Published on July 26th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford0
One-On-One With Louisville, Kentucky’s Joka Beatz
Joka Beatz digs in his bag for his recently released, “This Is Amerikkka” album!
Joka Beatz had to overcome a lot of tragedy to be in the position he’s in today. After having several close friends and family members pass away, Joka decided it was time to hang the mic up as a rapper. However, with music deeply rooted into his soul, he went into other avenues of the game. Coming into his own as a producer, his work has been featured on networks such as, Bet, VH1, Fox Sports, Oxygen, Bravo TV as well as MTV. Still not satisfied, he’s tapping into several other facets of the music biz and feels he’s one placement away from blowing up. Owner of Diamond Loopz and Hard Hustla Muzik, Joka is cemented into the game. Now, he’s just waiting on opportunity to knock.
During our recent conversation, Joka Beatz talks about his wins and losses, his favorite beats and where his passion for music came from.
How is everything going?
Joka Beatz: I’m good, man. Just doing music, staying busy and trying to blow my business up. I’m just working hard. It’s a good time to do it because a lot of people are at home and sitting still. It wasn’t like that at first. Now you can make a lot of moves. I’m taking advantage of it.
Give us some info on you and tell us about the business.
Joka Beatz: My name is Joka Beatz… Corey “Joka Beatz” Dixon, man. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Owner of Hard Hustla Muzik. That’s my label. I’ve been producing since 2015. I’ve been rapping since the late 90’s. I kind of gave rapping a rest in 2013. I had a lot of deaths and stuff in the family and I had to take custody of my daughter. I was kind of getting a little bit older for rapping. I still wanted to be in music because I love music so much regardless of what side I’m on, running a record label, A&R… no matter what I do, I just like being in and around music; playlist curator for Spotify or Pandora. I work with a lot of music supervisors. I got my music placed on TV shows, Bad Girls Club, Love & Hip Hop. I got my own loop producer web type for producers, www.diamondloopz.com. Where I sell loop packs and stuff for producers. I’m just trying to put my hands on everything I can, man. I got kids and I got a big family. I’m just trying to go hard for them.
Where did your passion and love for music come from?
Joka Beatz: When I was a kid, my big brother would break out of the house and go to Public Enemy concerts. He used to get whoopings by my mom and everything. It was like, “Who the hell are these people that my brother would risk getting his ass whooped for?” I would see him putting fucking, “PE” stuff on his pants. He would dress up like Flava Flav. Him and Flava Flav ended up being real tight. So, every time they would come to Louisville, they would let him get on stage with them. Even one time, Flava Flav came to the projects where we lived at to see me brother because he was sick and couldn’t make it to the show. After the show, they caught a cab to the projects on Thanksgiving and came and kicked it with my brother. People say a lot of shit about Flava Flav, man, but he’s a real one. All the New York rappers used to come around and hang with my big brother. I used to hang with Stetsasonic, a lot of Poor Righteous Teachers. It was a lot of people. I just fell in love with music early, man. Watching The Box on Channel 13, “Fight The Power,” videos and Ice-T “I’m Your Pusher,” videos. That shit drove me crazy. “Bangin’ On Wax,” all that.
Kentucky is not generally looked at as a hotbed for rap. Am I off-base with that comment or is there some truth to that?
Joka Beatz: People say that, but people don’t realize, a lot of rappers early in their career came through Louisville. N.W.A. used to come through here. This was one of their top spots. I caught Ice Cube and the Lynch Mob walking to the gas station one day. Me and one of my guys were going to get blunts and shit. They had a concert down here and we caught them walking to the gas station with sticks and bats and shit. We bumped into them guys and we were like, “What the hell ya’ll doing, man? Ya’ll trying to go to jail?” And they were like, “We thought this was fucking Klan County.” And we told them, “Nah bruh, the housing project right down the street. Ya’ll good.” It was crazy. No Limit, Ca$h Money, they all used to come through the projects and hang out. They would actually park their tour bus in front of the projects and get out, walk through, smoke blunts and all that with us back in the days.
How much would you say beats differ now opposed to the late 90’s and early 2000’s?
Joka Beatz: Back in the days when I was coming up, it was more musical, man. They would get people to come in and play the guitar. If you listen to the 90’s music, it was more live instrumentation. Live guitar and bass players coming to the studio. Now, a lot of stuff is automated and a lot of pre-packed stuff that you can get and make beats now. I don’t know, it’s just different. I still try to bring that musical good melodies going because that’s the stuff that will stick around for a long time. The stuff that kind of hit you in your soul and you just wanna keep playing it no matter what time it is. It can be from the 90’s… we still bumping Tupac music now and other stuff from the 90’s.
No matter the producer or era, give me 3-beats that just stick out in your mind as dope?
Joka Beatz: Let me see… Off the top of my head, I like that, “Can It Be All So Simple.” I like that one. Let me see something else, I gotta go with west coast because that’s what I was raised on. I like that, Compton’s Most Wanted, “Late Night Hype.” Probably the last one would be, Dr. Dre, “G-Thang,” or “Let Me Ride.” One of those.
What is it about those beats?
Joka Beatz: I don’t know, infectious, man. They are just beats that you want to listen to over and over again. It sticks with you. Whenever you play them it just feels like the first day you played it.
The losses you suffered in your life altered your path a little bit musically. How important was it to have the ability to adapt from rapper to producer because your situation changed?
Joka Beatz: It helped me a lot just by doing that. It brought a different perspective to making beats. A lot of producers don’t really know how to rap. It was kind of new for me. This producing game is still new for me. I’m still stuck on the business side for real. I love making beats and music, but to tell you the truth, I spend like 80% of my time handling business and making sure my businesses are right and my websites are straight. I have a small time to do beats for real. If I had a lot of time to do beats, I probably would be one of the greats right now. If I had a lot of time on my hands and I wasn’t still struggling at the bottom, and I had a little breathing room. If I could actually sit and just make music all day, I would probably be one of the greatest.
The music business can be a dog eat dog world. Is that true for you or do you feel you have navigated through those parts and are now coming out on the other side?
Joka Beatz: Yeah, when I first came out, I started really seeing it in the rap game; all the crazy stuff. I remember, Nappy Roots when they first came out. We recorded our first album right before; Nappy Roots came out. We were in their studio recording our album. It’s crazy because they were a different style. Ca$h Money was real big at the time and Nappy Roots kind of sounded like what Ca$h Money sound was. After we came down, we were straight from the projects, man, me and my brother. We had a group too. We were talking about struggling and I think they took heave and realized that was the new wave, people talking about the struggles. People didn’t really have it. Ca$h Money were the only people doing the ‘Bling Bling,” and ballin. When in reality everybody was really struggling at that time for real.
What can we expect in the near future from you?
Joka Beatz: My new album, “This is Amerikkka” album. All the stuff that is going on right now, I wanted to put out something that really speaks to the heart of the streets right now. I got some beat albums. East coast, 90’s hip-hop version and the west coast, 90’s hip-hop version. That’s the time that I really came up in, so I wanted to go back to the beats that I really grew up on and put up some beat tapes for those genres. I just got a lot in the works. I got a lot of beats out right now. Just trying to get some placement. That’s the only thing. I don’t have placements yet as far as a major artist. I had big success in the TV world, sync world, now I’m trying to break my way into the music world as far as getting placement with the big rappers, or R&B artist. I can really make any type of music. I can listen to something and go in there and create it better than what it was. I guess it’s a gift. I can listen to any genre and if I can play the instrument, I can put it together.
I appreciate the time, good luck with all of your projects. Give me something in closing.
Joka Beatz: Man, I got the new album out, just let everybody know to go stream it and check it out. I got a lot of projects coming on the way, man. A lot of people are finally started to check me out and I’m getting noticed. You can expect more projects. I’m just going to keep dropping music until they feel me, man.Tweet