Major thanks to Las Vegas based rap artist JZI who connected with DCWS for an exclusive interview to discuss “Don’t Get Mad”, the new visual she just dropped to her remix of DJ Mustard’s “100 Bands”. The remix and the clip are very DOPE, so it was only right that we picked JZI’s brain about both, as well as to find out how her multi-cultural heritage is reflected in her music, and so much more.
After reading our Q&A with JZI, be sure to connect with her on IG and Twitter, and check out more of her music on Soundcloud.
Tell us about your multi-cultured heritage and how/if it influences the music you create.
Being multicultural has definitely influenced my music, and my life all around. I am very open with foods I eat, and I feel it translates to the music I make. I am willing to try anything once, and if it works for me, I vibe well with it! But also I go off what the people want to hear from me.
I used to make a lot of boom bap rap, but I have slowly been merging to a more Dancehall, Soul, vibe, which really works for my soul right now. I am a true lyricist at heart and pen. So even if I try to write a simple song, it turns into a deeper message.
I am very spiritual and my heritage is as well (Javanese). But the people I surround myself with are also full of culture and life, history and passion, which there, I feel, affects me the most...I grew up in Washington, so the rain is always in my tears...I lived in Hawaii, which put the rainbow on my skin!! I lived on the Westcoast in LA, California, which lets put it this way...put the Gangsta in my veins....and now in Vegas, I'm getting a lotta heat, lights, and a fun party vibe throughout!!! So, it’s not really about where I am from, but where I am at.
What led you to leave your studies at the University of Hawaii and pursue music full time?
Leaving the University of Hawaii was a choice of mine I felt was meant to be...but also slightly persuaded upon me. Looking back, I could have finished school no problem, but it would have been a waste of money not going for music or something I love. So maybe it was a Blessing in Disguise.
I think higher education is VERY important, just make sure you study what you LOVE. But dropping out of school, I realized quickly, life does not leave you uneducated. I went thru the school of hard knock life shortly after, which taught me many things I may never would have learnt in a classroom....
Congratulations on the release of your video for "Don't Get Mad". Tell us why you selected DJ Mustard's song "100 Bands" to remix in the first place.
Thank you very much!!! I was literally listening to that song, and was like, wow this beat goes hard! But my content for the song was way different than the original. I looked for the instrumental and was inspired right there (through other feelings) and started writing! Simple :)
Though you aren't based in Hawaii anymore, what can you tell us about the hip-hop music scene there?
Oh man...Hawaii is what started me!! It was there I was able to discover, ME. Although I can say, Hawaii is very.....relaxing! We don’t stress over anything. Meaning, the music scene is just the same. But you gotta be ready (as anywhere else) to prove yourself in the scene by supporting local Hawaii music, and showing love!
There is a strong sense of love throughout the island. But Hawaii gets people from all around the world influencing the scene. It is very cool. But they do have rap battles, beat battles, cyphers, underground venues, as well as larger ones. I have not been back in a while but am hungry to get back to the Aina!
You've been nominated for a Grammy and Na Hoku Hano Hano Award, created the "Little Girl Big Dreams" movement, performed live several times, and released several projects. What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment as an artist so far?
When you mentioned all those things, it's kinda hard to imagine....It felt like a lifetime ago! I honestly have been going thru some crazy changes and reinvention as an artist right now...which I feel is important for every human to go thru...Change!!
I honestly feel like my biggest accomplishment is more of an internal win. A win that is felt from inside me....That took many years to fight for...simply fighting for independence (as a human & artist), fighting for ownership of my name (which used to be 'Jazi' but i recently had to change it to JZI), fighting for happiness within my life & why I do music (cutting the cord on many energy suckas), and to keep going even when things were down to the dirt....I found a way to pick up the pieces of what I thought may be broken, and create a new masterpiece, which is myself!
With 2019, winding down, what are some of your goals musically in 2020?
I cant believe 2019 is almost done! I am just...WOW. But real sh**... Someone once asked me on my Instagram, if I do this (music) for fun or for real?....I automatically thought....For fun, duh! Because if it's not for fun...then what is it for!?
I remember working on my music years ago and it was just like hell. To be honest...I would get some respect and attention yeah...but inside me was dying, and it came to the point where I hated every bit of it. So as 2019 comes to a close, I am FINALLY getting back to the place where music is just that....FUN! It translates to everyone who hears it....souls can feel when it's real.
So 2020 is approaching and my goals and dreams can touch the tip of the universe and back! I am just ready to receive any and all blessings and opportunities to share my vibes with everyone...Of course with that said....new mixtape, album, and a new message on the way: Love Always Wins.. J