Patience is a virtue, a lesson Seattle rapper J. Pinder is very familiar with. At 23-years-old, he has made this the backbone of his creative endeavors, and along with advisory from some of “The Towns” more influential individuals (producers Vitamin D, Jake One and cultural ambassador Jonathan Moore), he has become one of the Emerald City’s most prized emcee’s. 2010’s Code Red EP was proof of this, as it displayed a project that was well-crafted as well as an artist knowledgeable beyond his years. Now on the heels of his new album Careless, J. Pinder looks to expand his brand of music beyond the walls of the Northwest.
Speaking with DXnext, J. Pinder discussed his growth since Code Red, what fans can expect on his new album Careless, and why he plans to hang up the microphone by the age of 30.
Mentorship From Seattle’s Elite: “Everything that those guys ever said to me or taught me made me what I am now. Just them being legends around the area that I’m from and also who do larger scale things, they’ve taught me everything that I know about the music business and music history. The reason why I create music the way I do is because of them. I’m not trying to create bullshit raps or whatever; I’m trying to create positive music that builds onto Hip Hop and Soul music and everything else. Without those guys I probably wouldn’t have that perspective and live the way that I live.”
On Code Red: “Code Red was a bunch of different projects before it was Code Red. It was gonna be my first album and then it turned into an EP because I went back and forth with a bunch of different songs. I would cut stuff out and add other stuff, and the goal was just to get it out and let people hear it.
I’m my worst critic, man. A lot of those songs that were on Code Red were two years old, three years old, and a lot of songs on my new project Careless are two years old, so I’m definitely a perfectionist. I like to sit and really plan out what I want [the songs] to be even though they’ll never be perfect. I definitely see all the errors in the music that I’m making now and in things that I made back then.”
Finding Inspiration With A Trip To Atlanta: “That was dope. Most of my immediate family is from Alabama and Atlanta, and the main producer that I work with, Kuddie Fresh, is based out of Atlanta as well. So I went down there sort of in a transitional phase to see what was next after Code Red, just trying to get some new inspiration. It was dope that I was able to spend time with family, but also check out the scene. It helped me creatively to get to where I wanted to go next.”
Expanding His Name Through Touring: “It’s something that I’ve been waiting for, just the opportunity to get outside of Seattle. I’m a huge advocate of getting outside of what you know. I think the best way for Seattle rappers to ‘make it’ for a lack of a better word, is to get out in front of new people. I didn’t necessarily have that opportunity before and I didn’t see a point to perform in front of my friends every weekend. During that time I fell back and perfected my craft…It was all part of a bigger vision and I knew it would happen.”
Choosing Fin Records: “At first I wasn’t sure. You go to a sit down with anybody who’s interested, you’re skeptical. But the way they operate at Fin [Records] is very artist-friendly, more than any label I’ve ever had experience with or heard about. Just being an artist and having complete control, whether it be business or your art, it’s all there at Fin. So that was the perfect situation for me.”
Growth In Between Projects: “I think I’ve experienced more growth as a person than I have as an artist. When Code Red came out I was about 21-years old. Now at 23, my perspective is just different. It’s way different. I’m more mature; I do things differently, I think of things differently and I believe in different things, so that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve worked on as a person and as an artist, just continuing to grow and perfect what I do, not just in music.”
On Calling His Album Careless: “I just felt like today people are more careless, whether it’s an artist making music but not really thinking about what he’s making or thinking about the consequences of his family or fans. Or a teenage girl having an abortion or getting pregnant. It’s not preachy at all; it’s very listenable. And I’m definitely trying to get a message across.”
The Seattle Hip Hop Scene: “I see it growing in the way that we’ve always wanted it to grow. We’ve been patient. Everybody here has wanted Seattle to blow up and all that, but we weren’t ready. And we’re still not ready, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been. So I’m definitely excited to see a lot of these new artists that are coming out of Seattle. It’s exciting, and the music is blossoming.”
Avoiding Pitfalls Within Success: “You hear about successful artists talking about their struggles, and as I grow in my success and see everyone around me changing, I realize it isn’t what you dreamed it to be. It’s a challenge to try and figure out and balance your happiness…I’m still trying to learn everything and figure out what’s real and what’s TV. There’s no better way to learn than on your own and by making mistakes in my personal opinion.”
What The Future Holds: “I’m still trying to envision everything that I want to do. I’m a huge behind the scenes guy, and I like producing. I like helping others, so I could definitely see producing and owning a label at some point. I’m blessed that I’ve been able to put out one project and have people appreciate what I have to say. It’s nothing but extra credit to be able to put out multiple projects. I don’t see myself rapping by age 30; I feel like Rap ends there for me. I just want to know that I really tried to help the culture.
Overall I think there are more important things in life than me being selfish and rapping and doing all the things that I’m doing now. It’s my time to be selfish, and chase my dreams and do what I want to do. But there’s definitely a higher calling that I’ll attend to when the time comes.”