J.I ‘s influence reaches far beyond music.
Amidst tales of love’s never-ending cycle, personal growth, life lessons, and pain, he lyrically concentrates on the bigger picture. In other words, the New York-based artist assures fans that when the tough gets going, the going gets tough. He strives to move individuals from coast to coast by leading his versatile musical styling with introspection and full transparency.
“I make music to express my pain and to feel free. It’s [My musical journey] also amazing because my music helps fans,” he expresses. “People can listen to my music and escape from reality. I get DM’s where people are like, ‘Yo bro, your music helped me through high school, my last semester, etc.’ And that helps me because it [my music] gets me through that. Knowing that my records are impacting others means I’m doing something right.”
In terms of his sound, J.I merges reggaeton with renditions of classical R&B hits, trap, and hip-hop. As a result, the distinctive musician pays homage to his roots and showcases his many sides to the world.
“I make it my priority to represent my heritage. I love being who I am and where I’m from. I feel like it’s only right to embrace it,” J.I told Remezcla‘s contributor Jennifer Mota.
J.I is widely known for his debut on Jermaine Dupri’s The Rap Game at 14-years-old, after being discovered by the music icon on Instagram. He’s also garnered much success following his golden status smash hit, “Need Me,” which is still riding airwaves to this day. In the span of his burgeoning career, he’s gotten co-signs from Cardi B, Jadakiss, and Drake, who sang along to his single “Used To” once on Instagram Live. Additionally, the 19-year-old has worked alongside Lil Tjay on “Hood Scars 2,” NAV and Lil Durk on “Painless 2,” and Myke Towers on “Spanglish,” to name a few.
Recently, The Feature Presentation was able to chop it up with J.I., who we came to find out is a humble artist with a forward-thinking intellect and admirable resilience. During the Zoom press conference, he spoke about his forthcoming album, Hood Life Krisis Vol. 3, his creative process in the studio, and his newest song, “Excuse My Pain,” which would be his theme song off of Hood Life Krisis Vol. 3 if he had to choose.
“This project focuses on the mental process of who I am as a person. I feel like I never got to get into my personal life as a person. I never spoke about things that are painful to me. I want to be truthful to myself,” he unveiled.
J.I’s “Excuse My Pain” finds the breakout artist righting his wrongs. Over the Nico Chiara beat, the “Need Me” musician reflects on severed relationships, taking full responsibility for his actions. He also owns up to other misdemeanors and explains the cause of it all,
“Had too many conversations with the devil on my shoulder, nigga/This little body of mine never had a soul in it/Had trouble findin’ my heart, I move too cold with it,” he delivers.
As the song goes on, J.I admits that he is holding himself accountable. Instead of pushing things to the side, he’s taking it head-on, only attesting to his maturity. In the same light, he references his songs “Love Won’t Change,” “Blame On Me,” and “Company.” Take, for instance, this excerpt. He raps with a melodic cadence, “I know I said my love won’t change, but I got my first check, and I spent it on my chains.”
Sonically, “Excuse My Pain” is led by the sweet lick of a Spanish guitar. The track also takes slight inspiration from his track, “Company Pt. 2.” From a vocal standpoint, J.I crossovers between a heartfelt rap delivery and a smooth melodic cadence.
The music video, directed by Kid Art, rolls out in a Scarface fashion, displaying J.I and his comrades re-enacting some scenes from the famous film.
“This record is literally a theme song,” he told The Feature Presentation. “I feel like it’s an anthem for evil people. In the hook, I say, ‘I’m an evil nigga, I deserve to die in pain,’ and I feel like I flipped the narrative about being hurt. This time, let’s talk about what I did. I admit that I’m wrong too, and it’s time to own up to it. This record allows me to do that.”
Elsewhere in our sit-down, J.I describes a day with him in the studio as what he makes of it. Moreso, it depends on what kind of mood he’s in.
“Being around me, I feel like I’m a cool person,” J.I continues. “I like who I am. I love what I do, and I’m always able to put my pride aside when it comes to my work and what comes with my job. If you spend a day with me in the studio, you’re going to have a good time.”
J.I’s Hood Life Krisis Vol. 3 is set to release on December 18th, 2020. For now, listen to two lead singles off of the project, “Letter 2 U” and “Excuse My Pain,” below: