KJ-52’s ‘Fake’ Rap/Rock Band & How He Hit No. 1 in Australia
Let’s take a little trip down memory lane with KJ-52 and talk about two records in his arsenal that you may not have heard of or know little about.
The projects at hand, Soul Purpose (2004) and Peace of Mind (2003). The first project is a faux radio show hosted by KJ and producer Todd Collins. The second album is a rap/rock project with a “band.”
“Soul Purpose is my least favorite out of all the projects I’ve done. I think I was just doing too much,” he admitted. “Every once in awhile I meet someone who’s like, ‘Yo, I was going through cancer and that record got me through it’ and I’m like, ‘THAT RECORD’?”
Ironically enough, “That record” contained the song “No Stopping Me” which became the biggest licensed song in his catalog. The song was used by an Australian vitamin company for a commercial during the Olympics and it shot to No. 1 on their charts.
“The label was handing out projects like candy back then. We did it super cheap. I just felt like there wasn’t enough Christian rap out there. So it was one more chance to make music and put something in the marketplace.”
Listen to the track below:
As for KJ’s rock band Peace of Mind, well, that was a farce.
“There is no band, it was all studio. Todd doing programming, Pete Stewart doing the guitars, and the former DC Talk drummer (Rick May) doing the studio drums, but I never met him,” revealed KJ. “Peace of Mind is a fake record.”
Interestingly enough, Peace of Mind was being promoted as a rap/metal fusion band by Tooth & Nail. The cover even had a “band” on it, but half of those guys had nothing to do with the record.
“The day of the photoshoot we were like, ‘What are we going to do?’ The original plan was to put a bunch of models and just fake it. Pete flaked out the day of. One of the guys on the cover was the engineer who had nothing to do with the music. The bald headed dude was the guy who mixed Seventh Avenue,” explained KJ. “He had nothing to do with the record at all. Todd is there, and I’m doing my best mean mug face.”
The veteran emcee said the record was a response to how much rap/rock was getting what he felt was “unfair placement over hip-hop.”
“I was outselling these rock bands, yet getting the shaft constantly from a placement standpoint. This was my way of getting back at them. Never toured it once, never played any of the songs, and it still sold 20 or 30,000 records,” he said. “I was extremely blown away.”
While the songs were never played at a live performance with fans, they were played once for a sales person showcase. He had to put together a band for that show.
“The rap side was too much. There was no way I’d be able to put together another band to tour it,” said KJ. “In hindsight, I could say things were going great but I didn’t know what was going on, I was just trying to make it.”
He then hilariously told the story of how that showcase concert went.
“The one time I did perform it is when Cross Movement signed to One Records on Tooth & Nail so I was hanging out with them. So I showed up for the performance in a full velour track suit with a rock band and I’ll never forget the look these dudes gave me,” he said laughing. “Ambassador just looked me up and down like, ‘What are you about to do?’ Then I do this rap/rock project and I’m like, ‘It’s just a side project bro’ and I tried to play it like it was nothing…dressed like I’m straight out of a Puff Daddy video.”
Listen to the album below:
Listen to KJ-52 on the Rapzilla Podcast with Chris Chicago below.