Be the first to rock J-Bru’s new “Canadian Classics” tee!!
A tribute to some of Canada’s great emcees, this shirt is one-of-a-kind!!
Only $25 or $30 with a J-Bru ‘The Jason LP’ cd!!! Anyone ordering the two together will receive an autographed 4×6 J-Bru ‘Movin on Up’ card!!
I am currently on tour with Bone Thugs and Harmony and don’t expect these shirts to last long, so get em while you can!!
You can send money via paypal or Email Money Transfer to email@example.com.
Men’s sizes from small to 3xl and women’s from xs to xl.
To order please send $25 (for shirt) or $30 ( for shirt and cd) to firstname.lastname@example.org. PLease add $11 for shipping.
If you want to send a cheque or money order please email the address above for info.
When ordering please give your full name and address.
Thanks for your continued support.
J-BRU [FEATURED ARTIST OF THE WEEK]
J-Bru grew up as Jason Bruce, an athletic youth whose father was a professional boxer as well as musician with ‘The Valiants’, a soul group formed in Shelburne, NS. A high school and college basketball star, Bruce used athletics to keep his mind off childhood struggles. During his high school years he secretly wrote poetry, and it was then where he started realizing his talent for wordplay. After his stellar college basketball career was over, Bruce started recording music with Classified. His first release “Tell Me What U Like” sold 400 copies hand to hand and his next release “The Fax” sold 700. With growing popularity throughout the east coast of Canada, Bru came back with the critically acclaimed album in 2003 called “Underground MC”. With national distribution and a very busy schedule, Bru managed to sell over 1000 copies. His next release “Identity Crisis” was released on March 27th, 2007. With four hit singles, “Makin People Say”, “It’s Rainin” featuring Jordan Croucher, “What R We Doin” and “Help! I Been Robbed” on rotation at MuchMusic and Much Vibe, J-Bru is steadily becoming a household name. Next up for Bru, The Jason EP, which is scheduled for a summer 2010 release on Bru-Print/Half-Life. The LP promises to be like nothing you have heard from the veteran MC. No glitter, no gold, no holding back! The purpose of this project, “The Jason LP”, is to continue J-Bru’s growing popularity on a national level. After four full length albums, seven cross-Canada tours, two U.S. tours, two international tours, two hit singles, three ECMA nominations, four videofact grants and many more accolades, the Halifax MC is ready to advance to the next level. Listed as one of MuchMusic’s “one’s to watch” in the Hip Hop genre for 2008, J-Bru plans to pick up right where he left off with 2007’s release, “Identity Crisis”. In Canada, video and radio play are very important to its artists. With the limited number of urban radio stations in Canada, J-Bru relies heavily on video spins, and the nation’s youth are responding to and requesting his videos more than ever. After being toted as “The Underground MC”, a moniker he was proud to hold, J-Bru has recently been more radio friendly. The MC hopes to show more of this side on “The Jason LP” via collaborations with some folk and rock acts, as well as his long-time friend, Classified. The purpose in naming the album The Jason LP is that after so many years of displaying the bravado that Hip Hop so desperately tries to keep, J-Bru no longer wants to be a part of it. He just wants to make good music. This new album is not about beats, flows, or generic Hip Hop cockiness. Instead, the project will introduce the world to Jason Bruce, a well-liked “guy next door”, a man who won poetry awards as a youth, and a former college and semi-professional basketball player. Always willing to give back to the community, J-Bru has become a role model over the years, traveling the Maritimes speaking to school children on various topics like black history, self-esteem and Hip Hop music. “The Jason LP” is one of Canada’s best Hip Hop albums and for that we have chosen him as our Featured Artist Of The Week.
The real J-Bru
The Jason LP bridges the gap between the popular party MC and the refreshingly honest rapper.
“I can’t believe you work here,” says an obsessed rap fan to his idol as the fan tries on a new pair of shoes.
For the last nine years Jason Bruce has been leading a double life. During the day he works at Foot Locker in the Halifax Shopping Centre, and at night he is an underground rap legend known as J-Bru, who tours Europe with D12 and Classified.
Gawked at as a celebrity at a shoe store and worshipped by off-the-rocker fans slobbering in hotel lobbies, Bruce remains modest and somewhat astonished by how he far he has come.
“I remember opening for Ludacris and seeing this gigantic crowd and feeling them responding to my lyrics. I opened for Busta and it was the most insane energy. Hearing people in other countries that know every word I say,” says Bruce. “I never thought I would get this far and I can’t describe how happy I’m that I get to do this. After years of grinding my teeth to the gears, I’m hoping that the work is going to pay off.”
Nine years ago, Bruce was a hungry MC looking to get in on the game. He heard about some guy named Classified while riding a bus and chatting it up with his friend Garnet Estabrooks, who happened to be Classified’s manager. Now Bruce is stepping out of his mentor’s shadow and making a name for himself.
With the release of The Jason LP he is bridging the gap between J-Bru and Jason Bruce. Bru is a master of party jams, but over the years has built a reputation as one of the most honest true-to-life MCs to emerge from the Nova Scotian hip-hop scene. This intense honesty comes through on this release.
“I do it just because I love it. If I was doing this for any type of money or attention I would have stopped 10 years ago,” says Bruce. “The biggest thing for me is having a grown man, or a grown woman, telling you your shit helped them through a hard time.”
Take his song “It’s Rainin'” off Identity Crisis, featuring Scotian singing sensation Jordan Croucher. It’s about the painful loss of a close friend to suicide on Bruce’s birthday, and the pain it caused not just Bru but his close friends and family. Bruce rhymes about feelings of betrayal caused by the suicide and the feeling that his life has been taken over by his friend’s death, speaking with an honesty that music often lacks. He believes that rappers need to talk more about their own lives rather than the lives they are pretending to be leading.
“I support myself with a nine-to-five,” says Bruce. “I drive a Honda Accord. In my videos you aren’t going to see me driving a Lexus or wearing chains that don’t belong to me. You watch those videos and you don’t find out who those cats are. Check out The Jason LP and you’ll see me, dents and all.” –Michael Kimber
So it’s time to hit the road again. I’ll be touring with Classified and some surprise guests, and I’ve got a whole new set ready to rock for y’all!
It’s the That Ain’t Classy tour, and here are the dates:
Thursday March 24th, 2011 Sherbrooke PQ The Gait
Friday March 25th, 2011 Peterborough The Venue
Saturday March 26th, 2011 Toronto ON The Sound Academy
Tuesday March 29th, 2011 Kitchener ON Elements
Wednesday March 30th, 2011 London ON London Music Hall
Thursday March 31th, 2011 Brantford ON Club NV
Friday April 1st, 2011 Ottawa ON Capital Hall
Saturday April 2nd, 2011 Montreal PQ Club Soda
Monday April 4th, 2011 St.Catharines ON Baracudas
Tuesday April 5th, 2011 North Bay ON Captial Centre
Thursday April 7th, 2011 Thunder Bay ON Crocks
Friday April 8th, 2011 Winnipeg MB Garrick Centre
Saturday April 9th, 2011 Saskatoon SK The Patricia Hotel
Monday April 11th, 2011 Grande Prairie ALTA Better Than Fred’s
Wednesday April 13th, 2011 Red Deer ALTA The Club
Thursday April 14th, 2011 Calgary ALTA Whiskey
Friday April 15th, 2011 Lethbrdige ALTA The Stone
Saturday April 16th, 2011 Edmonton ALTA The Starlite Room
Monday April 18th, 2011 Nanaimo BC The Queens
Tuesday April 19th, 2011 Victoria BC Club 9ONE9
Wednesday April 20th, 2011 Whistler BC Garfinkels
Thursday April 21st, 2011 Vancouver BC The Venue
For VIP tickets, hit up Class’ Site,or check your local listing for regular tickets. If you want to rock to my new shit make sure you get my album, The Jason LP, in stores or online at Halflife Records or ITunes!
I also will have lots of merch for y’all to grab at the shows and rep the “Got Bru?” movement!!
One love, One life, One hip hop!!
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.”
Halifax, NS – J-Bru has long been in the wings of budding Eastern Canadian rapping sensation, Classified. But, now, 9 years after he first started rhyming, J-Bru is set to launch to the next level. He’s got a video for “The Fax” about to hit MuchMusic and he’s got singles charting in the top 40 in NYC alongside other acts like DMX. Watch for the album to hit stores by June and he’ll follow that up on tour with Kardinal Offishall or Choclair.
HipHopCanada: State your name, age, occupation…
J-Bru: The name’s J-Bru. I’m 27 years old. I’ve been rhyming for about 9 years. I started to DJ in ’92 and started rhyming in ’94.
HipHopCanada: When can we expect the revamped The Fax album to drop?
J-Bru: Actually, it’s now called Underground MC. It’ll be in stores June 23rd but people who want a pre-store copy can come to my CD release party on May 29th in Halifax.
HipHopCanada: Alright, cool. For the re-release, are you re-recording anything or just adding new tracks?
J-Bru: I’m adding new tracks and the video for “The Fax” which is gonna be out on MuchMusic in June. I did a remix (of “The Fax”) with Spesh K and Classified. Then I’m redoing one more song. So other than that, it’s mostly just new tracks.
HipHopCanada: What can we expect from Underground MC?
J-Bru: On Underground MC I think I stepped out of the “underground” mold. Some people label underground hip-hop as dudes freestylin all day, battlin and shit. But since I toured with Classified and Spesh K in the US, I see Underground as a whole different thing. Like for me, underground just means that I haven’t really broke out on an international level. Once that happens, I don’t think my music will change, but if I’m not underground anymore, then I guess my music is unlabelable – if that’s a word. [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: So, tell me about the video for “The Fax”.
J-Bru: It’s already shot and is being edited right now.
HipHopCanada: Who’d you shoot it with?
J-Bru: Douce Productions with Scott Doucette.
HipHopCanada: Where are they from?
J-Bru: He’s from Halifax. Actually, he owns the chain of stores: Mary Jane’s Smokeshops.
HipHopCanada: How did you get hooked up with Deuce Productions to shoot the video?
J-Bru: I met Douce on a college tour we did. I played him a “just done” copy of “The Fax” and he loved it. He said he could definitely see a video being made between us. I was like cool, let’s do it.
HipHopCanada: What’s the concept behind the video and the song? “The Fax”, does that represent Halifax?
HipHopCanada: Or is it a play on words?
J-Bru: Nah, to be honest how it started was, a lot of emcees from Halifax were calling Halifax ‘Haltown’, ‘Hali’ and this and that. I just wanted to flip it and see if I could get some guys to see it my way. Basically the song is about the fun in Halifax in a light manner.
HipHopCanada: It’s always nice to see artists come with their own originality and not follow the trends. Can we expect that from the rest of the album?
J-Bru: Oh yeah! I’ve got slow songs. I’ve got girl-orientated songs. I got hard songs. I’m just diverse.
HipHopCanada: Did you have a couple tracks on a Platinum Plus Chapter?
J-Bru: Yeah, the Platinum Plus compilation. That’s actually my record label in Dayton, Ohio. Basically, they wanted to showcase all the artists on the label, so I happen to have three tracks on the compilation.
HipHopCanada: I’ve seen some reviews, and they liked your stuff a lot more than everybody elses. So, that’s like a boost to your self-confidence. And to have that contact in Ohio…
J-Bru: I’ve seen some of those reviews too. There are some artists that aren’t on my level because I’ve been doing this for years. Basically, there’s myself and a guy named Tezzie who are the headliners of the record label. Then they got some young guys who are just coming up. I kind of expected my shit to be the best on there.
HipHopCanada: Yeah, for young cats, there’s definitely a whole learning process they gotta go through.
J-Bru: Yeah, it definitely takes time, but we’re starting to see big dividends from it actually.
HipHopCanada: So, for Underground MC, when can we expect the finished album to be released?
J-Bru: The finished version. Watch for it at the end of June. June 23rd.
HipHopCanada: Do you have distribution for the album yet?
J-Bru: Yeah, through Iron Fist (US label in Ohio) and through NoDistribution in Halifax through Spesh K.
HipHopCanada: So you’ll have it hooked up in the states too.
J-Bru: Oh yeah, and there’s actually a group called Movement Records that I’m working with. Actually, I’ve already had two tracks from the old version of The Fax on the top 40 of the Twins radio show in NYC. I was pushing that back in October. I had independent track of the week with “The Fax”, then “Cocky As Ever” and “Champion” both made the top 40.
HipHopCanada: Who else would have been on the charts, to give some comparison?
J-Bru: Oh, Classified had a song on there. Nelly, DMX… The last time I checked it was #21 and there was a Nelly song at #22, so it’s right up there.
HipHopCanada: You’ve been beside Classified for a long time now. In fact, when I think of Classified, I associate J-Bru with Classified. Do you ever feel like you’re still in his shadow?
J-Bru: You know what. I do sometimes. I’m his right-hand man. I’m with him thick and thin, and it just so happens that he’s starting to blow up. If I gotta ride the coat-tails for awhile, then it’ll pay off in the end. But if you hear this new album, I’m straight steppin out the box with a new sound. So there’s no doubt when you hear it you can’t say I’m in anyones shadow, but on the real, Class’s new album (Trial and Error) is the bomb. I can see that shit goin gold easily dogg.
HipHopCanada: So did Classified do a lot of production on your album?
J-Bru: Out of the 17 songs, he produced probably about 6. I got Trobiz, who did 4 songs. I got Jabba from the UK, Tech Thai from PEI and I produced about 5 myself.
HipHopCanada: Is this your first time producing?
J-Bru: For my own album, yeah. I’ve produced for a couple other artists, but never before for myself. I didn’t feel I was on that level yet… but now I’m starting to get there.
HipHopCanada: Before I forget, what’s up with the Blazin Js (J-Bru, Jay Bizzy, Ebony and Big J)?
J-Bru: We’re on a hiatus right now. Big J moved away and Jay Bizzy’s in the city, but we just haven’t been able to hook up.
HipHopCanada: Do you think that Jay Bizzy got the response to his album (Hard Rhymes in the Maritimes) that he was hoping for?
J-Bru: No. That album was crazy, but when you live in Halifax, you gotta look past Halifax. And not to disrespect him, but he didn’t do that. There’s too many haters here. But actually, Ebony from Blazin Js is also my brother. We formed a new group called DT, which stand for Double Trouble. Ebony, my brother, is the R&B guy from the Blazin Js. So, we’ll probably have our album out in September. That album’s gonna be crazy! We’ve done some shit already and it sounds kinda like Best of Both Worlds (Jay-Z & R. Kelly). I liked that album, but at the same time I didn’t. But with us, it’s gonna be different, better… On the real though, Jay Bizzy’s album was the best album I ever heard from someone doin his first album independantly.
HipHopCanada: I always find that some of the best chemistry comes from brothers. For example, Class working with his brother Mic B. I’ve worked with my brother on tracks. It’s just a special chemistry.
J-Bru: Yeah, especially how he’s an R&B cat. But he’s not your typical R&B cat. He’s more of a TQ type, on that thug type shit. Regardless, we mesh well together. We’ve kinda got the reputation in the city of doing party jams and I’m comfortable with that.
HipHopCanada: Yeah, on the whole, it just diversifies yourself as an artist… From being Classified’s right hand man, to putting out your own album that has singles doing well on their own and then you come back with an R&B collaboration.
J-Bru: When that album drops, it’s gonna be crazy, head ain’t ready dogg.
HipHopCanada: What events/things are in the works for J-Bru? Another video? Collaborations?
J-Bru: I’m doing crazy shows this summer. I got a DVD being shot right now that will be released with the album; 2 more videos to be shot within the next 3 months; and I’m looking at a colabo with a real big ‘old school’ MC for the next album. I can’t tell ya who though.
HipHopCanada: Cool. Anything you’d like to add? Website, email, things like that.
J-Bru: Check out j-bru.com It’s not up yet, but it should be up real soon. And then there’s jbru.ca as well. DT, Double Trouble. That album’s coming in September. Watch for my solo album, J-Bru ‘Underground MC’ and the video coming in June for “The Fax”. My DVD hits the streets in June too. And check out Classified’s new album, the world ain’t ready for this shit!
Written by Troy Nielson for HipHopCanada
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.
Halifax, NS – J-Bru is getting ready to drop his Jason LP this July 13th and he’s releasing a series of promo videos to get the buzz going. This is the first video. Look out for the new album! Stay tuned to HipHopCanada for an exclusive interview with J-Bru and more info about the Jason LP.