Justin Smith is an up and coming unsigned hip-hop artist from the Green Bay, WI area, however, he was born and raised in Superior, WI. Justin first began listening to hip-hop music at the age of 9 when his cousins showed him ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’. He was instantly hooked on the content and the culture surrounding it. However, it wasn’t until he was 18 and watched a documentary about Lil Wayne called ‘The Carter’ that Justin start writing lyrics. He was infatuated by the process in which Wayne used to come up with and record his music, however family life and his constant legal issues would prevent him from ever pursuing his music career. Growing up Justin had his fair share of run-ins with the law which would result in him being expelled from school in 7th, 9th and 11th grade all for marijuana possession and/or delivery.
Unfortunately, this trend would continue into his late teens and all of his 20’s. In the past 9 years, Justin has been arrested more than 5 times for either marijuana possession, delivery or most recently cultivation. Despite his current legal battle, Justin’s new single ‘Pain’ from his debut album ‘The $mithTape’ is currently ranked number 13 on upcoming 100’s Emerging 200 chart and has over 160,000 plays on Soundcloud. ‘The $mithTape’ will be released April 13th on Spotify, Tidal, ITunes and Google Play.
Justin is always busy working on his music career, whether it be writing, recording or promoting. He is currently in the process of booking a tour as well as finishing up his mixtape ‘Mr. Steal Your Beat Vol. 1’ and trying to find ways to get the attention of a major record label. ‘Mr. Steal Your Beat Vol. 1’ will be released April 7th and will be hosted by DJ Pain 1!
The Hype Magazine Correspondent Landon Buford had the opportunity to catch up with Justin Smith to see what he has going on.
You have a project ‘1Mr. Steal Your Beat Vol. 1’ hosted by DJ Pain 1 that will be released on April 7th Can you talk about how you both link up for this project?
It’s pretty crazy how DJ Pain 1 and I connected. I was at Blast House Studio’s in Madison, WI working on my a track called ‘The Truth’ which will be on my debut album ‘The $mithTape’ and my engineer heard the DJ drop and asked me if it was DJ Pain 1 from Madison. I wasn’t sure so I googled him and sure enough, it was the same guy! So I told my buddy on our way back home that my goal was to get in contact with DJ Pain 1 and I did. I sent him an e-mail telling him I want to work with him and now he’s hosting my mixtape!
What inspired you to create this project?
Lil Wayne’s ‘No Ceilings’ and ‘Sorry for the Wait’ most definitely inspired me to want to go over other people’s beats. When I started writing actual songs that were all I ever used to write to was usually Lil Wayne and Drake beats.
What are a couple of singles that you enjoyed the most during the creation process?
I honestly can’t say I have a favorite however on my album I like my song ‘There for You’ because it was my first time singing on a song and we used auto-tune and it turned out better than I could have ever imagined. My song ‘Pain’ has been a smash hit so far accumulating more than 150,000 plays on my Soundcloud. So I guess you could say those are my “favorites” but l enjoyed making all of them it’s a very fun process.
You another project name ‘’The $mithTape’ will be released April 13Th. What is your inspiration for this project?
‘The $mithTape’ is my debut album and it’s really filled with a lot of emotion. I guess you could say all the pain I’ve been through in my life inspired this album. Some of the songs on here were first recorded in 2014 but were only released on Soundcloud. I always wanted to do more with my music when I was younger but I had a lot of circumstances or maybe excuses that held me back. This album is basically an audio version of my life over the last 5 or 6 years.
Why did you decide that you wanted to release two projects within a week of each other?
Honestly, I wanted to release these two projects so close to each other is because my fans and the rest of the hip-hop community deserve it. Like I said before I only released my tracks on Soundcloud before and barely promoted. This time around I want the world to hear what I have to say because my music does have a message. You just have to listen to the words. Between both projects, I will be releasing 29 total songs.
Are you planning on going on tour this year?
Yes, I am planning on going on tour I actually just talked to a booking agency today about getting everything set up. I also have a meeting tomorrow with the owner of a venue in Green Bay to set up my release party. I will definitely be posting updates about this frequently!
What message would you like to use your platform to deliver to the public?
My message I want to be able to deliver to the public is that anyone can make it if they really put their mind to it and keep grinding and keep pushing. You have to be able to be patient without being stagnant and/or getting demoralized when things don’t go your way. The internet is an artist best friend if you know how to use it.
How did Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ help inspire you as an artist?
‘The Marshall Mather LP’ showed me what hip-hop was and was my first real introduction to the hip-hop culture and content. I never even knew what hip hop was before I heard that album. More than just as an artist Eminem’s music has helped me get through some hard times emotionally. I can relate with Em on so many different levels it’s crazy. He’s just a guy like me who’s been through a lot of devastating situations and those situations into music and launched his career. I used to always get down on myself because 2pac died when he was 25 and I never accomplished anything nearly like he did by the time I was 25 but the day I found out Em was around my age which is 27 when his album was released I’ve really changed how I look at my life, goals, and future.
Landon Buford Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, What's Trending's CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.