KJ-52 Says Rakim, KRS-One, Eminem, and Nas are Among Best Rappers of All-Time; Explains 90s Hip-Hop Shaped Him [INTERVIEW]


In the final installment of our interviews with KJ-52, the rapper shares a bit about his love for classic hip-hop and what inspired him to do what he does.

When asked who his biggest influences were growing up, KJ said he took to late '80s, early '90s hip-hop.

"Growing up listening to the KRS-One's, A Tribe Called Quest, and Third Bass...but I also loved the party stuff like Kid N' Play and Rob Bass. So I think the late 80s mid 90s hip-hop is a big deal," he said.

As far as someone taking him under their wing and helping to mold him as an emcee, KJ said that did not exist. "There wasn't anyone to take me under their wing. I remember when I started rapping you could count the rappers in Florida on one hand."

What is a hip-hop interview without asking the rapper who their "Top 5 Dead or Alive" list of emcees is?

"If I had to go just on skill and ability it would be everyone from Rakim to KRS to Common to Eminem to Nas, and maybe Talib Kweli. Those guys are technically skilled both old and new," he said, "They were probably influential on me coming up."

Nearly every rapper looks to leave a legacy with their rhymes. KJ is no different as he takes his craft seriously. However, when asked what he felt was the best lyrics he's come up with, he remained humble.

"I don't think I've written it yet. I let the people decide. Honestly, it runs a gamut" KJ stated, "It's like the Nas Illmatic curse, meaning whatever people come into you with is what they love about you the most. So someone for me might only be coming into the Mental phase because everything previous might be corny, cheesy, or outdated."

He continued, "I meet somebody now who may have bought my record as a teenager and the record helped them get through junior high - I may look back at that record and roll my eyes but I can't take away what that experience is for them."

KJ said that every record has certain things he loves or hates about it, "You should always strive to do better so I don't think I've made it."

He tends to fall into his most current release being his favorite of his album's at the time.

"I go back, listen to those records and it's really hard to listen to because it's like looking at yearbook picture of yourself when you were in fourth grade," he explained, "It's a moment in time for me to look back and say 'Why did I do that?' 'Why did I pick that beat?' If you show that same picture to your mom she may say, 'Awe you're so cute'."

KJ-52's Mental will be out on October 21 and it can be pre-ordered on iTunes here.

The album features KB, Soul Glo Activatur, Lecrae, Tedashii, and others.

"Gameface [1st Half Edition]" can be heard below: