Hip-hop artist J-Bru to hit the charts with fifth release January 23rd, 2009
By Yvette d’Entremont – The Weekly News
With his megawatt smile and desire to help people through his music, Bedford hip-hop artist Jay Bruce (aka J-Bru) doesn’t fit into any stereotype.
As he strolled through a Halifax mall chatting on his cellphone, J-Bru frequently excused himself to greet the many enthusiastic passersby who wanted to say hello.
In Canadian hip-hop circles, J-Bru is a known entity who often travels and tours with Halifax-based Classified. In addition to a television role and upcoming Canadian and European tours, J-Bru’s fifth studio album, The
Jason LP, is being released on Halflife Records/Sony in April. It will feature a mix of upbeat and “emotional” tracks.
“It’s called The Jason LP because I want people to see me as a human being. Especially in our genre, a lot of rappers say they’re rich and then go home to a bachelor apartment,” he said. “If I live in a bachelor apartment, I say I live in a bachelor apartment.”
J-Bru comes from a family of performers. His brother Jeff Bruce is also a musician. His late grandfather is renowned tap dancer Merrill Bruce, who received an African Nova Scotia Music Association lifetime achievement award earlier this month.
“We’re really proud of that,” he said. One of J-Bru’s most requested songs happens to be his personal favourite. Released in 2007, It’s Rainin’ features former Canadian Idol contestant Jordan Croucher. The track is about J-Bru’s
best friend who committed suicide in 1998, and it touches on what life is like for those left behind.
He wrote and performed another track about battling depression, which also briefly visited the torment he suffered after being abused as a young child. When stakeholders involved with an Ontario-based website called Mind Your Mind heard him perform I Got A Secret two years ago, they asked if he’d consider visiting schools across Canada to speak with teens about depression. He hopes to do that this fall.
“This is a big thing with me that I’m happy to be involved with. I suffered depression and I want to let kids know that it happens to anybody,” he said. “I want them to know they can get help. People say ‘I can’t believe you suffer depression,’ but they only see me upbeat and happy.”
After stints as one of J-Roc’s crew in the first and second Trailer Park Boys movies, J-Bru appears as himself in a television series alongside Keshia Chante and Clay Bennett next month. Soul first airs Feb. 11 on Vision TV. J-Bru’s character will appear in four or five of the six episodes.
J-Bru also started his own label last year. Bru-Print Music has already signed two artists and will promote the new label with the release of an album this summer.
Although he’s happy with his career path so far, J-Bru said he’d like to eventually test the waters and try a solo tour.
“A lot of the stuff I’ve done has been in Classified’s shadow, and that’s not a bad thing because I’ve had a lot of opportunities from knowing and travelling with him,” J-Bru said. “But I’d like to break out and maybe go to the U.S. myself or across Canada myself just to see the response I’d get on my own. He (Classified) embraces that.”