Mr. J. Mederios: So How’s Your Girl?

    Whether Bizzy Bone or Joe Budden, many rap artists have tried to tackle the topics of child abuse. The reactions have varied from ridicule to respect to apathy. Mr. J. Mederios, front-man of The Procussions, is going all out in this path, with his single “Constance.”    The single, released by Rawkus Records, chronicles the […]

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    Whether Bizzy Bone or Joe Budden, many rap artists have tried to tackle the topics of child abuse. The reactions have varied from ridicule to respect to apathy. Mr. J. Mederios, front-man of The Procussions, is going all out in this path, with his single “Constance.”    The single, released by Rawkus Records, chronicles the things that aren’t told about pornography, and the children hurt along the way. Although this is the furthest thing from a dancefloor hit, perhaps J is going a step further than Ludacris on “Runaway Love” or Devin the Dude’s “Little Girl Lost.” In the balance between music and message, the Los Angeles resident is certainly taking risks, and standing up for something.    “Constance” is just brick in the mosaic of Of Gods and Girls. The b-boy turned MC discusses with his album, his past, and the state of women and Hip-Hop. As so many artists introduce themselves through beef, YouTube spectacle, and association, integrity stands in Mr. J. Mederios’ solo work. So I bet, with you being a Hip-Hop guy, that it had to feel good to live in the 213 area code?Mr. J. Mederios: You know, honestly, it did. And it’s weird because there’s a transition…when I was younger, I lived in Providence, [Rhode Island], [before] I lived a great portion of my life in Colorado Springs and regardless of our economic status, personally, there was still a suburb we lived in, you know what I mean? And when you come out here and you live downtown, it’s crazy. You can see how people write from the things that they do and you see the environments that people are born and developed in and it really just adds to your understanding of some of the How do you think that living in California affected your music? Mr. J. Mederios: I think that you can live in a lot of places in California and write something completely different. If you lived in Santa Monica, say, you live close to the beach. Every time I go to the beach, it’s the most relaxing, falling asleep feeling I get and I probably doubt I would ever write that much music there. And if I did, it would be like Sublime type music, you know what I mean? But living here in downtown Los Angeles, because the environment is a little bit hostile…it’s something weird when I wake up and there’s a helicopter that passed by and it passes by seven more times and at you feel a little bit like a prisoner in my neighborhood. All the windows have to have bars on them. It’s a requirement in the neighborhood to have bars on your windows and, you know, the morning since I’ve been back, you know, I’ve got this neighbor behind me who smokes crack downstairs every morning at like six or seven in the morning and you can hear coughing and him talking to himself. My girlfriend speaks fluent Spanish so it’s good ‘cause I live in an all Spanish-speaking neighborhood, which I don’t speak. So, I don’t know, you see the presence of you, you see how someone can definitely feel, like, even if you don’t have a heart to be a certain way, that when you are in an environment long enough, that it could harden you to a place where you feel like you must act or react to it. Now, looking at the track “Constance,” you’re taking on child pornography with a rap record. Through all four elements, you’ve been pretty active in Hip-Hop your whole life. Are the sexes being marginalized in rap today?Mr. J. Mederios: It’s a dualism, I guess. There’s two things to this is that sometimes just speaking to a man, because a man is in control for the most part, controls a lot of deciding, controls this genre. By a rapper standing up for themselves but doing it with integrity and balance, not making these people fear him but making people respect him…because he’s vulnerable, he’s true and he’s earning your respect through his honesty and the fact that he’s presenting his opinion with a heart and sense for humanity and the overall good. When you see that happening for another man, that actually does help Do you ever worry about things from your past being used against you when you stand for something like this now?Mr. J. Mederios: I don’t think for human beings, [that] righteousness comes from being perfect. I think righteousness comes from being humble and it’s a must for us to face our past, in order to be identified with any sense of the term of being righteous. And that is what defines us. It is our past and our growth that humiliates us, that makes us humble and makes us see through. No one is born perfect or right or wrong. I’ve watched pornography. I grew up watching pornography when I was in high school, and even beyond that when I was getting into my twenties. And because of that, it’s not…I don’t want to say it’s because of that low-confidence, though, but it definitely added something to it that they gave me a real feeling for. I was convicted and I  was hurt and I knew that I hurt people, because I hurt a good portion of people in my life, sometimes not even knowing about it and sometimes directly doing it. But I think real people associate with some of the struggle and understand something and then prove something better out of it.  We’ve been talking about “Constance.” Rawkus Records vanished for a while, and they have to do bold things to get notice now. Knowing this as an artist, how does it feel that you can go to your label and release a single that’s edgy, and not like any other single that has been out since 2007? Mr. J. Mederios: I don’t really know if they’re trying to re-develop or to bring about or to exploit the “Constance” spot or maybe the voice that’s really, really silent right now. I don’t think it’s silent because it’s not a lot of people [putting] accountability in their music. I think it’s because, overall, there’s no more options in the media and they’ve completely taken control. When I come to Rawkus and I say, “Okay, this is a song called ‘Constance,’ this is really important,”… you know, I also have a publicist that’s doing a human rights campaign [with my music]. It has nothing to do with music and that was crazy that the label’s paying for that. [Rawkus was] willing to put trust in us because this is an important issue. And I think, yes, I mean, I think how is this gonna relate to album sales, and it might not at all. But the fact that they’re letting me do what I believe in, it means a lot. It’s hard to talk to Rawkus because Rawkus is two people and they’re not me. They’re gonna make their own decisions and, who knows, maybe things will screw up in about a year and a half and they’ll just let us go and not care anymore. Or they could build us up to be a big group or they could just do nothing and-which would be the worst, and not let us go and hold on to us and suffocate us. But right now they’re allowing me to put out something that I really believe in, which is a rebuttal to the apathy and misogyny that we we’re seeing. And they’re behind me and that’s important so I think you said something about the climate, yes, of the Hip-Hop listeners and the industry. They believe it’s time. Who is Of Gods and Girls for? Mr. J. Mederios: I think this is an album for people on the brink of wanting something real in their lives. Maybe they went through the Hip-Hop fantasy. Maybe they did believe that it was right. Maybe they thought that being feared was better than being respected and that being cold and dumb is better than being weak and vulnerable…or maybe they believed at one time and they did it and they saw that no world exists. They followed the road to nothing. And maybe they’re at a point now where they’re like, “Okay, I want to try another option.” I think there’s people who are ready for another option and then other people who are just straight up exhausted and tired of loving a music so much that had not spoken for them in so long.