Trailblazer, JT Money, Talks About Music & Life Evolving.
JT Money, a lyrical pariah in the music industry, hit the scene back in the early 90’s, after being discovered by Luke Skywalker [Uncle Luke] at a Miami based talent show. Luke signed JT and another rapper named Debonair, forming the hip hop group Poison Clan.
“What made me get into the rap game is because I didn’t see dudes like myself on records yet. I didn’t see dudes that I grew up watching. There are different types of dudes in Miami than what you’d see in California or New York,” says JT. “At the time, I just wanted to represent us.”
Poison Clan released 2 Low Life Muthas in 1990. However, before the Poison Clan could get a record-breaking hit, Debonair and another member from the group, Drugzie, absconded. That was no sweat off JT’s back. It was a loss, but a small thing to a giant. JT is a lyrical diamond in the rough who ascended from the rogue patches of Miami. He was a hustler by default, so it was nothing for him to keep the ball rolling with other hungry rappers in the game.
The breakout for Poisonous Mentality shook things up in Miami, but the banger from the album did even more. Shake WhatCha Mama Gave Ya listed in XXL Magazine as top 250 hip hop songs of the 90’s. The members released a few more records.
Outgrowing the faction, JT went solo, and released Pimpen on Wax, with Who Dat as the buzzer from the record, featuring Solé. Blood Sweat and Years  served as the follow up album.
Who Dat was a commercialized sensation. Astoundingly, when the visuals for the track premiered, it created an epic frenzy where Redskins wide-receiver, Deion “Prime-Time Neon- Deion” Sanders would do the dance from the video after making a successful interception or touchdown. The song was an ego jouster at best. Probably one of the better points of summer 2000—The song liberated listeners to get hype and go AAWF as soon as the intro hit. When JT Money’s verse came on, that was interpretation to turn up five-thousand notches.
The trendsetter is working on new material that’s different than his older music. For instance, his collabo with LiL Dred called Party Party Party, sparks with a sample from Before I Let Go [Frankie Beverly and Maze]. The song is mellow and more relaxed, compared to JT's dramatized introductions from the 90’s.
“Me, personally, I want a party banger, because you get people vibing and they actually hear what you’re saying. The concept behind the record is bridging the gap between the old-school and the new school, these millennials. They’ve heard the music, but not in its entirety. The old school doesn’t believe that the newer generation is expressive enough. I wanted to bridge the gap where we can come together. I just want to motivate the younger generation and inspire them, and they receive it. They think they’ve already made it when they put out a single. They don’t even know that next year, it might be another person and another song.
Currently, I’m working on ‘Return of The Bizzer Reloaded,' and one of the singles I’m pushing form the album is 'Party, Party, Party.' I did the first CD, 'Let Her Go' with Koly P. I’m putting this album together, but I’m not rushing it. People are waiting for it, but I’m trying to do a classic. I’m not trying to do one single. I want to enjoy the ride. Also, two of my sons make music. Once I get this going, I want to focus on them and get them going. With the music I’m doing today, its not about me. It’s about me setting it up for them tomorrow. I want to feature them on the tracks, take them out on the road, and let them start networking by understanding what it takes to make it happen.”
Lil Dred Featuring JT Money
Let Her Go with Koly P.
JT is inspired by family. Family is his driving force to do great things. It’s not because he feels an impending need to take care of everyone. He’s birthed from a linage of hard working successors. If anything, he wants to keep that legacy going.
“We have family reunion and gatherings. That’s when you really see me being myself, getting loose and cutting up. I be on the floor jugging,” laughed JT.
According to the rapper, he’s all about being professional, and creating opportunities for the younger generation. He said that if he could encourage rappers like Kodak Black, who seems to stay on the radar for bad press, he would.
“His work ethic is good, but his PR, his publicist, isn’t working. You must learn publicity, and you must learn couth. Arrogance doesn’t work. You must have respect. I’m convinced that he doesn’t have the right people around him. You know when they say bad publicity is good? I think someone told him that. So, now, he’ the a**hole. I believe he needs a playa on his team, an O.G to pull his coattail; but, his work ethic seems like it’s on point. I would encourage that side. I would tell him, “Keep going. If you’re making music, you don’t have time to make a mess. I think that might be the answer. Humble yourself a little bit. I’m not saying tuck ya tail and bow down. I’m saying, greet people with respect.”
While JT had words of encouragement for Kodak Black, he stumbled upon his own moments of clarity while surfing in the music industry.
“The first day I realized it wasn’t about me. It was a whole network of people doing their job to make this thing hot. My job was to give them something to sell, a product. Now, things pop on the internet. Joe Blow is getting twenty-thousand a night and they [promoters] want to give you twenty-five-hundred, twenty-three, and fifteen-hundred. Then, you explain to them that you worked hard and they should give more. They will tell you, “Well, it ain’t that today You aren’t drawing that [number] today.’ That’s a moment of clarity. That’s humility. It’s humbling. Everybody will go through it and they will get through that point eventually. I survived that era. I’m working my way back into the game. That’s something real. I’ve always been cool. I’ve never burned bridges with people, thinking I was the man. That’s continuous work. You got to realize that there’s always someone coming for your spot. You could be the man right now, but you’re inspiring somebody else to want that. It might not be necessary, but they are coming for it. They got to get it.
'One of the main lessons that I learned and I preach this to the young soldiers is, “learn the business so you can see your money. Count your money. Learn to read paperwork.”
JT confirmed that Who Dat was a game-changer in the 90’s because that’s during the time that music began to evolve.
“It was starting to get crunk, and then with it [Who Dat] being commercialized, I was dealing with the majors because we got the machine behind the record. Luke had a label, but that was different. I was under Priority Records and all they had to do was push a button and then it hit every radio station that night, and the same with the video. We toured and went to a lot of cities, taking pictures with fans. During that time, we had to work. I think in today’s music; a lot of Cats don’t want to do the work. You have this internet, and the internet will make you a start overnight; then, you go viral, and then you’re on. Back then, we didn’t have internet or YouTube. We barely had cell phones. If we talk about all the things that a cell phone does today, everything is a short a version of what it was back then. They don’t need a video for their phone. They just want the breakdown, beats and hooks.”
Speaking of lyrical conquests, JT's most memorable collaboration is with Too Short. He would love to link up with Trick Daddy.
“I was on his [Trick Daddy’s] first album. In Miami, I have a single out with Lil Dred, he’s a young dude coming up. He’s doing big things in Miami, so I had to work with him. I like Pickalo. He’s an unsigned, phenom. I like Iceberg, and as far as the Miami scene goes, there in line for what’s due to them. If they keep working at it, they are going to get it. I believe that.”
Every rap generation has an icon that died suddenly and sometimes violently. Easy E died in the early 90's after finding out he had full blown AIDS. Mid 90’s, both Tupac Shakur and Notorious Big, were gunned down in California. In 2002, Jam Master Jay was gunned down in his recording studio in New York, and in 2002, Pimp C passed away due to complications of sleep apnea.
Each rapper, left a hollow mark in hip hop after they died. However, it wouldn’t be until the untimely death of Nipsey Hussle, that entire world from America to Eritrean [North East Africa, would feel pain and revelation after his murder.
“First, I want to [say] RIP [to] Nipsey Hussle. But, it [his death] hurt me, and I never met the dude. After seeing the impact, he had on the game and the influence he had in his community, it motivated me to go back out to the neighborhood. I’m a hood-rat, I’m always in the hood, but, actually doing things—Buying up the corners. I used to tell them dudes who was hustling, that If they wanted to buy the block, but it. I could’ve bought it. But, I didn’t have the time. He inspired me and motivated me to want to do something for all these little shorty’s and little knuckleheads around here, to get them back on the right track. The culture took a loss or hit [when Nipsey Hussle died], or if you believe in everything happens for a reason and God’s divine order, maybe that’s what it took to get us to this mind state. It’s different ways to look at it.”
‘”I want to do something else, and I know I gotta weed through a lot of people,” shares the rapper when asked about his philanthropic goals. “I want to put money behind the dream. If I know that you went to trade school, I want to help fund you after you start your own business whether it’s just to secure an office. I want to invest in those properties or whatever they need to help them get started. Everyone don’t want to be a rapper. There are people who want to do other things, and start firms. If I can help them in that way of financing, I’m all for it. Again, a lot of people just be talking especially if they know you’re trying to give away money. It’s like Shark Tank."