Amsterdam-born rapper, JB Scofield dropped his latest mixtape, ‘Scoseason,’ back in January and of course it flew rapidly to the top 10 of the iTunes charts, the day it dropped.
Now, we all know about his wavy tunes, but I wanted to find out a little bit more about the rapper behind ‘Foreign,’ ‘Last Night in LC’ and the whole ‘Scoseason’ project, so I had a chat with him…
JB began his musical journey by freestyling with his friends, in his friend’s basement: “My friends just used to say, ‘yo, JB you’re sick, you should do it properly.’ But, I wasn’t taking it seriously at first, with school and that. When I went to college, that’s when I started recording music.”
“The rap scene wasn’t big in Leicester before, but there are a lot of sick artists now. The scene is growing, it’s crazy.”
Coming from a Ghanaian and Nigerian background, JB’s parents were strict on him when it came to education, JB said: “With all of my performances, and the way stuff is going right out, they still say, ‘finish university, even if you blow-up like crazy, we still want you to perform well in uni,’ that’s why I still do it.”
JB has dropped many hits over the past year but I wanted to know which one of his own songs was his favourite, ‘Foreign’ was his answer: “I needed a song that was mad, different but still had a U.K. vibe.”
“I don’t listen to U.K. music that much, more American music. I just wanted something mad wavy. I had that hook, ‘I want that foreign…’ the whole time in my head and when I recorded it and all the melodies came together it was just mad, crazy. Every time I hear it now, it still gives me that same feeling I had the first time I heard it, sick.”
Behind most musicians comes some kind of inspiration, I was quite intrigued to find out where JB’s inspiration came from: “Well, musically I’d say Travis Scott, heavily. When I went to Amsterdam 3 or 4 years ago with OG, we went to this festival called, Appelsap, sick festival. Different artists come there and Travis was the headline act, and I did not know who he was. My friends in Holland were like, ‘nah, you’re crazy, don’t you know who that is?!’”
“When he performed, it was lit! The way he controlled the crowd, it was mad. Since then, I thought ‘yeah, when I perform I want to be like this. I want to have this type of effect.’ His live shows are mad.”
“But, mainly the people around me inspire me. I am surrounded by people who do well for themselves and do good things. They inspire me and they push me to do better.”
JB mainly listens to American artists such as A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott (of course) and Chance the Rapper – his old stuff, not his new stuff.
I am surrounded by people who do well for themselves and do good things. They inspire me and they push me to do better.
Unfortunately, JB told me that he listens to Lil Uzi Vert too, I had to let him know that Lil Uzi wasn’t a personal favourite of mine: “Don’t you like him? Nah, he’s my guy man. It’s more about the sounds man, my manager, OG, always tells me ‘yeah, you got to stop listening to these guys.’”
“It’s more about the sound as a whole. Music has changed for people, back in the day everyone used to care about lyrics, but me, I just want the song as a whole to sound 10, 10. “
If you could choose one song to jump on and remix, which song would it be: “Yes! I just remembered, Drake ‘Forever.’ I listened to it two days ago, on Spotify.”
“I like to browse around playlists and see which ones are hard, I looked at one, and it was called, ‘Hip-Hop,’ I was just hearing bare old tunes, ‘A Milli’, ‘Forever’ and all those songs. The line-up on ‘Forever’ was mad, and everyone did sick.”
JB is part of one of the most competitive industries at the moment, but it’s safe to say that he is killin’ it! I had to ask what the hardest part of the music industry he’s has had to endure, so far: “Coming from a small city, it’s a bit mad. Me and OG always used to say, if we were from London, it would’ve been a lot easier. Nowadays, it doesn’t apply. More and more people are coming out of the Midlands, and doing stuff.”
“It just takes that person to be that bit more different than the rest and then it just happens for you. But, we’ve been trying and we’ve seen progress. For us it’s slow but for people looking in, they think, ‘yo, JB you’re doing sick’ and I’m thinking, ‘bro, you don’t even know…’”
“The amount of money spent on camera-men, I still get messed around by them, it’s crazy. People don’t always appreciate your craft; they don’t have the same vision.”
JB performed his verse from ‘Mandem,’ alongside Sevn Alias at Melkweg, a popular music venue in Amsterdam. I wanted to know whether there was a difference between performing for club crowds, compared to the 15,000+ crowd that JB performed for in Amsterdam: “The bigger ones are better because they’re already hyped, people come there to have a good time. The club ones, I have to do bits for them to feel me. I was saying to my boys yesterday, crowds in clubs, move by a mirror effect.”
Have you ever been nervous for a show?: “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, the festival performance was probably the scariest. But, I just did it. His manager came to me and was like, ‘JB, the next song is you,’ and he gave me the mic, my heart started beating. I heard everyone making noise, I was thinking, ‘yo, do I go up now? Shall I go on after,’ then the song started playing and I just went and when I went everything went slow mo for a second, on some matrix shit.”
“It was just a sick moment when I got on the stage my nerves just left, the crowd was sick and like I said, the mirror thing. They’re gassed and now I’m not nervous no more, it was just crazy.”
The situation @ the Melkweg Amsterdam🇬🇧🇳🇱 ❗️❗️❗️ pic.twitter.com/UACZQXoerS
— FLEX OUT NOW😈🦅 (@jbscofield_) December 22, 2016
Now, JB is a busy guy, he’s currently completing his degree and balancing his music career at the same time, he told me how he does it all: “I just try to go library as much as I can. I’m more of a night person, I can’t do work in the day. Sometimes I’ll go uni at 9am and just sit there and I think, nah. I’ll snapchat it, and I’ll be like, yeah I don’t like this. But at night, I can sit down and actually bang out work.”
“There’s been times where I’ve had to perform, but an assignment had to be in by 12 and I can sit at my computer at 10, try and bang it out and hand it in at 11.58 and be on stage for 12.30, it’s mad, it’s a sick life,” he added
JB’s close friends are also part of his musical team. I asked JB if he’s had any issues with mixing business and pleasure: “We’ve been friends for so long, it hasn’t come to that point where we’ve had any problems, but we always talk about it in theory, so I can understand how they’d react if we were in a certain situation. But, so far it hasn’t been an issue at all.”
JB also told me about his take on ‘industry friends,’: “You’ve got your friends then you’ve got your industry friends as well. It’ll feel like they’re your friend, but you’re not going to call him when something happens, it’s not the same type of friend.”
“It can be fake, my friends and I are good at reading people, we can tell whether people are genuine or if they’re doing it because they want it to look like we’re friends. Me, I don’t mind, I’m not salty, if you’re gonna act like you’re a friend, I’ll be like yeah cool man.”
Finishing up now, I asked JB what his plans were for 2017: “Just more tunes man. I have an EP I need to bring out, that’s for my Dutch fan base as well, I’m trying to branch out. Obviously, everyone wants to be poppin’ in the U.K. but I’m Dutch as well, so I need to embrace that side.”
5 years from now, where do you want to be, what do you want to be doing?: “5 years from now, hopefully touring. That’s what I want to be doing, touring and being able to sell out headline shows every couple of months and have a sick couple of projects as well, albums and everything and hit number 1.”
So, there you have it, a lil’ background information on the rapper you guys know as JB Scofield.
You can download ‘Scoseason,’ via iTunes here.
And you can watch and listen to my personal favourite JB Scofield hit, ‘Foreign,’ below!
SoundCloud: JB SCOFIELD | APHRO