Memphis’ Own J. Ferb
Track one off of Yo Gotti’s Cocaine Musik 4 is titled “Both Sides.” His cousin, J. Ferb, grew up in Memphis among both the books, and baking soda, and is putting both sides into his music. For the intellectuals, and the street-tellectuals, J. Ferb is making a wave with his music for everyone to hear and take heed to.
J. Ferb started as a radio DJ in ‘07 for the University of Maryland’s radio station WMUC 88.1 FM. Shortly thereafter he went from letting people hear the music he chose to play, to wanting to create it himself. Artists from Kanye West, to Bob Marley, to Amy Winehouse influenced him along the way. Always good with a pen, J. Ferb taught himself the basics of rapping. “I’m a culture dude, and I’m taking rap seriously. In the south it’s a lot of niggas just rapping. I realized, being at the Universtiy of Maryland, than in DC, and Philly and New York, they look at rap as a culture. So I picked up A Tribe Called Quest and Nas’ albums to learn rhyme schemes and wording because I wanted that organic feel,” said J. Ferb.”
His Memphis upbringing didn’t hurt, because he could convey many different situations through how he came up. “My mother’s side is Gotti’s side of the family, and my pops died at a young age. When that happened, my grandmother stepped in. If we had to have an American Gangster of Memphis it would be Gotti, and my aunts and uncles were bosses, but my mother strayed away from that and chose to become a teacher. But even though I went through the hood, I’m not that.”
That just makes J. Ferb’s storytelling as diverse as the records he used to play on his radio show. He went to daycare in Ridgecrest, the same housing where Yo Gotti made him self a legend in the streets, but he never got into that way of life.
Yo Gotti has shown his cousin the ropes, as J. Ferb has gone touring with him, and noticed that rapping and touring isn’t for everyone. “The only dude that I could say that works harder than Gotti may be Lil’ Wayne. But he’s on the road. Being with him showed me that, if you aren’t serious about rapping, don’t go on the road. He’s at hotel after hotel; city after city. Once he hits the city he goes to a studio in the town to record, then does his show, gets about 4, 5 hours of sleep to be woken up by the bus driver to get back on the road and do it again; night after night, after night.”
Putting that work ethic into his own craft has brought J. Ferb to this point. He put all of his being into his EP Chase the Dreams (Not the Competition); hardly sleeping, and for the Summer of ’09 he only left the studio to feed himself. As hungry as he is, who knows if he’ll ever get full!
J. Ferb chooses to paint pictures like his favorite artist, René Magritte, and lets his audiences make out what they want from them. One of my personal favorite joints off the EP, “Young Crafter (In It)” (prod. By Cold Legistics) can be listened to here.
While listening to his bars, you can taste the spoken word he used to do once upon a time, throughout the verses, as well as the struggle that he’s seen in others while growing up.
Other motivating factors include Nas, Mos Def, and Common, pushing J. Ferb to develop his own flow. Meanwhile, the lyrics that he pens are anything but simple. His next move is just getting the music out to a wider audience. “I want to get it out to more people, maybe get a management company, and I’m starting to listen to offers from record labels. But I want to get that backing from a major label, but still doing music the same way I have been.”
The same way you can call a spade a spade, you can call a lyricist a lyricist. A rapper with East Coast lyrics and delivery with a Memphis accent assures more heads to turn for J. Ferb in the future, so keep your dome on tight and be on the lookout for this dude!
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