Living a life less ordinary, Jermaine Morris has spent his life doing things just a little differently. Originally from Sacramento, CA he began working as a nightclub bouncer then became a DJ in some of the prominent California strip clubs. This with his background in music he developed a nightclub promotional business and eventually shifted to recording artist management and marketing.
“In my life I’ve come across so many different kinds of people I’ve developed a pretty wide ranging palate.”
Observing the current state of the music business he decided to take a slightly different angle on helping new artists to be heard and seen. In an oversaturated era of mixtapes he realized he needed to do something different to not get lost in the shuffle. He paired with (CoreDJ) Da’Hitman and began a mixtape series titled “The Faction”. A project made up of talented emcees, singers, poets & comedians. The Faction Vol 1 featured 10 artists from across the country representing the many different faces of music (mainstream, street, club) It resulted in several projects and tours.
The Faction Vol 2 releasing 9-7-2012 switched things up with a theme paying homage to past legends. Artists recorded new music over 80′s 90′s tracks with a 2012 spin. To add to the era it also features Def Comedy Jam’s Freez Luv, Bad Boys of Comedy’s James Hannah & spoken word phenom Rodzilla The Blackedmik. This coupled with r&b and an array of diverse styles of hip hop, it hosts artists from the West Coast to the UK. Once again creativity and artistry is the focus in an often cookie-cutter force fed industry.
“I understand that not everyone will like every song, but I do believe there is something for everyone. Instead of releasing a typical mixtape with dozens of artists doing the same thing this is more of an album with a feel to it. It’s a story… just being told with different voices.”
With so many people screaming how the industry needs to be changed, there are those out there taking the wheel trying to make it happen. Like the man says; “We succeed by choice, not chance.”
Now with “The Faction Vol. 2″ mixtape picking up steam and making its way around the internet we decided to connect with the creator and see whats going on with him.
HipHopLead- What’s good Jermaine, how’s things your way??
J. Morris- Things are going well. The Faction 2 is being very well received. It shows that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to be noticed. People respond to creativity and good music.
HipHopLead- We noticed that you mentioned that the mixtape game is over crowded as of late. A lot of people feel the same way as you. Do you think there are too many cooks in the kitchen?
J. Morris- I think it’s more about too many cooks and no one went to culinary school. This idea of flooding the market with a 20 song mixtape and not one of the tracks being “single worthy” is a major problem.
HipHopLead- Out of most of these mixtapes artists are dropping what rating would give them on the terms of being good or bad?
J. Morris- The score would have to low based solely on the fact that there are so many of them out.
HipHopLead- It seems like everyone is wishing for that golden era feel to come back again. You seem knowledgeable in this industry. Why isn’t it coming back like it was in the mid 90′s?
J. Morris- Well it’s not the 90’s anymore. Some of us hold on to that era of music like our parents did the 60’s or 70’s. There is a feel to today’s music, and it fits the generation it’s appealing to.
HipHopLead- You set up the mixtape to be in old school radio format. It really brings back memories to how radio shows used to be before the clear channels and program directors took over. Do you think radio is part of the problem of the down fall in hip hop?
J. Morris- The same companies that own hiphop stations also own Rock, Country, & Pop stations but you don’t hear of those other genres complaining. They make their music, do their shows, sell their merchandise and keep it pushing. Without getting too deep we need to remember that music represents a culture, and radio is picking and choosing what culture they want to put out there.
HipHopLead- On top of being the series creator we understand you manage different artists from the West Coast. Is being a manager in this type of climate as lucrative as it once was when there was less competition?
J. Morris- That’s relative. If you’re currently managing Drake or Nicki, management is very lucrative, however if you’re working with an emerging artist the money is really only where YOU find it.
HipHopLead- Who are the artists you respresent at this time?
J. Morris- If you haven’t noticed I like the 90’s model of overlapping and joint projects within the camp. So The Faction hosts the artists I work with; Gengis Khan, Philos, Stal, Cali Fig and recently adding the band Nickel Bag Of Funk.
HipHopLead- Are you looking for more talent to work with?
J. Morris- I’m always open to working with new people. There are artists that I don’t directly represent but enjoy working with because of their level of talent and creativity such as Amoni, Mike Gutta, Chi City, Aristotle the Great & Tha Advocate.
HipHopLead- Are you trying to go the Indy route with your artists or get them signed to a major deal?
J. Morris- I have that conversation with each of them individually. I work with some artists that are focused on getting that deal where others prefer to have more control over their careers more specifically their money.
HipHopLead- Do you ever dislike any of the music your artists create? Do you ever work with them in the song making progress?
J. Morris- First off I’m a fan of the artists I work with, as a manager I believe you have to be. When it comes to the creative process I’m more quality control. Making sure the mix is right and that sort of thing. I’m not too involved in the process. It typically doesn’t come to me until it’s a finished product and then we go over it.
HipHopLead- What type of services does Morris Corp Ent. currently provide?
J. Morris- At root it’s an Artist Management company, but in today’s market you have to attack from so many angles that I decided to take a more hands on approach. So we have producers, videographers, engineers, writers etc.
HipHopLead- What are you favorite songs and skits on the mixtape you just dropped? and why?
J. Morris- Personally I love the whole project. I think Rodzilla did a phenomenal job with his spoken word piece. Gengis Khan always delivers! Amoni, the Stal joint with Usher, Mike Gutta, Philos…like I said I love the whole thing.
HipHopLead- Do you think in 20 years from now some dj’s might want to make a mixtape reflecting on the music of today? Or do you think in the era of one hit wonders that nostalgia will be missing?
J. Morris- Probably. I mean we compare today’s music to 20 yrs ago but who knows what it will be 20 yrs. From now. What we tend to turn our nose up at now may be considered classics in 2 decades.
HipHopLead- What is next for you and your brand project wise?
J. Morris- PHILOS is working on his next project which is really going to blow people away. He is such a unique and creative talent.
Gengis Khan is currently performing with his band Nickel Bag Of Funk and will be releasing his EP.
I already have some new thoughts for The Faction as a series so be on the look out.
Here at HipHopLead.com we like to switch it up a little bit and ask some questions out of the norm. So fasten your seat belts!
HipHopLead- Is the George Zimmerman / Travon Martin case being blown out of proportion in your eyes by the media?
J. Morris- No, whenever you’re talking about the death of a young person, of any color especially under such suspect circumstances attention needs to be drawn to it.
HipHopLead- On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate President Obama’s performance his first term?
J. Morris- I give him a 7. He had a huge mess to clean up so more of his term has been playing catch up then moving forward.
HipHopLead- Name us an artist that urks the hell out of you when you hear them???
J. Morris- Honestly there’s no one voice that just bugs me. I personally don’t care for music that’s just about putting down a people or culture. I think hiphop is in a lot of the trouble it’s in now because we gave too much attention to the wrong stuff.
HipHopLead- Name a new artist that gives you hope from the new school that has potential to make classic material?
J. Morris- Industry- I like Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco. Non-Industry…I may not be the most objective but PHILOS, Gengis Khan & Mike Gutta.
HipHopLead- Nas- Life Is Good or Slaughterhouse- Welcome To Our House?
J. Morris- Nas
HipHopLead- WTF happened to lyrics in HipHop???
J. Morris- I think the question is more what happened to lyrics in hiphop on the radio? There are still a lot of very talented emcees out there.
HipHopLead- Last but not least .. give us a crazy story from your days as a bouncer?
J. Morris- Man! Crazy? I was working in this bar, it was Halloween so everyone was in costumes. A brawl breaks out between 15 Samoans and this big group of cowboys. I remember dodging bottles and shot glasses like the Matrix! There were even these two very pregnant ladies swinging pool sticks! When it was over there was broken glass and bodies everywhere, but since it was Halloween it looked like a nursery rhyme massacre! There were elves, smurfs, super heroes, and goblins laid out!
HipHopLead- (Laughs) wow! Well it was great chopping it up with you and we really dig the angle you are taking with “The Faction”. Now is the time where you can let the HHL viewers know where to check you out and plug anything you want! (Laughs)
DOWNLOAD The Faction 2 NOW! http://thatcrack.com/mixtapes/da-hitman-faction-2-wfktn-radio/
J. Morris- I’d like to thank Da’Hitman, Twomp Dojah Grain, Stal, Philos, Gengis Khan, Amoni, Mike Gutta, Freez Luv, James Hannah, Cali Fig, Tone Malone, Tha Advocate, Big Lo, Jack Paper, Foz Tee, Chi City & Rhythm Sec ENT for helping me to put the project together!
You can check me out on the radio Mondays 9am PST “A Cold Cup Of Coffee with Jermaine Morris” on Hotmix106.com
Thank you HHL for having me, and always remember, “We succeed by choice, not chance.”