MIND YOUR MIND
From the hip hop scene in East Coast Canada, J-Bru has released four rap albums to date and has shared a stage with other rappers such as, Nas, Ludacris and Busta Rhymes, to name a few. Working closely with Canadian rapper Classified, J-Bru has produced many tracks about real life experiences, such as the loss of friends, his battle with depression and his experience with sexual abuse as a child. He describes depression as
“…lying in bed all day moping or thinking really crazy stuff that I could never tell anyone about.”
Find out how he deals with challenges and what gives him hope…
mym: Four albums to date and a spot on the Canadian hip hop music scene, you have your own record label, Bru-Print Entertainment, and also continue to work closely with Classified and Half-Life Records. What inspired you to become a hip hop artist?
J-Bru: Well, first off I changed the name of my label to Bru-Print Music. I have worked with Class since early 1999 and have been proud to see the Half-Life movement grow everyday. What inspired me to pursue a career as an MC was as a youth I spit rhymes for fun and wrote poetry a lot. But sports was always my sanctuary. As a college basketball player, I thought my meal ticket was hoops until I suffered a devastating Achilles injury in 1999 and with a year off from sports, I decided to pursue my dream of being a hip hop artist. I got hooked up with Class shortly after and the rest is history.
mym: You’ve now shared a stage with artists such as Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and most recently, Nas – any best memories from touring or being on the road? What was it like opening for these artists?
J-Bru: It is always a great experience opening for bigger artists because most of them you admire so much. My best memory was during one of three shows I opened for The Game he stood in the lobby and was baby talking his girlfriend at the time (singer Mya). I always liked his music but knew him as such a gangster rapper and to see him baby talking Mya right in front of me let me know that people are people, no matter how they appear in their music.
mym: Do you think music can inspire & motivate others? How has it changed who you are as a person & artist?
J-Bru: Music does nothing but inspire. Everyone has a song or two that reminds you of an ex or a death of a close friend etc. Music is like a time table through life. It’s funny because I can hear an old song and remember where I heard it for the first time or what I used to do when that song came on. As an artist, I wouldn’t say music changes me at all because I don’t try to sound like anybody out there so no matter where the hip hop sound goes, I tend to keep my music the same. However, as a person, music has given me experiences I wouldn’t have had normally. I have traveled North America; I have met several superstar actors or singers. I live an exciting life at times and I have music to thank. As a music fan though, it has changed me because as music evolves, so do I. I have been abusive to myself in the past and at times still am, but I can hear a certain song at any given time and the lyrics make me want to be a better person. I have people come up to me and say ‘I Got A Secret’ changed their life because it made them want to tell someone about their abuse. Every time I hear that I change for the better.
mym: You’ve mentioned that you have suffered from depression for many years. What does depression look like for you? What is it that keeps you motivated and positive?
J-Bru: Depression for me is lying in bed all day moping or thinking really crazy stuff that I could never tell anyone about. I lived in a spot once with no hot water or heat for almost three months and I didn’t even realize it. I just laid in bed with my dog and went through spells of crying all day to the point that I still have bags under my eyes, and that was like six years ago.
mym: Your song, “I got a secret” is about your depression and also about your experience with sexual abuse. What advice would you give to someone who feels they are in danger from the people they trust? What’s something that helps you now in dealing with the effects of that abuse?
J-Bru: Well, firstly, you have to talk about the abuse with somebody. I didn’t tell anyone for almost 20 years after the fact and by the time I actually realized what had happened to me as a kid, I was already messed up from it. Without getting too graphic, for years I would see my abuser while engaged in sexual acts with other women. Something that helps me now is just the fact that I talked about it. I used to be so embarrassed by the effects that I couldn’t tell a sole, but now after seeing that I have gone through the same thing as millions of other people, it helps to know that I may be able to help others in this regard.
mym: What gives you hope?
J-Bru: I get hope from forgiveness. I still hold harsh feelings inside for my abuser, however, I had to forgive her in order to move on with my life and get better.
mym: What can we look forward to in the future from J-Bru? Any new albums in the making or tours?
J-Bru: I am working on my new album, titled The Jason LP. I called it that because fans don’t ever see you as a real person when you are on that stage performing. Well, for this record I wanted them to get to know me. Not the emcee that has four videos or tours with Classified, but Jason Bruce, the guy who grew up in Nova Scotia and made something of himself. I will also be touring with Class again this fall as well as putting out a few artists under my Bru-Print label. You have to stay busy to last in this business so you don’t fade away, so that is what I am doing.
mym: Any words to live by?
J-Bru: Don’t let an illness control you. I still go through some tough times when I am by myself at home, but when I am out I talk to people and surround myself with good people, so I don’t have time to be sad. I guess what I am saying is if being with your friends makes you happy, hang out with them more. At this point in my life, I have albums to record, I play baseball twice a week, I play in 2 pool leagues, I try to hang with my friends at least once a week. Busy, busy, busy, that is how I am beating this depression. Not saying this method is for everyone, but it works for me.