The first time I saw Tough Junkie he was performing with Mas Appeal in the group Simple Complexity. I had read about them in a Section 8 Magazine article by Ms. Rivercity. Simple Complexity was part of the entertainment for a burgeoning political party’s summer event. I remember that I enjoyed their performance immensely and Tough Junkie’s path and mine would cross many times after that.
I had come to know Tough Junkie first as a fan having gone to many of his shows, and later as a hawker selling his cds. We had talked a few times and I have gotten to know the person behind the myth, who is more than you’d expect for he is an extremely intelligent and talented person. Section 8 Magazine even had the pleasure of him being part of the line up at our Section 8 Magazine party in 2008.
What he brings to the hip hop community is a style uniquely his own, and in my humble opinion, a great producer of beats in that he is different from the industry standard as he follows the beat to his own drum. He shatters the mold of conventionality and is so far out of the box that it can only be described as Tough Junkie.
- How did you come by the name Tough Junkie?
It was a name chosen out of tragedy. I had a former name that was being claimed in school by another brother. We battled. He lost but I let him keep the name. Junkie was the adaptation.
- How long have you been doing this and when was it you first realized this is what you want to do?
I have been writing since about 6 yrs. old and producing since 1998. It became a serious thing when I was helping a homie out of a rough pitch and the music moneys made it easy to do.
- How do you describe your musical style and what is the message you are bringing to the listener?
JunkSoul. I see the music as a fusion of Blues, Jazz, Funk, Soul, and a sprinkle of crack to make the complete Hip Hop experience come alive. The message is simply. Live and enjoy life.
- Since you’ve been making beats and rapping who/what would you say is most instrumental/inspiring to you? Why?
The people around me are the resource. Nothing is better than a true story.
- Who are your favorite artists? Why?
Jon Brion, Devin Tha Dude, Avishai Cohen, Anita Baker, and Burt Bacharach. Reason: They are the top picks now. This will change quarterly.
- What would you say is the most important thing you have learned in all the time you’ve been making music?
Be accountable. What I do, people see it. I live what I preach. Say what you mean and you will never have anything to prove. Be accountable for your ways, words, and actions.
- As a producer what do you like the most and what do you like the least?
I like everything.
- As a performer what do you like the most and what do you like the least?
Again, I like everything.
- When you perform in public how would you describe the experience?
I have fun most of the time. Fun would be the word.
- When doing a show what has been your best experience and your worst?
Best: Everyone in eye sight dancing with us while we perform.
Worst: Being blamed for stealing the house DJ’s needles.
- You have worked with other groups, on collaborations, and as a solo artist, do you prefer working with a group or solo? Why?
I have no preference. As long as the music is made, I am a happy music man.
- Having worked with other groups and on collaborations who would you like to work with again?
Working with everyone now. I don’t really cut ties with folks I work with.
- How do you feel about the independent hip-hop community in general, and specifically how it is in, and affects Jacksonville?
I love it. There is a time and place for everything. And we actually get to see it unfold as a multi-grouped genre now.
- What do you recommend for the young artist just getting started?
Eat good food and stay out of trouble.
- How do you balance your music with other obligations?
Music is a part of the day. The way, in which, we make time and space for a day job is the same way that I approach the music. It is a part of life.
- Would you say that being in this industry has changed you, and if so how?
Travel. I have gone to more places and met good people because of this music.
- If you could rewind time and do anything over again would you?
Nope. I’m never wrong. (fires poisonous dart)
- What are you currently working on?
Working on a 4 Volume Beat Project, 2 solo albums, 2 crew albums and 4 joint artist projects. Including a new FunkMunster with Larry Otis.
- What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever agreed to?
Sex. Though it is an awesome situation, sex will make you miss meetings, abandon your friends, forget to eat, drop money, and send anatomically correct ken doll pics via text. I have never taken or sent such a picture, but you get the idea.
- Lastly, is there anything you’d like our Section 8 Magazine readers to know about Tough Junkie?
I know how to make eggrolls. The trick is egg batter as the glue.
If you would like to know more about Tough Junkie and what he’s doing you can check him out on his website ffjbmusic.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo.
Listen to Tough Junkie’s on toughjunkie.bandcamp.com, Spotify, Rhapsody, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and Bandmix. Like Tough Junkie’s music? You can buy and download his music on iTunes and Amazon.