Meet the Grammy Award Winning Producer behind hits like “Whatever You Like,” “Lollipop,” and many more!
Jim Jonsin is a man with a family and a point of view. Over the course of our interview, he gave his opinion on almost everything, from drum machines and Led Zeppelin samples, to how he wished he could be Quincy Jones for a day. But the difference between him and every other vanity injected member of the hip hop community is, while he may have something to say about everything, that doesn’t mean he thinks it needs to be said.
Starting out as a DJ in the late 80’s Miami club scene, Jonsin was an up and coming producer looking for his big break. Making a name for himself at an early age, (he’s been DJing since he was 14) Jonsin’s path to musical success seemed quite clear cut. By 18, he helped start up an independent label with Mass Jam Productions, called Cut It Up Def Records, and not long after that, he produced one of the labels first singles, appropriately titled “Cut it up.” The record was a success, getting spins at every nightclub in Miami, and played out of Florida low riders with almost Chronic like frequency. After it sold 40,000 copies the parent record company saw it as only natural for him to continue. Shortly after, he released another single “Party Time” on which he produced, and rapped. As another regional success in the Florida area, it was enough to get him a deal from Heat Wave Records, a smaller independent label based in Santa Barbara, California. There he adopted the moniker “Jealous J” and captained the release of a compilation album of Miami bass songs, (again literally titled) Miami Bass Jams. This compilation record saw much of the success of the first two singles and ended up certified Gold. The success of the album put him in a position to go on tour with artists such as Cypress Hill, 2 Live Crew and Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch…success seemed eminent.
But the ecstasy of triumph had to come to an end at some point, and after finishing the tour, Jonsin’s relevance went rapidly downhill and he was forced to work in relative obscurity for several years, into the early nineties. Producing more Miami bass records, and creating a new, ill advised label through Warner Brothers, Jim Jonsin was becoming musically trapped. He was still doing the same kind of stuff he used to, and the lack of evolution allowed in his music, coupled with the economic difficulty of his label bringing in next to no money, forced him to make his musical career more of his musical hobby. He was forced to work odd jobs to pay the bills (during our interview he cited one particularly bad one at Sears Department Store) and with time short, money low, and connections becoming few and far between, his profitability in the music business was becoming perpetually more unlikely. But having talent, and a good work ethic usually comes through, and in 1998, Trick Daddy offered to sign him to his Atlantic run label, Slip-n-Slide Records. This turned out to be all the help Mr. Jonsin would need because, if you’ve noticed any continuous pattern throughout all the entropy and disorder of Jim Jonsin’s very up, down, and back up career, it’s that he did everything essentially by himself, with nothing but clothes on his back and the turntable at his fingers.