7 Questions with Mr. J. Medeiros: Art of Broken Glass EP

Trey: So what have you been up to these days? What’s fresh? What’s exciting? What’s not so exciting?

Mr. J.: Well, I took a year off from touring to get some things in order, make some music, read some books, gain weight, lose weight, make some friends, record music, and try to grow as a songwriter/M.C.. I am a solo artist with a solo career now and I had to get in the mind state and start thinking about who I am as a musician. Everything has been exciting, not a dull moment, not yet…not when you’re inside your head 24 hours a day pulling at the sword in the stone.

Trey: Can you tell us a little bit about The Art of Broken Glass. What was the inspiration behind the project?

Mr. J.: I ran across Boonie Mayfield’s YouTube page while surfing around for videos of people falling at wedding parties. I was drawn to the energy he brought to his MPC and when I found out he was from my birth town, I was like YO! We gotta work together! Come to find out he had a ton of beats up his sleeve and that he dug my rap style, so there we have it. I used “The Art of Broken Glass” to push me as a rapper, hoping to really tap into some of things I have been thinking of doing concept and pattern wise. I hit a wall a couple months prior to writing for the EP and I think Boonie’s beats helped me break through it.

Trey: I wasn’t familiar with Boonie Mayfield’s range before I got my hands on this. I was extremely impressed with the instrumentals and mixing that went into this EP. The way I’d describe it is sophisticated, mature, and multi-layered almost bordering on experimental, cause the stuff I was hearing before you lay down the beat track…it doesn’t sound like it should be hip hop, but it sounded great. How would you distinguish Mayfield from other DJs and beat mixers you’ve worked with?

Mr. J.: Thank you, that’s a compliment indeed. I’m not sure what sounds or doesn’t sound hip hop, I just know I love to rap and make music. I view myself as a song writer first and that plays a big role in how I approach being an M.C.. Boonie’s beats leave a lot of space for melody arrangement and make a ton of room for experimenting with rhyme schemes and patterns. For example, I had four choruses in mind and three different verses ready for the song “The Measure” before I recorded its final draft. I had a hard time picking which sounded better. It wasn’t until I heard Jonathan Korsyzk sing one of the parts where I was like….yes!…press record! (Jonathan has a distinct voice. You should see more from him and I. I hope soon). It’s great to work with a producer that shares a similar mood and energy. The EP’s sound is thick, layered, and hopefully mature – I’m getting older, a lot more out of the “scene,” into myself, and what I wanna sound like regardless of what’s going on. I’m not sure if that’s experimental though, I think it’s just honest.

Trey: You did a very significant song on “Of Gods and Girls” called “Constance.” It got a lot of attention for the subject matter it addressed. Are you still involved with that kind of work or has your focus these days shifted?

Mr. J.: As you can hear in the lyrics of The Art of Broken Glass, I’m still very much involved with the theme of social justice. What draws this EP away from songs like “Constance,” “Life Of Brian,” “American Fado,” and my new song “So” (an exclusive track available on my site), however, is that I chose to tell these stories in a different way. I love to write storylines and specific characters. It’s my heart, but sometimes I like to write in symbols, in parts, focusing more on the “spirit” of the issue and not on the individual involved. I guess artistically it’s a “macro” view. I view all my songs as “significant” – personally…but it’s the listener who judges for themselves how they would like to receive their information. I don’t see “Constance” as having any more value then “American Fado” (on 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents) or “The Measure” (The Art Of Broken Glass), I just think “Constance” may be easier to follow and it’s definitely a popular subject, given the timing and its accessibility it would just make sense that it would get the attention it did. If you take a look at some of the lyrics to “The Measure” on The Art of Broken Glass, I think you can see where my heart is…

Dead or alive these presidents will never represent me
Whether a rented Bentley leather seats can’t measure me as man correctly
If ever treasure tempt me I handle the pressure sent me
Heightened thrill the pleasure met thee iron will Heaven lent me
I am still your brethren said he will you defend me said she
Who rules the bread we empty enemies turn friends to envy
The worst of ends defend means who curse the land and further
Reversing man to when he first had used his hands to murder
Unearthing plans to merger ego and moral rogue
Some words advance the cursor just below the moral code
I search for answers worthy trust me on this normal road
Lust leads like a cancer turning us from what we’ve always known
Be the dust in a box a floral home reading the crux on your rock
“I’m all alone”, skip the formal tone sin is not our calling
Though our skins forever falling know within there lives a dawning

If anyone is interested in knowing the lyrics to any of my songs, I feature them weekly on my site mrjmedeiros.com.

Trey: Any other projects in the works we should look out for? And will you be doing any touring or shows?

Mr. J.: I finally have my own website, ha! mrjmedeiros.com. I just put out the EP. I have a full album coming out this summer (which has nothing to do with this EP) called Friends Enemies Apples Apples. The album was produced by Stro the 89th Key and features Tara Ellis. Right now, it’s in a bit of a wrestling match with labels, but no matter what, it’s gonna come out…ha. I have an album that is a constant work in progress called Saudade. It’s a digital download only and available on my site. It’s called a work in progress because I put one or two songs on it a month and when it reaches ten I will press hardcopies. Right now I’m at two songs and you can buy them individually. I am just starting my career so hopefully I will be doing some touring very soon. It looks like by June or July, I’ll be out and about. Oh, yeah…and I have a remix contest going on. Just visit the merchandise section of my website and purchase the acapella to any album and remix it. If my staff digs it, I will hear, it will go up on the site, you will get some promo, I will get a fresh song…and who knows, maybe do more work together.

Trey: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with who you’d like to?

Mr. J.: I should be working with Jonathan Korsyzk on a project that is just understanding its first thought now…I’d like to work with Dust on a video, get a verse from Manchild, and do some music with Theory Hazit…Actually yeah, there are a ton of talented people out there. I’d like to work with them all.

Trey: Finally, how has God been working in your life since “Of Gods and Girls”? Are you in a better place than you were? And how do you find opportunities in your own life to minister?

Mr. J.: I try to live life honest, honest with myself, my God, and the world around me – “better” isn’t a place I’m seeking really, just truth and in that I will be better.

Pick up the new EP “The Art of Broken Glass” at iTunes