn’t leave on bad terms of anything. I’ll always love them for giving me the opportunity to just get heard. There’s always going to be that love and respect factor for that. I was just a young dude from the ‘hood that was eager and determined and I was going to get it. They gave me the opportunity. Don’t get it f’d up. It ain’t like that. I got love for the dudes and respect for what they did, so it ain’t like that, but I have my own reasons for leaving. Trust me when I tell you this. I really do.
Do you think the guys in D-Block are going to take you dragging your chain on the street as a sign of disrespect?
I know how the streets tend to stir shit up and they put their own twist on that so by the time they see it or hear about it, I’m pretty sure they’ll be a little bent out of shape about it. But that was something that I purchased so if I feel like doing that, I’m entitled to. I’m entitled to do what I feel like doing. And on top of that, I’m the first one that actually, when we got the company, ran out there and got “D-Block” tattooed on my neck and followed it by getting a tattoo of “D-Block” going across my stomach. I was the first one jumping out the window, doing some ol’ crazy shit like that. So I’m entitled to do that if I purchase a chain. If I want to drag it or I want to swing it, I can. I can do anything I want with that chain.
How did the guys react when you told them you were leaving D-Block?
To be honest with you, I was trying to contact Sheek for a minute to tell him but I wasn’t getting no response every time I went over there. He was acting funny so I never got to speak to him. I spoke to Styles and he kept it respectful and he kept it gangster with me. We sat down and we had a talk like men. I told him how I felt and he respected that.
You were recently on stage with G-Unit during 50 Cent’s 5 Boroughs Tour. What was going through your mind on that Bronx stage?
First of all, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my whole career time. I feel great. I’m in a great state of mind and I just feel better than ever. And not to stray off topic, but it is still somewhat on topic, but I’ve always been a fan of 50’s music. If you listen to “Sorry Miss Jackson,” Styles, when he was referring to 50 as a bitch, he said, “Hood used to like the bitch.” That’s because I used to always be talking about son when I would come to the studio, like, ‘Did you hear son’s song? That shit is hard.’ It’s not like I’m just jumping out the window and running to him because I know they have beef and I want to start shit up. It’s not even like that. He had his show there in the Bronx and the Bronx is where I be at when I’m not in YO. So I gave the dudes a call and told them I was in the area and they told me to come through. I came through and that’s what happened.
It seems as though security wasn’t an issue for you that night.
What these dudes and little fans aren’t realizing is that you don’t see me on stage with a million of my niggas. You see me by myself. First of all, a lot of y’all dudes wouldn’t even approach dudes like that if you had so-called “beef” with them. Y’all would be scared. That’s No. 1. All the things people are saying on sites is funny to me. I definitely check the comments and I post comments just to let people know that I am on the site and I’m actually reading.
Did you feel you were unfairly thrown in the D-Block/G-Unit beef two years ago?
This is the thing, whenever you’re in a crew, whether it’s a bike crew or a basketball team or a football team, whoever you’re with, you’re going to ride with your team. If you have a conflict with the opposing team because of the guy that you’re with, then you have a problem with him too. It wasn’t no real beef or real problems. I was never going to take it like that unless my mans wanted to take it like that. It was never a physical thing. It’s nothing to me. It was never no real beef. I see real beef in the ‘hood every day. It was never no real beef. That’s why I was able to stand on stage with them and have a meeting with 50 and talk about things. And just to top it off, I know that people are asking why I met with him because of the beef with D-Block. I met with him. Am I not supposed to meet with 50 Cent just because that was a rival of a team I used to be on? You can’t be serious! If you’re thinking that, you’re ignorant. He’s the owner of a record label and I’m in search of a record deal. That means that I can hold a meeting with them and on top of that, I respect his business and his work ethic. I think he’s a very intelligent individual so why not sit with him along with the people at Capitol, the people at Atlantic, Jay or Diddy or someone?
What are the chances of you signing to G-Unit?
Oh, man, to be honest with you, I never told anybody I was signing to G-Unit. Everybody has their own perception of everything and they blow it out of proportion. It had leaked out that I had the meeting with him and everybody just started running with it. I had other meetings with other people but it just didn’t get leaked out to the press. That just happened to be the only one that got blown out and it got crazy.
Is there a good chance of you signing to G-Unit?
First and foremost, I’m doing the ODG thing, so wherever I go, it’s going to be ODG/Wherever I Go. So as far as the G-Unit thing, it’s a strong possibility that me and him might definitely do business on some type of venture.
What is it about 50 and G-Unit that makes you feel you can go there and not wait around like you did with D-Block?
First of all, I can see that he’s a businessman. He’s into making money. Anybody that’s into making money is not going to sit on projects. He’s a go-getter from what I can see. I don’t know him like that, but from what I can see, it seems like he has his head on his shoulders and that’s what he’s about.
How are your other meetings going?
I got other offers right now and they’re throwing out some pretty good offers. I’m actually not going to take any deals right now. I’m going to wait until the next month to do anything because this is just the beginning stages. If you think this is crazy now, y’all got something to look out for, for real, for real. I got this mixtape coming out called The Rebirth. It signifies the rebirth of a new me. It’s the same dude, just a different outlook and different feelings. It’s a whole new vibe.
Now that you’re not D-Block, how is your music going to change?
You’re going to actually get to know me way more now. As far as the people, you’re going to actually get to know J-Hood and who J-Hood really is. It’s the only legitimate way that I’m going to be able to show the people who exactly I am in this situation right here. They want to know why I left D-Block, what kind of steps I was going through in my life and what wasn’t right and what was right and how I was living. Everybody wants answers to their questions. I’m going to show you who I am and I’m going to tell you what was happening in my life. I’m going to bring everybody into my life and let them know what’s going on.
Even though you’ve released a lot of mixtapes and been featured on a lot of songs, do you feel like fans still don’t know who you are?
Definitely, because I haven’t dropped an album. They may think they know from hearing verses that I threw out on freestyles or albums, but they won’t know until the album officially drops because that’s when I get deep into the songs. I’m actually talking about different things I’ve went through in life and it’s going to hit their ears and they’re going to respect my struggle and the moves I made and they’re going to understand why I did what I did.
How do you feel about Funkmaster Flex saying he won’t play any of your records because, in his words, you “disrespected The Lox”?
I feel if he’s going to make a decision like that based on me going to 50’s show, that’s not being real. DJs play everybody’s music and on top of that, he doesn’t know anything about the situation as far as why I did what I did and how I feel. And it’s evident he doesn’t really care either because he didn’t try to find out the real. He’s correct with the info he thinks he has, which is the incorrect info. But if he really feels like not showing love to an up-and-coming, starving New York artist with skills and the potential to bring the East Coast back, I can’t really argue with that. Someone else will support. The real people will.
Do you feel like a lot of D-Block’s fans are still riding with you?
That’s another crazy thing. There’s like a 50/50 thing going on right now. I gained a couple of different fans, but the guys that were riding with me, they’re still riding with me but the other half is still on some flip-mode stuff. But the people that are flipping, those are the same dudes that were saying, “J-Hood is nasty!” when I was killing it on the Flex freestyles and the other freestyles. It doesn’t make no sense to me. At the end of the day, they should respect what I’m doing. Everybody gets into rap because they want to make money. Of course I love rap, but I have bigger goals than that. I want to be able to feed my family and make us be financially stable. I can’t get that if I’m going to sit here for six years and be stagnant and not do what I’m supposed to do. I’d be shortchanging myself if I did that. I have a sister with autism and my mom is just recovering from liver disease. I have to get money to provide for my family. I would be jerking myself and not being true to myself and my family if I were to just stay there in that situation and not try to look for something better.
From looking at what you’ve been through in the music industry as well as your personal responsibilities, you must feel older than 23.
Yeah. To be honest with you, I feel like I’m Sheek’s age. I feel like I’m about 30-something, for real. And that’s just from hanging around dudes for so long. I was the youngest dude in the crew for a long time, but that’s not a bad thing because I have the knowledge of an older dude and I look at things from a different perspective that all of these other dudes don’t look through.
You’ve been in the game for a long time without ever having a release date. Did you ever want to quit?
Yeah. I honestly felt like, to keep it 100 with you, I felt like quitting a couple of times, like, ‘This is crazy.’ But I refuse to not follow in my dreams when I’ve put that much time into it for this many years just because of the actions of another man. That’s not going to make me quit or make me not want to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for years. That’s when I shook it off. I was like, ‘No how, no ever am I going to quit until I fulfill my destiny.’
What is The Rebirth showing of J-Hood?
Just a new me. You can just expect the unexpected. You’re not going to know what to expect, for real, for real. This is me with the muzzle off. Before I had the muzzle on. Now I just got the muzzle off and I’m speaking my mind, saying what I want to say and I’m very comfortable. I’m at a comfortable stage of my life and I feel great and I want the people to have all the facts. Don’t make a decision without having facts. Don’t try to judge me without knowing what actually happened and my side of the story. I’m not doing what I’m doing for no reason. My house burned down last year and I almost died. A couple of things that should have happened didn’t happen after that. I have a ton of different reasons for doing what I do. The story is crazy. It could actually be in the movies if you really want to be honest. The story is retarded. If people really knew the truth, it would hurt them. At the same time, it would make them have a more deeper respect for me. They’re going to find out. Look forward to this DVD that I’m putting out too. It’s called What Was I Supposed To Do? It’s coming out on October 20.
And The Rebirth is a mixtape, but there are more songs than freestyles. It’s like a Lost Tapes like Nas put out a couple years ago.
When will we see the official J-Hood album?
To be honest with you, I’m trying to get that out before the end of the year. People need that and they’ve been waiting for six years. That’s a bit too long if you ask me. But I’m not mad that I didn’t drop before. Everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t supposed to drop during that time with the people that I was with. The situation wasn’t right. It just adds onto my story now and it makes my story now even that much more better. Now I have more things to talk about. I can just dig deeper in myself and I feel better, point blank. I’m a better man and I’m a better artist and I’m just better, period, now. Everything makes me better. Instead of letting negative things tear me down, I let them build me up and I turn them into positives.
Now that you’re on your own, are you more involved in your business moves?
I’m totally involved and I have total control over everything. That’s the good thing about this situation now. If I’m going to fail, it’s going to be off of a decision I made instead of putting my career in somebody else’s hands and I just let them drop it and fumble it and do whatever they did. I can’t be comfortable with that.
This is really a new chapter in your career. Are you excited about that?
I’m just looking at it now like I’m going to use this to really get what I deserve and what I need out of this game. I’m going to capitalize off of this. This is just the beginning stages. You haven’t seen nothing yet. You definitely haven’t seen nothing yet. Just be on the lookout. This is nothing, man.
Do you have any regrets from the D-Block years?
No, I don’t regret anything from dealing with them. I’m appreciative of everything they ever did for me and the little things that they did do. I’m very appreciative, but it’s time to move on.
Will you have a relationship with Styles, Sheek and Jadakiss in the future?
I got love for Styles and ‘Kiss, ‘Kiss is a cool dude.
When are you dropping The Rebirth?
The Rebirth is actually supposed to drop on Saturday and if not on Saturday, then by Sunday at the latest. And please be on the lookout for The Rebirth. It’s full of surprises on there. You’re going to be very surprised. I know people are probably looking for a D-Block diss on there. Just cop the CD and you’re going to be very surprised when you hear that on top of being very satisfied. And it’s going to make you cop the next one. ODG Entertainment is the people that are presenting it, which is my company. Be on the lookout for everything that we do.
What else is going on with ODG?
To be honest with you, I have a couple of different artists right now. We have a group from North Carolina. We have a guy from ATL, one guy from Grand Rapids, Michigan and one guy from Little Rock, Arkansas and two guys from New York. We have a couple of acts but we’re just mainly focusing on me right now and getting my situation off of the ground and doing what we have to do over here.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Please, just wait. Before you make a decision about who you think I am, just wait until you get the whole story. Never judge a book by what you think the cover looks like. You have to read all of the chapters to understand why the author is writing what he’s writing or why the director is showing you what he’s showing you before you know what the movie’s about. Watch the whole thing before you come to your conclusions.