Rapzilla.com’s 15 Freshman of 2017
Alabama-based artist/producer Phil J. is the most under-the-radar act of this Freshmen class, but frequenters of Rapzilla.com’s SoundCloud will be familiar. He’s had 12 singles featured there in the past two years and improved noticeably in the last six months.
Phil J. is releasing his new EP, Nu Age Soul, this month, and we expect the biggest sleeper in this class continue to make strides.
When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?
I began the pursuit of music as a career around 2012. I was inspired at an early age when I witnessed my very first hip-hop concert at the church I pretty much grew up in. It was a local group, but seeing the artists engage the crowd and hearing everyone singing along to their music heavily inspired me.
So, to get my feet wet, me and my younger brother would rap every second Sunday for youth service. As time continued to progress, I learned how to produce. I’d always write poems, and I loved creating melodies, so it wasn’t before long I began to mingle melodic tunes with hip hop.
Fast forward to 2012, I released my first mixtape, and people received it well, which is what I wasn’t expecting at all since I was nervous at almost every recording session. After seeing how well it did, that’s when I really began pursuing music as a career.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Later in 2016, I had no idea how well my song “Lotto” was doing. That song was actually an experiment and I wanted to see how people reacted to it. I had been really perfecting my producing skills throughout most of 2016, and that song was the first result of my hard work. I didn’t promote the song at all really, due to other things going on in my life at the time. I actually had almost just stopped doing music all together at one point.
However, a month later after releasing “Lotto”, I had way more streams than I’d usually get on a song, which completely threw me for a loop because I didn’t promote it at all. People just happened to stumble upon it and immediately noticed I had a different style of artistry and production, and that was the aim in releasing that particular song. That song alone really garnered some attention and gave me hope again to continue making music.
What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2017?
I’ll be releasing at least three projects this year and maybe a few features here and there. I’m hoping to branch out a bit more this year and collaborate with some of the other great artists in Christian hip hop. The first project of 2017 will be released late January entitled Nu Age Soul featuring the singles “Right Now” and “Lotto”. Not only do I want to promote my artistry, but also the ability to produce good music. So, I’ll have my hand in production in at least 90 percent of the projects released after Nu Age Soul. I plan to collaborate with some of the dope producers in Christian hip hop as well.