Interview With Black Jesus & Johnny Dubb
Garett R. Nadrich’s interview with the founders of Before & After Records, CEOs, Jesus “Black Jesus” Turk, 22, and John “Johnny Dubb” Weston II, 26.
JD: - John “Johnny Dubb” Weston II | BJ: - Jesus “Black Jesus” Turk | WTW: - When Teens Write
WTW: How did you two meet?
JD: We’re cousins. Black Jesus had been rapping since he was around 9 years old, and I had became a stock broker.
BJ: Me and my cuz were rapping. I needed a manager.
JD: I told him I didn’t know if I could help him, but yeah, I gave it a shot, and began to make some moves with the management.
WTW: Where are you both from? Where do u record?
JD/BJ: East Chicago, Indiana, and Gary, Indiana. Around Bloomington, Indiana. It’s called the “Region Area”.
WTW: How’d you come up with the name “Black Jesus”?
BJ: Jesus is my birth name. I cad a cousin by the name of Benny who called me “Black Jesus”… the name just stuck.
WTW: Have you two dealt with a lot of haters, non-believers?
JD/BJ: There are gonna be those haters out there all of the time. See, we have the gift of gab. When we took it back to the crib with the second video… we received a lot of talent out there, a lot of hood support. Majority of it is all love.
WTW: What was the reaction of people around you when your first video aired on UNCUT?
JD/BJ: People was like… damn, cats I went to college with, was like “that’s Black on TV”. Then females, saying that’s nasty, but they wanted to be in the video. People thought it wouldn’t be on TV, but they decided to be part of it anyway. We don’t talk about it, we be about it. We’re not waiting for deals; we’re makin’ it pop on our own. We always say, “Don’t let your loose lips take shifts.”
WTW: Where do you two see yourselves in five years?
JD/BJ: World domination, B&A;, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We created everything under God. Only way from here is up. Especially with the Region Area, you have cats like Twista, CCA, and Conyay West taking things over. The true Midwest is a sound that the world needs to hear. You have real lyrical dudes coming out of the crib… we need to bring that to the forefront.
WTW: Anybody in the industry you see yourselves working with, or hope to?
BJ: Beanie Siegel, Andre 3000, and Freeway. Cool thing is to keep it real when you’re still selling records. We keep it real. The hardest thing about being hard is being real.
JD/BJ: Hebrews 11:1 is a major focus. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
WTW: Next video, single?
JD/BJ: We’re focusing on promoting our maxi single right now, but we stay in the studio!
WTW: People were obviously flocking to be in your second video, V.I.P. Luv, but when u first started, how did ya’ll go about getting people to be in What That Thing Smell Like?
JD/BJ: On some old hustle shit, we hit strip clubs, clubs, went to the rolodex. Everything went smooth. Both of us are in fraternities, so the connections worked out.
WTW: Who’s the guy singing in What That Thing Smell Like?
JD/BJ: Levar out of Detroit, one of our frat brothers.
WTW: How’d you make your way to BET’s Uncut?
BJ: Dubb hooked up with John Deloney, who does camera work for BET. They voted on our video, and said they were waiting for a video like that. Once it aired, even Patti Labelle on 106 and Park was talking about it!
WTW: Anything bother ya’ll about the music industry right now?
JD/BJ: Everyone out there is getting their paper… consolidations, etc. Do whatever you have to do, ‘cause B & A got ya’ll in the scope. They think we’re just about ass shakin’, haha… Watch when the smoke clears…
WTW: Your new video’s different (V.I.P. Luv). It shows the care-free playa life, then it gets dark, you have some WTC footage, which is definitely unique. How’d ya’ll come up with that concept?
JD/BJ: The second song that V.I.P. Luv goes into, Blues2k is a true story about our cousin Aaron. My cousin is doing 25 years on an attempted murder charge. That was really hard hitting, including relatives and the different niggas we had lost. It’s like the great depression, people are either playing ball or they’re out there hustling. No commercialism is behind that. Gary, Indiana’s the murder capital of the country. That’s how niggas came up. I’m not saying that’s how I want to raise my kids, but… But the whole concept behind the WTC, well, we took it out of the hood to take it to another level. Terrorism’s been goin’ on in the hood forever. They’re experiencing what we’ve experienced for years; the situation coincided with the whole hood concept. People from Fortune 500 executives to janitors… a lot of people were hit. We wanted to do a shout out to everyone, because we definitely know where they’re coming from.
WTW: Artists battle between staying independent or being bound to a major label. What do you two prefer?
JD/BJ: We want to stay independent. We just cannot see, out of all the blood, sweat, and tears, someone cutting us a check for like 30 million and throwing that away. All the work that went into here, we have to eat first. We have a lot of components; its not just hood shit. A lot of our ideas manifest quick. If you have a solid foundation, you can build from there. If you go Gold (500,000 copies sold) as an independent record, you can be sitting on millions; if you go Platinum (One million copies sold) on a major label, you may barely walk away with anything!
WTW: For all of the young writers on the site, any words of advice?
JD/BJ: Stay focused, stay with it, and put God first. God blesses sinners. As long as we keep Him first, God blesses us all. Never deter from what you’re ultimate goal is, but keep your minds open. You can learn from all experiences. Take as many opportunities out there as possible. I would encourage the writers to read as much as possible. Broaden your style of writing. Copyrights and publishing are important; learn about them. Knowledge breaks chains. The best way to make a slave is to take away knowledge.
Questions by site director, Garett R. Nadrich
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