Criss Jrumz is a rap artist and proficient freestyler out of Broward County, FL by way of the Bronx that we connected with for another one of our exclusive interviews. During this Q&A we asked Criss what motivated him to create his track "Validation", how he became such a DOPE freestyler and much more.
After reading our interview with Criss Jrumz, be sure to follow him on Instagram and go to Soundcloud and YouTube to hear and watch the latest from this talented emcee.
What led you from the Bronx down to Broward County, FL besides the weather?
Peace. Im sure it's well known that there's a huge population of people who migrated from New York to down South, especially South Florida, just to get away from the fast life. This was post 9/11. Things were getting a little hectic in the city at the time, so my parents decided to move when I was around 10-11 years old. I've been back and forth ever since. Although I was raised in Broward and learned alot, I can never forget my roots. Bronx will always be my home.
Salute to you on your new visual for your song "Validation"; what motivated you to write it and what does it represent for you?
Appreciate that. "Validation" is just a song I wrote which basically deals with the idea that any action or good deed you have done deserves to be acknowledged and respected. As we know that is not always the case. As humans, we tend to feed off of attention and acknowledgement from others around us. Too often, we catch ourselves becoming a victim of expectation. I just woke up one day and decided it's time to let go. That song details the moment I realized I never needed anyone to tell me I'm doing a great job. All you need is self assurance, and the confidence to KNOW you're great. Everything else is irrelevant.
How did you become such a proficient freestyler? When did you realize you had the skill to do it?
Freestyling, to me, is like the perfect exercise. The ability to just let ideas flow without a care is essential when creating anything. I started really young, whether just walking home from school, in the shower, or just trying to get a laugh out of one of the homies. My main focus has always been on writing, but to be able to be quick on your toes is key for survival in my eyes. I think I'm more in love with the fun of it though. Practice makes perfect.
What's next after "Validation" ? Will the track appear on an upcoming Criss Jrumz EP or album?
Ah yes. "Validation" is a single off my upcoming project titled "Street Light Therapy". You can definitely expect some more music to follow that up. Me and my team over at "Soul Ground Productions" are hard at work to bring some pieces that I feel everyone will enjoy. We are just laying some of the ground work still (No pun intended). Stay tuned
What do you enjoy most about being an artist and what frustrates you the most?
I think being able to be a voice for those who may not have a way of expressing themselves is what I enjoy the most. The power to relate to people through your experiences and ideas is what drives me. I've always been a "quality over quantity" kind of guy. So if my music only connects with just one person, that's fine with me. I did my job.
What frustrates me the most is being "labeled" or put into a "box" by others based off what society tells them to think. I'm not a conscious rapper, I'm not a gangster rapper, I'm not a mumble rapper, I'm not a political rapper, etc. I'm just a human being with a voice. (Who just happens to rap better than most. Haha)
If you could choose any producer to make a beat for you free of charge, who would you select?
If we were in a fairy tale land, my dream would be to rock over a J Dilla beat. His music was a huge influence on my life and rapping career, even more so when passed, unfortunately. I will be 80 years old still freestyling to his beats every now then just make sure I still got it. One word to describe that man is "Soul". The impact he left us captivates people still til this day. His body of work will live on forever. That's eternal life right there. Rest In Peace to the greatest producer, ever. Salute to the Yancy family. I've met his mom, she's a great lady. Bless.
How do you avoid having "yes men" on your team who will lie to you and tell you that a verse or song is dope when it really isn't?
Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of building my business with people I can really trust. My associates at the Soul Ground are my brothers. You always want to have people around who keep it all the way real. Believe it or not, your gut instinct can lie to you sometimes. Being able to detach from yourself and watch your moves as if it were not you is a skill you need to develop in order to keep going. Luckily I've had my family to hold me down and tell me how it is. I got the opportunity to build a company around people who genuinely show love and support. Soul Ground Productions is just the beginning.